Delays, delays, delays. 2014 was a tumultuous, albeit transitional, year for the PS4 and Xbox One. The first full year for new consoles is never pretty, but 2014 was particularly frustrating at times. Numerous games were delayed, and plenty should have been – we’re looking at you, Assassin’s Creed: Unity.
Delays aren’t bad. Premature reveals are.
It’s important to note that a game delay is never a bad thing. It’s better that games take all the time they need to be good. The problem is that games are being revealed far too early, and so unnecessary time constraints are put on the developer. We’ve seen this happen to the some of the biggest franchises, from Watch Dogs to The Last of Us.
Sony learned the hard way that revealing a game too early is counter-productive (i.e. The Last Guardian and Drive Club), so it’s been playing its cards very close to the chest this time around. We know very little, or nothing, about the games being made by Sony’s first-party developers, and I don’t expect we will know anything until the games are well and truly ready.
Too much time means too much hype.
Microsoft has had issues in this department as well. Although never officially slapping a release date on it, most gamers expected Quantum Break to be released this year, and now that it isn’t the case. Quantum Break was revealed 2 years ago at the Xbox One reveal event, and it won’t come out for another year.
Such ridiculous periods of time lead to over-hyping a game and expectations that are too high. But to Microsoft’s credit, it never gave a release date for the game. With such early reveals, publishers are setting the odds against their game before it ever comes out.
What’s taking so long?
There are many reasons why a game might be delayed. And as I said earlier, delays are never a bad thing. Uncharted 4 was revealed in November 2013, and was supposed to be released this holiday season. But it was delayed to 2016. Another case of a 3-year gap between announcement and release.
However, Uncharted 4 was revealed to give the PS4 a much-needed boost in the exclusive games department. It was a way of letting loyal fans know that the big hitters were coming. The delay was also genuine: Naughty Dog is the top developer in the industry right now and anything less than their best quality would be a disappointment. They themselves have said that the 3-week delay of The Last of Us was the difference between a great game and a masterpiece. So I believe them when they say the delay is for quality purposes.
The opposite of this is Batman: Arkham Knight. The conclusion to the Arkham trilogy was revealed in March 2014, and Rocksteady said it would be released in late 2014. Two weeks later, the game was delayed to 2015. June 2015. 8 MONTHS! This is the definition of a disingenuous delay.
Rocksteady knew that this game could never be ready in 2014, but they revealed it anyway in an attempt to take mindshare away from the supposedly not-good-enough Arkham Origins. Delays like this, when developers use upcoming games as distractions or hair to ramp up pre-orders, just feel dirty.
The Legend of Zelda for Wii U….or NX?
The most recent delay is The Legend of Zelda Wii U. There was quite a lot of speculation about this game, but Nintendo continually reiterated that it was coming this year. Couple that with the fact that Nintendo rarely delays games, and this one came as a bit of a surprise. (That being said, the only delays that would genuinely shock me now are Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Fifa.)
The Legend of Zelda on Wii U has been pushed to an unannounced date in 2016. What’s more troubling about this delay is the boycott of E3. It’s bad enough that the game was delayed after numerous denials from Nintendo, but the fact that it won’t be at E3 is a real knock to the fans.
The delay of Zelda and the announcement of Nintendo’s next console, codenamed NX, has a lot of fans wondering if the next Zelda will even be available on a Wii U. There was a similar case with The Twilight Princess, which came out on Gamecube, then Wii the following year. Maybe Nintendo pull a u-turn and show some Zelda at E3!
Which Game Will Be Next?
Needless to say there is no way of knowing for sure, but there are telltale signs. The primary sign is radio silence or lack of footage. But that isn’t always the case. Uncharted 4 had a huge 15-minute demo in December and was looking good, but here we are. And the same can be said for Zelda. But with all that in mind, the first choice that springs to mind is…Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The timed Xbox One exclusive is scheduled for a holiday 2015 release, Xbox’s answer to Uncharted. Even though the game was fully revealed in June 2014, we’ve heard very little about it ever since. The reveal featured a cinematic trailer. Since then we’ve had no gameplay footage and only a handful of screenshots. This seems weird, considering it’s Microsoft’s big fall game. We’re around 7 months from release, and there’s been relatively nothing from Square Enix.
In comparison, the 2012 Tomb Raider reboot had gameplay trailers a full year before release. Add in the confusion around the exclusivity between Square and Microsoft, and this game needs some light shed on it. Hopefully I’m wrong, because what details have been revealed make Rise of the Tomb Raider one of the most exciting games for this year. Regardless we will know by E3 in June whether or not this one is truly coming in the fall.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is my number one choice for next big delay, but there will most likely be more. No Man’s Sky is so incredibly ambitious that I wouldn’t be surprised by another delay. The game is supposed to release this year, but that’s pretty vague.
Then there’s Until Dawn, Fable Legends, Persona 5, The Division, Rainbow Six: Siege, Scalebound, and Star Wars: Battlefront. There’s a chance that any of these games could be delayed. There’s been little to no information on Rainbow Six since its reveal at last year’s E3.
Those are just a few of the games that may follow Uncharted 4 and Zelda and be delayed into 2016. Which games do you think might be delayed? Let us know in the comments!