Coffee Talk #76: Game Delays and Hypocrisy

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Renowned game designer Hideo Kojima recently made some sharp comments on videogame delays in light of Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker’s delay. Here’s the translation, courtesy of Andriasang:

I always preach to the staff, ‘You must not have a delay after a release date has been announced. There is no greater crime as a game developer.’ Official announcement of a release date is nothing less than a promise to fans and business partners. In other words, a release date change is like betraying the expectations of everyone.

I find his stance admirable and I’m glad that a high-profile developer made such a strong statement. For the most part, I hate game delays. I understand that there are resource and budget issues that can result in delays, but more often than not the cause is poor management.

Having said that, I have to admit that I’m totally hypocritical on the issue. I will ding the vast majority of developers and publishers for delaying their games (with the exception of manipulating release dates to keep shareholders happy). There are some companies that are immune to my criticism. I’m sure this will shock many of you, but I can’t help giving BioWare a pass for delaying its games. The good reason is that I know I’ll greatly enjoy the final product. The bad reason is that Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk are two of my favorite people in the business. It’s not exactly fair, but at least I can admit.

Today I wanted to how much videogame delays bother you. Are they an inevitable part of a creative endeavor? Or do you agree with Kojima that it’s breaking a promise to fans? Do you make exceptions for top developers like BioWare and Blizzard? Or are you consistent with your stance on delays?

Author: RPadTV

53 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #76: Game Delays and Hypocrisy”

  1. ray

    they bother me

    there are games that i simply wont buy after enduring 4 or 5 delays (im looking at you polyphony)

    im starting to think gran turismo 5 is a hoax

  2. When it comes to developers like Bio and Blizz, most of the time they aren't quick with the release dates. Blizz is nototirous for the "it'll ship when it's done" line. But they have earned whatever slack they get because every game they ship is a AAAA title, hell, one runs 78.6% of Korea. Bioware is solid as well, but they are also pretty stingy with the dates.

  3. Blizzard gets a pass from me. I am skeptical of the SC2 release though. I hope the chapters aren't full price but sold at expansion prices. I also hope they are timely releases.

  4. I'm totally hypocritical on the matter. On one hand, yeah, I'm sure it's like breaking the law (here's to you, White Knight Chronicles, b/c I sure as heck can't get you on release date now). But then, if it's gonna make gameplay smoother or day 1 online less glitchy then sure. I'm all talk tho lol. And I don't certain publishers in favor. I'm an equal opportunity dev basher til the game is in my hands. Then I stop throwing kiddy fits lol.

  5. i would just rather they not give me a release date until a few months before they KNOW it will drop

    wait till the game is done before telling me when i can buy it

  6. @Smartguy – I would expect the first to be full price and include all the multiplayer stuff. After that, if they are just the single play expansions, with a few new modes possibly, I would expect a full price release… though I wouldn't put it past Blizzard to try it.

  7. If they give a specific date, then yes they should be held against it. Publishers need to stop giving release dates so far in advance. I understand that sometimes it takes longer than expected to get your games out, but by now you should be expecting that to happen. Give a timeframe for your release and then delay it and you are completely off the hook IMO, but once you give a set date there should not be any unexpected delays because you should be close to done with it at that point.

  8. @Larcenous

    I wonder if you need the new chapters to play multiplayer?

    I smell activision here. I bet it is $60 and a sub for p2p

  9. @Smartguy – oh I hope not. I seem to remember at BlizzCon them stating that multi would be included with the first chapter, but I am sure they have addons planned for it for the follow-up releases, which would make them mandatory to get. Balance fixes and new classes and such outside of the standard. Plus all they have to do is turn on a filter since everything runs through and you would be shut out without the new stuff.

    Yeah I smell activision as well. That's why I don't doubt that the folows up could be $60 each. Hoping they won't, but I have one of those feelings…

  10. ok so i have one more phone question and im done, i promise

    palm pre? i like everything ive read about that phone so far….

  11. Delays don't bother me because that usually means a better and more polished game. What I do hate is when a game that should have been delayed didn't get delayed and gets released full of bugs and glitches and we eagerly await patches.

  12. @rrod

    thats true dude, but sometimes there are just games that shouldnt have been made in the first place

    bionic commando….I honestly thought resistance 2 was rushed big time, and although i would never admit this at that other site, i was seriously disappointed with R2

  13. I cant think off the top of my head of any games that I really want and have to have now getting delayed. When they come out they come out, and It is usually a better game for it.

    However, I am still waiting on Plants V Zombies on iphone and it was supposed to be out already. I am VERY anxious about this one, and I am torn because I want a good game. But I want it yesterday because I know how good the PC version is.

  14. I'm okay with game delays if they improve the gameplay more or some bugs/glitches during their testing or beta testing but if you have games that are delayed but still have glitches or still have subpar graphics then i'm very disappointed and will most likely boycott that publisher for a bit.

  15. R2 was very underwhelming. It was rushed and bad decisions were made regarding design.


    SC2 is done, I think they (Activision) are just trying to figure out the best sub model. Same with D3.

  16. @thundercracker

    don't forget to add the fact that they equip the care package marker and move 10 times as fast. Fail

    Akimbo shotguns : Fail

    FMJ on shotguns : Fail

    Matchmaking : Fail

    Commando keeping players alive even though they are shot : Fail

    Hiding lag in animations :Fail


  17. @Thundercracker

    Agreed. Resistance 2 was a step back from Resistance 1. They better get Resistance 3 back on track.

  18. @Thunder "im starting to think gran turismo 5 is a hoax" that literally made me lol. I also was a little disappointed with R2. I think a lot of people were.

    On topic – I'm hypocritical on it, I hate it when I anticipate a game and it gets delayed. I also hate it when a game comes out that wasn't finished though. I'd say I probably hate the latter more by far. I share RRODs sentiments in that having to wait a little longer is ok if the final product is worth it.

    I agree with Kojima though in that developers really shouldn't say a date until they are sure they are ready. I like that he respects fans in that way.

  19. @redtailman

    What was George Lucas thinking when he handed that sequel to someone other than Bioware? That would be like trying to make Bethesda make a linear Japanese RPG sequel. No matter how good of a dev you choose, you are doomed to fail because no one is going to be able to make the sequel right except the people who actually understand why and how the game works. And Bioware has there own unique game style that one else has.

  20. @Smartguy

    Don't forget:

    Heavy lag at times. Fail

    Tactical insertions only promote nuke and stat boosting. Fail

    Too many hiding spots on all maps. Fail

    Rewards for dying 3 times in a row(painkiller). Fail

    Infinite noob toobs(scavenger or 1 man army). Fail

    Shotguns as secondary weapons. Fail

    Heartbeat sensors. Fail

    High kill streaks only promotes camping and boosting. Fail

    Getting knifed from 15 ft away(commando). Fail

  21. @redtailman – I think no amount of delay could have helped Obsidian out. the story in Kotor 2 was broken from the start. mechanically the game played just like Kotor which I liked, I also liked the new Jedi robes that actually looked like robes. but the story is just piss poor from the start. One day I dream that Bioware will offer a true sequel to Kotor, but Mass Effect may be as close as we ever get.

  22. @sandrock – actually, the story I know is that Bioware was too busy to take on Kotor 2 because of Jade Empire suggested it be passed along to obsidian. it was a mistake for sure on the part of Lucas to force a sequel when Bioware wasn't ready

  23. @sandrock it was actually bioware who wanted obsidian to develop it

    @shockwave obsidian admitted it was rushed there was another planet and another group of villians that were suppose to be in the game

  24. @RROD

    no party chat : Fail

    no improvement of gfx : Fail

    Choosing my friend's aircard as the host : Fail

    ACOG on sniper rifle : Fail

    ACOG on LMG : Fail

    Thermal on anything not a rifle : Fail

  25. @redtail – ya, an extra planet and some stuff would be cool but ultimately the story never really gripped me in the first place, of course, not many games have like Kotor did. No doubt they could have polished it more but I don't think it would ever be half the game Kotor was.

    Now I'm left to pick up the pieces with an MMO Kotor. (well, that, and Mass Effect, the best Sci Fi RPG I've played since Kotor)

  26. MMO Kotor doesn't look very appealing to me. Combat doesn't look fluid enough. Yes, I'm judging it by my lengthy experience with WoW.

  27. lol@you guys on mw2

    still a great game though….somehow

    they did fix the care package glitch with the latest patch though…

  28. @Smartguy – Kotor MMO doesn't look very appealing to me based on my lack of enthusiasm with any MMO I've played – I'm way too story driven, especially when I play RPGs.

    Sure they say this is a story-driven MMO but with so many people I don't see how any actions you make can have larger effects on the galaxy. Kotor was about the Dark Lord of the Sith, in TOR you're just another citizen of the galaxy

  29. @smartguy I'm with you on that I honestly don't think there will ever be a satisfactory mmo for the star wars universe

  30. @shockwave

    I finally saw Spartacus and i am disappointed. There isn't a need for all the slow motion and excessive blood squirts, like 300. The only thing i found redeeming was the nudity. Nothing like having women laying in water naked and pouring water on each other to keep people watching. I'm not going to watch anymore the story isn't going to be any different than gladiator from what I see so far. Instead of a 2 hour movie, they plan on dragging this one out. This is why Starz shouldn't try to make original content and just stick to showing movies.

  31. @Tokz – the boobs were redeeming but unfortunately that wasn't enough for my girlfriend. she wanted to give the second episode a go and to be honest there's more things for a gay man to be aroused by in that one, including lots of balls. anyway, thanks for letting me know, I didn't think I was alone on that

  32. @Shockwave #34 – and Star Wars was about a moisture farming teenager on Tatooine. The way BioWare is setting the game up is very story driven, which means I am checking it out for sure. At the very least, I get 8 playthroughs based on the different classes should I want them, as they have stated that they are all going to be different. What's going to be key is where the stories intersect to allow for friends/guilds to play.

    If any company can make it happen, it's BioWare.

  33. @LarcenousLaugh BioWare's track record is actually pretty bad when it comes to release dates.

    @thundercracker The Pre's WebOS is super slick, but I don't like the keyboard on the Sprint version. Supposedly, the Verizon version has a slightly better keyboard. The WebOS app catalog is pretty small and Palm is having problems attracting developers.

  34. a game I would have liked to see get delayed is KOTOR 2, don’t know why look it up and you will understand

  35. btw….with my girlfriend going through nursing school, i cant really afford a 600 dollar phone….so i went with the htc hero, it does everything i need it to, and it was only like 200 bucks. Sprint actually kicks ass here in va, so no complaints there either

    i wanna thank you all for your advice, and i expect to hear your critisizms regarding my choice :P

  36. @Smartguy

    Here are a few fixed that they can patch but won’t:

    Take out Akimbo.
    Take out tactical insertions to kill all of the boosting.
    Make noob toobs replace perk 1 like the other CODs for balance and that way you can’t get infinite noob toobs.
    Make shotguns primary weapons only like the other CODs for balance.
    Take out that stupid commando or at least make the bullets break up the knifing animation.
    Take out heartbeat sensor or like noob toob make it replace perk 1.
    Cold blooded should keep you off the heartbeat sensor.
    Make FMJ a perk again like the other CODs(deep penetration).
    Take out deathsreaks.(never seen a game reward people for dying constantly)

  37. my uncle used to say that laughter was the best medicene, i guess thats why several of us died of tuberculosis

  38. @games in general – i finally got a chance to beat AC2 over the weekend. It's a total mind phuck lol. Can't wait to see a 3rd now. And I've become less lazy, so I might actually go for platinum lol.

    And on top of that, for any of you who own LBP. I've finally gotten to play people's levels with the water packs. Fun as hell, I wish this would have came out when the game was released. So this weekend I'm picking up the Pirates level pack Think it's worth it.

  39. I give a pass for the developers that have proved they can make damn good use of taking all the time in the world (like Valve).

    I'll give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt, tho they clearly haven't made good use of their time working on Starcraft II (or else it wouldn't be the same damn game in 3D), but they've never made a bad game and Diablo 3 looks too promising to get annoyed with them taking their time.

    For it's failure with Spore and a great many failures besides, EA and most of its associates receive no slack whatsoever. On anything. Ever.

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