Rash of video game delays hit before E3

Video game developers and publishers are scrambling as the biggest North American video game event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, quickly approaches. It seems that the first order of business pre-E3 is to get the bad news out of the way first — the inevitable video game delays.

It is understandably frustrating to consumers who want to get their hands on these games now, but it’s only for the best as developers toil away, polishing these games up to put out the best product possible.

In the case of “Watch Dogs,” which released May 25, it seems to have paid off. The game has been well received critically and is now Ubisoft’s fastest-selling game ever. That’s surprising, considering how popular “Assassin’s Creed” has become.

 

 

Hopefully, the games that have been recently delayed see the same level of success. Incidentally, Ubisoft’s delayed “The Division,” citing a game engine that works well but isn’t complete.

“Dying Light,” one of my five most anticipated games of 2014, was pushed to February 2015. The zombie game that relies heavily on fast-moving parkour gameplay never had an official release date, but Polish developers Techland hoped to have it ready in 2014. Techland stated in an announcement that it didn’t want to sacrifice any of “Dying Light’s” potential by releasing too early.

While “Dying Light” seemed to be in pretty good shape, other highly anticipated games that were delayed appeared to be in various states of development. “The Evil Within” got a modest delay until Oct. 21. The survival horror game by “Resident Evil” creator, Shinji Mikami, appeared to have been in pretty rough shape, according to IGN’s PAX East preview.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know just how far along PlayStation 4 exclusive, “The Order: 1886,” and Xbox One exclusive, “Quantum Break,” were in development. Ready at Dawn’s alternate Knights of the Round Table shooter suffered a similar fate as “Dying Light.” In a PlayStation Blog post, the developers released more footage and screenshots of the game but also announced the delay into 2015, citing the need for more time to deliver a great game.

Remedy Entertainment’s “Alan Wake” for the Xbox 360 suffered notorious delays. Microsoft and Remedy jointly announced a 2015 release window for “Quantum Break” on Xbox One. It remains to be seen if the “genre-defining experience” which will combine a television show tie-in will make a 2015 release, but it definitely softens the blow of “The Order: 1886” being delayed for Sony. “Quantum Break” would have bolstered a stronger exclusive lineup for the Xbox One as console sales should surely increase with the price of the console dropping by $100 with the removal of the Kinect device.

All of these games should benefit from their delays, but one has to wonder if these games weren’t announced so far in advance, if there would even be a need for the delays. It isn’t uncommon for a game to be teased or announced three or four years ahead of its release. Both “The Last Guardian” and “Final Fantasy XV” have become running jokes as year after year passes without any word on the progress of either game. Though, Square Enix seems to be righting their ship with the Final Fantasy series, making “Final Fantasy XV” in 2015 all the more likely.

As the industry rolls into E3 starting with the official press conferences June 9, expect many more exciting game announcements. Some of which will be so far in advance of the release dates that there will surely be delays. It is so much better for a developer to push a game into 2015 to polish it up or take extra time to make it that much more special. “Watch Dogs” is proof of that as it has had the most successful new intellectual property launch ever with 4 million copies and counting.

Reach the reporter at Michael.Jerome.Martin@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter at @Bizarro_Mike