Are You Really Surprised About Delays?
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Early 2020 was expected to be rather awesome. First we’d have Final Fantasy VII Remake in March, followed by Cyberpunk 2077 in April. It was gonna be a great spring.

Or not, as both games have been hit with a case of the delays. In addition, highly anticipated Dying Light 2 has also been delayed, which originally only had the very wide release window of 2020. While Dying Light 2 doesn’t have a new release date/window yet, at least FFVII Remake is only shuffled down the line by a month. Cyberpunk 2077, however, is pushed even further out to September 2020. Likewise, Marvel’s Avengers has also been delayed to September.

Naturally, many gamers are whining that this is the worst year ever for games now and other crazy kneejerk reactions. As entertaining as it is to watch social media gather torches and pitchforks for something as silly as a game delay, I have to ask everyone: is any of this really that surprising?

Game delays with highly anticipated games are as part of life as death and taxes. They’re rather unavoidable, especially when developers feel pressure to put a release deadline out there.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if there was another delay announcement for either FFVII Remake or Cyberpunk 2077 or both. I lost count how many times The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was delayed before it released. At one point it was delayed by an entire year. Cyberpunk 2077 has been in development for so long, it’s honestly more surprising to me they have a release date in mind at all.

As for the Final Fantasy VII Remake, there is so much expectation surrounding it due to nostalgia, I half wonder if Square Enix is delaying the game out of self-preservation. They know people will buy it no matter when it releases, so why not hold out until it’s as perfect as possible?  

I’m personally a big advocate for not announcing a release date until the game has gone gold. It takes the pressure off the developers for sure, not forcing them to crunch for the sake of a deadline someone arbitrarily made. I’m not saying that developers shouldn’t even announce a game until it’s ready. It’s always important for the developers to drum up hype for a game. It’s how their publishers keep the investors happy with potential sales forecasts, after all.

But of course I know this isn’t always possible, sadly. The publishers need to put that pressure on developers to commit to a deadline for a few reasons. For starters, they can’t take Valve-eternity on game development, because the publisher and/or developer will run out of money. Secondly, the publishers do have their investors to keep happy. Investors typically don’t like to hear that a product they’ve invested in will release “eventually.” They like them timetables, because they’re only in this for the return on their investment.

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Investors want the game to do well, because they want good returns. They want it to be a good product overall as well, because that means the publisher stays in good standing with consumers and thus more opportunities for big returns. While it is in the investors’ best interests to not put deadline pressure on publishers and risk a rushed game (see also Halo 2, Dragon Age 2, and Fallout New Vegas), they’re not known for their patience either. Bitches want to get paid.

So don’t be surprised when big name games get delayed. Don’t even plan for games until you hear that they’ve gone gold (meaning they’re off to the disc printing). Also, try not to be so dramatic about delays, yeah? I’m sure you all have a backlog that could grab your attention in the meantime.

Keri Honea
Keri Honea
@crunchychocobo

Contributing Writer
Date: 01/29/2020

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