Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel's Avengers – just a few prominent examples of recent release shifts. Yes, the additional waiting hurts! Because we all would like to explore the Cyberpunk 2077 game world Night City or fight each other with Thor and Hulk. Release shifts are not uncommon, they are very often part of game development. In many cases, the late completion is due to quality assurance: just a few weeks of additional bug fixing can make the difference between a successful sale and a PR disaster. That is why we do not paint black at this point, but rather look at games that really benefited from the extra time and that turned into huge hits.
A look at the history of the Polish developer studio CD Projekt Red shows why you don't need to worry about Cyberpunk 2077. The previous project The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt should originally have been on the market in autumn 2014. But already in March 2014 the bad news followed that the makers need additional time in terms of quality assurance. The new release date was announced for February 2015. In May 2014 CD Projekt Red confirmed that there would be no further delays. After all, this is not the team's first game.
Source: CD Projekt Red
But thought wrong! In December 2014, the studio withdrew this statement and postponed the game again – this time to May 19, 2015. CD Projekt Red explained that before the game was about to be completed, some detailed corrections had to be made. Even if the communication in advance was perhaps not ideal, the end result scratched the perfection. When The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released on May 19, 2015, it received top ratings and is still considered one of the best role-playing games of all time. The quasi-successor Cyberpunk 2077 follows a proven tradition – and hopefully will be as great as the witcher's third adventure.
In general, the bigger and more complex a game, the higher the chances of postponing the release. Role-playing games and open-world adventures abound with potential sources of error, and even if the core mechanics of the respective title are ready months before they appear, fine-tuning takes a lot of time and effort. So it was with the release of the console version of Grand Theft Auto 5: The game was originally planned for spring 2013, but already in October 2012 the first leaks appeared with a possible release date.
Source: Rockstar Games
Rockstar responded and announced the open-world action game for the second quarter of 2013. From November 5, 2012, the company even accepted pre-orders. At the end of January 2013, Rockstar finally announced that it would need more time for "polishing". Ultimately, GTA 5 came out in Germany on September 17, 2013. Not surprisingly, there were several short shifts when the PC version released in April 2015 was completed. However, this did not detract from the success of the game, on the contrary.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Even industry giant Nintendo cannot free itself from occasional scheduling appointments. The Legend of Zelda series in particular is considered to be very susceptible to delays. The best example of this is the current series part The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If it had been up to the initial release plans, Breath of the Wild would have been released in 2015 and exclusively for the Wii U. Fortunately, everything turned out differently! Announced at Nintendo Direct in 2013, Nintendo presented the first images at E3 2014.
In 2015, however, the Japanese decided not to appear at the US game fair and postponed the game, previously known only as "The Legend of Zelda", due to technical problems with the new physics engine. A year later there was at least one playable demo on the Wii U at E3 2016, and the title was also given the suffix "Breath of the Wild". Even then, the game caused a sensation. However, with the upcoming release of the Nintendo Switch, it quickly became clear that this title would no longer come exclusively for the Wii U. Instead, Nintendo announced in January 2017 that there would be two versions – one for the Switch and one for the Wii U. An absolute stroke of luck for the new console: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was THE game for the launch of the Switch and thus a reason for many people to buy the new console.
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
But not only epic open world games sometimes take more time. When developing strategy chunks like Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, everything doesn't always go according to plan. Developer Blizzard, however, held back on the successor to the cult game Starcraft for a long time with the announcement of a fixed release date. The game originally saw the light of day at the 2007 World Invitational in Seoul, South Korea. At that time it had been in development for a long time, even if the work was delayed due to the success of the online role-playing game World of Warcraft and the associated personnel costs. Experts were expecting Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty to be released in 2009. But production also continued to drag on due to the further development of Blizzard online services Battle.net.
At the latest when the first beta test for Starcraft 2, which was announced for summer 2009, did not take place, it was clear that the game would no longer be launched in 2009. Blizzard spoke up and confirmed that fans would have to be patient until summer 2010. On the way there, the promised beta tests were finally carried out; on July 27, 2010, Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty finally came on the market. But even here it was worth the wait – the science fiction strategy game is still an absolute must in the strategy genre.
Source: Blizzard Entertainment
But the most important thing at the end again: Although there are of course extreme examples à la Duke Nukem Forever, which were almost "developed dead", most games do a few months or even a year more development time well. And as a player, the extra weeks and months give us a little bit of air to work through the "Pile of Shame"! So don't worry about postponing releases, but rather look forward to better and (hopefully) bug-free games.
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