Tell Us Dammit: When Games Get Delayed

As you are all most likely aware, Watch Dogs has been delayed. A decision that resulted in much gnashing of teeth from folks who were — like me — really looking forward to playing this game on next gen consoles. But let's speak generally: game delays are a fact of life, how do you react when one of your most anticipated games gets delayed?

The reason I ask is this: almost at precisely the same time as the Watch Dogs delay was announced, Crytek raised the ire of the game community by posting this tweet...

So here's the thing: which is it going to be? Are we going to complain when games get delayed or are we going to let human beings have their work/life balance?

I dunno. I think it's perfectly legitimate to have a bit of a whinge when a game gets delayed. Mainly just a friendly 'awww I was really looking forward to that' whinge. Full on, head tilted back, screams of dismay towards the heavens, or attacks on the publisher/developer? I think that's taking it too far.

Anyway: how do you react when games get delayed, and how far is too far?


    When the game is complete and the delay is for no real reason (cough Rayman) then it's pretty shit.

    Otherwise, it's the whole "a delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever" dealie.

    In before smug comments "I just move on with my life. It's a game."

    Edit: and here's an actual answer. It depends how much hype I have for the game, and what the circumstances of the delay are. For instance, even though I had only a passing interest in the game itself, an 11th hour 6 month delay for Watch Dogs has me interested in what really happened behind the scenes (like, did they really not know they had to delay the game until a few days ago?). My reaction is one of curious cynicism.

    But if Dark Souls II got delayed, I would probably prove FOX News right regarding the instability of gamers.

    Last edited 17/10/13 11:22 am

      Specifically up-ed for the Dark Souls 2 comment

      Curious cynicism it is for me. I'm wondering if they have seen the incredible amount of detail in the GTA:V world and decided that if they want to be the next big next-gen franchise then they need to meet or beat that standard? Hence 6 more months.

    I have a tendency to completely forget about a game until a week before its launched. So it's always just a surprise to me no matter what!

    Last edited 17/10/13 11:22 am

      Yeah, apparently Arkham Origins is out next week. I was not aware of this until it was pointed out.

        Damn. I eve have that pre ordered on Steam and forgot.

        Wait, what? Really? I am genuinely surprised.

          25th October. On Steam at least. So, end of next week.

    Better late than unfinished, or crunched

    It depends on the reason. If its to improve quality, that's great for me as a consumer. If its a business decision, I can sympathise with wanting to maximise sales of a game. What I can't get behind is a company delaying a popular title at the last minute to maximise sale of Ass Creed 4.

      By the way, I'm assuming this is the case because Ubisoft has never once delayed a game to make it better, even when they really, really should have.

        Don't your last two sentences contradict each other?

        If Watch Dogs was delayed to boost sales of ACIV, isn't that a business decision to maximise the sales of a game, thus you can sympathise?

        Last edited 17/10/13 11:35 am

          I can sympathise, but its pretty shitty when a company sacrifices one game for another.

            There's no sacrifice as Watch Dogs is still coming out.

              It's still coming out, but I think it'll hurt sales. It was going to be a lot of peoples first next-gen title. It'll have to ride on its own merit now.

              Also - Ubisoft's sales expectations seem unrealistic to me.

                Food call.

                It'll be interesting to see how it does go now it doesn't have that "only good launch game" allure.

    Why is it that you can never just have "disappointed" anymore in the Internet discussion forums? Now it has to be either [game company] is worse than HITLER or [game company] doesn't care about gamers anymore or [game company] is only after profits (or all three).

    I'm simply disappointed. Maybe annoyed, on a bad day. My world does not end because I cannot play a game.

    GTA V was pushed back 6 months and some people were a bit peeved to say the least, but I think most people recognised they were making the game as good as possible (apart from the multiplayer servers and Chop) and that wait people were willing to put up with and were rewarded with a fantastic game.

    Then you get games that you wish were pushed back and finished like Aliens: Colonial Marines or more recently, Rome 2: Total War. Me, with Watch Dogs I've taken the view that it'll give me an opportunity to buy a different game I wasn't going to get on PS4 launch day and that's not a bad thing, unless the other game I buy is complete tosh...

      I'd actually completely forgotten GTAV was delayed to begin with, but that's probably because I hadn't decided I was going to buy it. I was ready by the time it actually came out.

      I completely agree as far as Rome 2 goes. There are definitely games like that which leave you shaking your head thinking "I wish these guys had delayed the game 6-12 months and actually finished the thing".

      I cannot express enough my disappointment at Rome 2 and how many unfinished and unpolished and un-working (not a real word, but wanted to keep using 'un') features it has. There have now been 4 big patches for it (and it's only been out 6 weeks give or take) and it still feels very unfinished to me. Is siege AI EVER going to work properly? I highly doubt it.
      I personally MUCH prefer a game be delayed significantly while it is polished, than rushed out the door to meet some imaginary time limit, resulting in a bug-filled mess.
      After playing it for a measly 12 hours, I've put in down in distaste and just have to wait and see what mods can do to make it the game it should have been.

      Having a game available on a certain day/date matters to me not in the slightest, when compared to actually having a great working game where everything works as it should out of the box, even if it is 12 months later.

      But publishers don't seem to realise that. I think their only goal of course is getting X amount of money back by Y date for the Excel spreadsheets to be presented in the upcoming meetings...

      Last edited 17/10/13 12:37 pm

        The game is mostly good, I haven't come across many of the bugs that people are flooding forums or the Total War facebook page with, but yeah, leaving out a family tree seems strange, siege battles definitely aren't working and soldiers charging into a moshpit is just wrong but other than that, I feel there's not a great deal that needs to be changed. Granted those are major problems in a game about commanding armies, but hopefully this can be sorted within a few more patches. It's worrying with the recent Total Wars though. I've been playing since the first Medieval and that, Rome and Medieval 2 were fantastic, Rome and Medieval 2 being 2 of my all-time favourite games. It seems though since Empire that either Sega have put more pressure on them to bring out the games as soon as possible or that Creative Assembly been biting off more than they can chew with what they're putting into the games and forgetting about the basics.
        For me it's a damned shame as I was looking forward to it massively and got the Collector's Edition on day one, but I'm confident that they can make it into a decent Total War game, probably not as good as Medieval 2, but fun to play at least.

        Incidently, Sega seem to have turned into one of those publishers who're pushing their developers and forcing deadlines on them whether they like them or not. Rome 2, I don't know if CA or Sega set the launch day but it would seem that it was Sega seeing as CA know that the game isn't up to scratch and are working around the clock on regular patches post-launch. With Colonial Marines, Sega decided to cut their losses and pretty much put out whatever game was available. I've read a review of the DLC brought out and someone said that it was actually quite fun to play so maybe if they'd've had more time they could've done something decent. Finally with my experience and Sega games, Sports Interactive had Football Manager Live, a multiplayer Football Manager for those who didn't know about it, and was playing from the beta they had. Then it went live far too early, the game simply wasn't ready for paying customers and ultimately it lasted a year or two before they shut the servers down. From all of these games I'm getting the distinct feeling that Sega get quite impatient for games to go gold and go for deadlines rather than waiting for their games to be truly great. I could be wrong, it could all be on the developers of these games, but is it coincidence that Sega have published them all?

        So yeah, definitely a case that some games should be delayed until they're ready and most gamers will understand that fact.

          Good read dude.
          I agree with the TW games, I too have been playing them almost constantly since Medieval 1, and I agree that there are some good changes in the latest Rome 2, but it's just missing what we both agree it needed; namely just more time to polish the game.

          Some good things i can think are
          -the province system (though that needs work (you sort of set it and that's it for the rest of the campaign, too hands-off),
          -the 'recruit units directly to the army' system (though that needs work, especially when combined with the super fast auto-retraining which means your super elite army is at max strength pretty much all the time),
          -the army traditions (though they need work, needs more diversity/variety),
          -the 'ancient wonders on the battle field (I think only 1 or two made it into the game, despite being told there would be 12 or 13)
          - the capture the flag mode for city battles makes sense, but again has been poorly implemented
          - the different stances, but to be honest i only really use normal and occasional forced

          All should work a lot better than they do and I am sure they would have all worked great if the game had been given sufficient beta testing time. The game's state on release honestly makes me think they had perhaps 1 afternoon of proper beta testing, the day before the games release.

          But there are also a number of what I think were crazy design decisions
          - missing family tree or any real sense of connection to your faction leader or generals. I feel more for the champions etc, though I can't name a single one
          - the decision to remove most of the city walls, leaving only one city with walls per province
          - the extremely limited building slots in cities, even the 6 in prov caps is too low
          - the fact that siegeing armies can just burn down the gates is ridiculous
          - too many small factions, they should reduce it from >100 to 30 imho, it would result in a LOT less, take a single city, wipe out a faction, take another single city, wipe out another faction, not to mention reduce the crazy 'end turn' wait times you start getting from about 75 turns into a campaign
          - javelin equipped infantry (hastasi, principes etc) can only throw their javelins before charging, not while idle and the enemy is approaching
          - the instant land to sea transports.

          that's all for now. Clearly this game is a bit of a sore spot for me in its current state lol :)

          I also agree that I think Sega has become very short sighted in their publishing role, it seems to be that they are the ones pushing for time lines and not taking any advice from the developers as to whether the game is actually ready for not. Sega seems to be of the mindset that a date is set, and that's it, regardless of the state of the product.
          Personally I cannot see how that makes sound business sense at all. It seems they do not care at all about their overall companies long term image as a publisher, buried and forgotton in a rush to get X game out in Y quarter, which I would think would be concerning considering they are out of the developing game now (I think? someone correct me if that's wrong), so their publishing image is all they have left, and in my opinion it's currently worse then EA's

          (edit side note: I think this post of mine wins my personal award for largest post ever in a forum lol)

          Last edited 17/10/13 1:44 pm

          Actually, Med 2 is my fave as well, and wasn't it after Med 2 that the Australian branch of CA got closed?
          I agree, they've been pretty average since then, though at least Shogun 2 had a nice level of polish to it, it was very immersive in all the art and music and mini-movies and stuff.

      Yeah I remember being pissed off at the GTA V delay and the Splinter Cell Blacklist delay

      Having said that I have a large enough backlog that it really doesn't matter.

      I was looking fwd to Watch Dogs but this just means I might get Tomb Raider and play that finally or Bioshock Infinite both of which I skipped earlier this year - realistically also I could preoccupy myself with GTA Online for the rest of the year quite easily.

    Game gets delayed: disappointed but no big deal.

    Game gets delayed and I was super-hyped for it: disappointed but no big deal.

    Game I'm super-hyped for gets delayed and it was 50% of the launch titles I was getting with a new console: really disappointed, but I guess I'll get something else instead. Probably Dead Rising 3 since I've gone back to DR2 recently and really enjoyed it. Maybe Forza 5. Maybe both, depending on my bank balance that month.

    If a game is broken on release, then it's a major killer. I'd rather wait a bit than have to hope the publisher will pay MSony to release a patch.

    Similarly, unbroken but unpolished games also benefit from the extra time spent. I was disappointed Bioshock Infinite wasn't released last year, but I was certainly happy with the game when it did come out, so it was apparently worth it.

    I think the biggest issue with Watch Dogs is that a lot of people have pre-ordered bundles containing it. That's got to sting.

    There are three eventual outcomes to a game release.

    1. The game is released on schedule, and it is either mediocre, fantastic, or downright shit (dependant on the development team really).

    2. The game is delayed, and this improves the overall quality of the game (this may not eliminate crunch time though).

    3. The game is delayed and is still a turd (Duke Nukem Forever, Colonial Marines).

    What the real problem is is the reaction from internet peeps who feel it's their right to be impatient.

    I'd rather play a polished game that was delayed than a premature turd.

    Perhaps the problems are not with release delays, perhaps its just the lax attitude towards announcing commercial release dates their is nothing at all forcing these companies to make release dates so far in advanced, perhaps just make the announcement more closer to the finished product instead of six months before.

    It's impossible to be upset about a release delay if their wasn't a release date to begin with (The Last Guardian might be a exclusion of that lol)

    A little disappointed in the delay (and it will probably put me off getting the console for a bit longer) since it was the only launch game I really wanted to play. Complaining about it isn't going to do me any good but - these things happens. I mean, who hasn't showed up late to a party or something before.

    Last edited 17/10/13 12:15 pm

    When delayed for legitimate reasons it's all good. When its delayed for tax avoidance porpoises then it's pure and simple a degenerate act of modern day thievery through dubious grey area accounting. Note that they have delayed WD until the next fiscal year, not say March next year. What does the financial year have to do with quality?

    Not only have they done this, but they've lied about it. Plain and simple this delay is legitimate cause for angst and frustration. Was going to buy it for the sweet tablet integration but now? Going to pirate it and leave burnt copies on the bus as a form of empowerment through protest. Win.

    I was so disappointed to hear about Watch Dogs as I was only getting one game with the ps4 launch and that was it. I'm happy to wait though as I would prefer it to live up to the hype than get a buggy release.

    I'd rather wait for it to be finished if it's a quality issue.

    But if it's a marketing/profit related reason like Rayman Legends and I suspect Watch Dogs then it feels shitty but publishers need to make profits so it's their choice. Watch Dogs has probably been relegated to the Steam Sale pile for me now though, all anticipation for it is gone.

    My attitude turned to understanding the moment I started working in the software industry and experienced first hand why these things happen. Before that it was frustration and annoyance. I think part of the reason why people's ire gets raised is that companies generally say "It's been delayed" and leave it at that. Anyone who's worked support will tell you that people are generally a lot more accepting of delays if you give them the impression of progress and even offer a reason for it.

    It doesn’t bother me that much, I really don’t have enough time to finish all the games I usually have anyway.

    That said, it happens way too much in the gaming industry. I can’t think of another industry where it happens nearly as much and for big AAA releases it has almost become the rule rather than the exception. This common excuse that “we need to put out a quality product” comes across as a cop out to me. It’s up to the publishers to manage expectations – nobody told them when they had to have the product finished. Ubisoft putting out a (probable) 6 month delay one month before a game was due stinks of ineptitude. I wasn’t planning on getting Watch Dogs on a next gen console anyway, but I do feel for the people who pre-ordered a console because of this game.

    While it does look like you are complaining about different things when you complain about rushed buggy games as well as when they delay the games the core concept is the same. What you are complaining about is poor project management.
    The root cause of this is wide and varied from gamers needing to know what devs are working on, to publishers wanting to keep their logo front and centre to game journalist needing something to write about. But when you set a date for delivery and you are either buying 12,000 dinners because you are trying to break back and meet milestones, outsourcing work without adequate time to review or any oversight or just shipping a buggy mess and hoping a day one patch will fix everything then project management has failed somewhere.
    I think people would understand a lot more, but maybe still be disappointed if it was pushed back as soon as the devs/publishers knew there was a problem. If a game is 6 months from launch and they you get advised "Sorry guys, we are having trouble, want this game to be great so it's going to be 9 months instead of 6" your going to shrug and go with the aww I was looking forward to it.
    That is a lot different to being 1 month from launch and suddenly pushing it out 4-5 months. That is both poor management and poor communication.

    In this case you also have console pre-orders partly based on the game it also come across as deceitful.

      ^ Pretty much sums it up.
      Watchdogs has been about the only time i've ever been pissed off at a delay. Literally up until the second of the announcement there was dds being thrown in my face from every source imaginable, with many trailers showing most of the game off already and even actual console launch bundles that included it.

      But somehow its now a 6 month delay, regardless of the reason they would have known this many months ago, so the whole thing was deceitful from the get go.

    KOTOR 2. That is all.

      Don't tell me you played the game for 40 hours+ and then expected an actual ending after all your hard work and emotional investment?
      Talk about entitled gamer syndrome...


    It's a bummer when things get delayed, but it's also one of the best things about having a sizable backlog. Even if the thing I wanna play isn't gonna be here, I've got plenty of other things to tide me over.

    makes no difference to me. I can't afford luxuries like vidya games anymore :(

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