Is a game ‘ready’ when the Dev has finished the work they want to do on it, or when they’ve finished tidying up any issues raised by player feedback - and at what point in the process does a release date fit in?
We know you can’t wait to play your favourite games. Only too well in fact, neither can we. Every morning I turn a wistful visage to the sky to entreat the game gods the question, ‘why couldn’t Rocksteady’s Arkham trilogy have come out at 6 month intervals, rather than over 6 years?’ But I get no answer. Why, for that matter can’t my favourite TV shows just have a new episode every night, week in and week out, all the year round? In other words - have we become way, way too impatient?
Games are delayed, after all, not always because of mistakes, but because if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Imagine the anticlimax for any developer, Indie or triple-A, upon having tirelessly poured your heart and soul into a project, or even just your small section of an enormous piece of work, only to have it critiqued to shreds immediately over one small failing. Correspondingly, think about how impatient you’ve been - and for how long - between the announcement and release of some of your existing favourite games. Contemplate how often that anticipation reaches the same heights whether over the course of months or years (perhaps for the sake of argument, Half-Life 3 should be excused here), and yet how all of that anticipation is instantly forgotten as soon as the game is finally available. Shouldn't all long waits, and delays, be patiently endured in the name of the ultimate goal: a competent and satisfying final release?
But then again, games are a business, like everything else. These guys are working for our money just as much as for our love, and the industry itself is by this point far from new and inexperienced - should they take more pride in earning it than delays and long waits seem to suggest? Perhaps it’s irresponsible to hype, or even announce, a game early enough that any of the details are subject to significant change? Game Devs have on occasion made offers of recompense for substantially late or flawed games, typically in the form of reduced or free content - could it be reasonable for this to become a norm, rather than an optional display of good faith, a kind of punitive measure for not coming through on promises?
That, at least, sounds pretty harsh to me, but what's your take?