Drop your game with flaws and be a hero, or push it back long enough to watch yourself become the villain. This seems to be the suitable philosophy of many, with the recent verbal beatings that games like Watch Dogs and Driveclub have gotten for the pushing back of their release dates. I find this to be perplexing, especially when considering that some of the most well-received titles of this generation fell victim to delays at one time or another. I suppose some men/women just want to see the world burn, but to help stimulate the optimism towards these recent push-backs and the many more to come, let’s have a look at several great games released this year that were pushed back from their original release dates.
DmC- Devil May Cry (Original Release: Fall 2012, Final Release: January 15, 2013)
Already amidst a whirlwind of scrutiny for the game’s re-imagining of Dante, many declared that the last thing Ninja Theory needed to be doing was pushing back DmC‘s release date. I argued with this, seeing that the fall 2012 release window, which was when DmC was originally slated to drop, was quite congested with titles such as Borderlands 2, The Walking Dead, Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 3, Black Ops II, and many more triple-A blockbusters. DmC could have easily been a whisper in the hurricane had it released when originally intended, but the delay garnered the game some extra recognition it would have otherwise not received. Also, while it’s arguable whether or not DmC was a commercial success, a majority of folks who played the game expressed their satisfaction for it, which could partly be attributed to Ninja Theory taking extra time to polish the game.
Tomb Raider (Original Release: Fall 2012, Final Release: March 5, 2013)
Another franchise reboot that was slated to hit in that fall release window last year was Tomb Raider. The anticipation for this game was greater than that for DmC, so the announcement of its delay into early 2014 turned many smiles upside down. Jumping forward to its release back in March, the game racked up stellar critiques across all entertainment review outlets, was praised by gamers as Lara Croft’s best outing yet, and sold the fastest it ever has in franchise history. The sub-par multiplayer component could have used more time as well, but the sufficiency of the single player campaign left everyone quite satisfied.
Bioshock Infinite (Original Release: October 16, 2012, February 26, 2013, Final Release: March 26, 2013)
A little piece of my soul died with every push-back announcement of Bioshock Infinite. With multiple release delays, I couldn’t say that I wasn’t worried about us potentially having another Last Guardian situation on our hands. Luckily for us, after months of hunkering down, the folks at Irrational Games were able to put the finishing touches on what is now one of the most brilliant and genre-defining experiences of this console generation. Not many words need to be said about Bioshock Infinite other than the fact that it’s magnificent, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood game delay.
The Last Of Us (Original Release: May 7, 2013, Final Release: June 14, 2013)
Naughty Dog’s new IP from earlier this year was no stranger to game delays either. When the game’s release was pushed back over a month, some went as far as assuming that the game would be “lost” in the madness of next-gen E3 2013 pandemonium. Boy, were they wrong, as The Last Of Us ended up grabbing everyone’s attention by delivering a spellbinding, critically praised adventure. Without actually being there to witness the game’s creation, it’s hard to assume what difference the month and a week made for Naughty Dog, but given the product we ended up with, I think it’s safe to assume that it was definitely a worthwhile move.
Grand Theft Auto V (Original Release: Spring 2013, Final Release: September 17, 2013)
Many felt that there was no excuse for Rockstar to push back Grand Theft Auto V, having had five years to develop the game in an industry in which development windows seem to be getting smaller. Contrary to those folks’ beliefs, however, time was exactly what Rockstar needed, and taking some time resulted in a huge payoff for gamers and Rockstar both. Not only was Grand Theft Auto V a huge commercial success, making one billion dollars in a mere three days time, but the game itself was the most ambitious sandbox game ever made to date. Grand Theft Auto Online, Rockstar’s massive online client released a couple weeks after GTA V, appears to have needed more time under the development needle with the rough launch it’s had. However, gamers would have been outraged had they even thought about pushing GTA Online back, the irony of the delayed games dilemma totally realized and paraphrased in one situation.
In this year alone, we’ve seen several instances where delays have led to successful game releases. Hell, three of the five games in this article will be heavily considered for game of the year honors as 2013 winds down. It’s a firm reminder that despite how impatient we get, no matter what we do, it is unfathomable to believe greatness can be rushed. Not to say that delaying a title automatically predestines it for being a phenomenal, game of the year-caliber experience, but history has proven that when a developer takes its time to get its creations as solid and well-thought-out as possible, the return for our patience is normally quite gratifying. Besides, there’ll always be more than enough games arriving on time to keep us all extremely occupied.