Final Fantasy VII and Marvel's Avengers had their release dates pushed back recently and CD Projekt Red announced that Cyberpunk 2077 would suffer the same fate. It's a common occurrence in the gaming industry but is it always a good thing?
And now we're disappointed all over again.
With crunch (and not "grease", as it turns out) being the word in gaming at the moment, you'd struggle to find someone who thinks it is, as a concept, a good thing.
Delays though, have more of a direct impact on the customer, the fan, the gamer. People are impatient when games like Cyberpunk 2077, until recently, are on the horizon.
For me, the delay for DOOM Eternal killed the momentum and urgency I felt to glory kill my way through the 2016 game at long last – something I'm only just getting back to.
At the same time, there's a huge backlog of games I already need to spend more time with, a pain anyone with Microsoft's Game Pass will share, so really I should be happy that the first half of 2020 is looking quiet, right?
The end result following a delay can be good or bad, but rushing a game out will almost always disappoint, or at least not reach its full potential until much later. Of course, it still doesn't make waiting for something you are dying to play any easier.
We'll wait patiently for Cyberpunk 2077 but only because we have no choice.
I always like to celebrate delays. Rushing a game to market never pays off in the long term, be that for the consumer or the companies and investors behind it. There are short term gains to be made, absolutely, but damaging your brand with a lacklustre release will never pay dividends further down the line.
In addition to getting a better game and a more likely sequel, the people that develop your favourite games can often avoid having to work crippling hours. It’s another win-win situation whereby crunch is cut back and, in the process, developer productivity and creativity should increase proportionally to their quality of life.
My last point is a tad more selfish, though most can probably relate. With an overflowing backlog, any period of time free from major new releases presents an enticing opportunity to trim it back a little. I’m absolutely loving the fact that DOOM Eternal is the first must-have game for me this year; that liberates most of the first quarter to kick back and catch up on a few of the great games I’ve missed.
We're looking forward to DOOM Eternal, if you can't tell.
Let us know your thoughts on delays.
Last year we tried our hands at divining the future and promised we'd check back in to see how accurate we were. One year later, here we are with a couple of successes under our collective belts and some new predictions.
A pretty paperweight, but still useless.
Last year I predicted there’d be a new Switch, and whilst it wasn’t the beefed up super console I said it would be, I was technically correct, even if the biggest draw of the ‘new’ Switch was just slightly better battery life.
In fact, I think my prediction may have simply been a case of jumping the gun. Nintendo have already shown a willingness to mess with the Switch’s key fundamentals by introducing the handheld-only Lite version, so why not a TV-only 'Pro' edition as well?
This machine (which would have a winter 2020 release date) would be more like a traditional console, sitting under your TV and coming bundled with a Pro Controller and 1TB of internal storage.
It will play games (except handheld only titles such as Severed) at higher resolutions and framerates and, whilst it wouldn’t compete directly with the raw power of the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, it’s lower price point would draw in the pixel counters and doubters who previously scoffed at the OG Switch’s limited capabilities.
To show off the new machine’s prowess and really muddy the waters, it’ll release alongside a Switch edition of Red Dead Redemption 2, which will be exclusive to the 'Pro' platform.
Will Liam's dream of an all-powerful Switch be realised?
The sales for the next generation of consoles won't be as significant as the launches of the Xbox One and PS4.
Not only do many gamers not have the 4K 60 inch flat screens to make the most of the new technology, but the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X have proved the appetite for ultra HD isn't the differentiating factor – games are.
Microsoft made a big song and dance about buying up lots of studios last year, including Double Fine and Ninja Theory, but I would rather see a few delays than any of those developers be pushed to get something out for the coveted Christmas launch season.
Sony too has games in the oven, but more to shout about in 2020, in particular The Last of Us Part 2, which remains one of its most anticipated titles. The question is, will it really gain anything from a next gen upgrade?
PlayStation's studios in particular have had great success in getting exclusives out the door already, and so I predict that the E3 period - when Sony are again due to throw their own party rather than lining up with the class - will see fewer games than last year and some technology showboating from platform holders.
The launch line-up will be closer to the one which rang in the Pro and One X variants than when this generation began, and there's going to be a lot of disappointed people out there.
What are the odds on The Last of Us Part 2 being a cross-gen title?
On a lazy Sunday afternoon like any other, Gears of War director Cliff Bleszinski sits at home alongside his wife and beloved Lamborghini. Whilst hopping between channels on their full cable package, inspiration for a new game strikes when he discovers an original 2011 film called The Three Musketeers.
Bleszinski quickly fashions a plan to establish a new indie studio and develop a game called Musketeers of Yore. Built around the musclebound bonds of brotherhood, this groundbreaking new game features the leading trio of Marquise, D’om and Steam Locomotive.
Launching in early access the following Wednesday, it’ll inexplicably fail to gain traction. Seemingly, even hardcore gamers just can’t handle something so fresh, innovative and deeply considered. Cliffy will be forced to close up shop and re-retire, toughing out life thereafter with the Lamborghini and wife that he has.
… In all seriousness, I’ve enjoyed most of Bleszinski’s work and he once retweeted me which earns him extra brownie points. Even then though, half-baked battle royale title, Radical Heights, was such an enormous misstep that I can’t help thinking a potential return to satisfy his “need to create” with “maybe a game” in 2020 isn’t the best idea.
It's certainly no Gears of War.
Share your 2020 predictions with us and check back next year to see how we all did.