The very first thing I want to say, to avoid any confusion, is that we’re still estimating the beta this year. This news post isn’t written as a precursor to an upcoming delay. It’s just a topic that has been discussed at length and one I felt like trying to address.
So, video game delays..
Let’s start with an overused but wonderful quote from nintendos Shigeru Miyamoto.
“A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad”
This is right on the money. We’ve all seen the monstrosities churned out by development teams pressed by money hungry publishers. Those are teams that failed to meet their development deadlines but were forced to put out their game anyway and we’ve seen it time and time again.
In contrast to that we’ve seen teams like Valve delay their games over and over again only to release something magnificent. They had the time to create THEIR games, the games they envisioned, scrapping and reworking anything they weren’t completely happy with. The result was a collection of some of the best games ever made (and Ricochet).
The debate on whether or not games are art rages on and I won’t summon it’s ardent squabblers by telling you you can’t rush art. But the fact that games now set out to provoke emotion is undeniable and when that’s your goal your chances of meeting a theoretical deadline based on list of features is near impossible. Producing a game is like molding clay; it evolves. By the time you’re done your original design document and the game you produce are sometimes night and day.
Indeed, even among triple A developers the list of delayed games is staggering..
On top of that, we’re at a time in the games industry now where gamers are demanding innovation. Often those demands fall on deaf ears where AAA studios are concerned and there’s a good reason for that. Producing something new requires overcoming uncertain challenges. When you’re producing a game that does something different, particularly when it’s something complex, judging how long each technical challenge will take you to overcome is a complete nightmare. Uncertain challenges and untested genres don’t mesh well with the AAA world of budgets, publishers, deadlines and goals.
So gamers look to indie studios for innovation, studios willing to take the risk, willing to put their livelihood on the line, willing to deal with ‘as long as it takes to make this happen’ development. This is what we do here at Chucklefish and that’s something I’m very proud of.
Realistically there are only three types of games..
Games that are released before they’re done. The buggy and often rushed to the finish mess you regret purchasing in that steam sale binge.
Games that do nothing new. Basically a rehash of a game you played last year, Fifa 2040, Call of Duty – we added giraffes edition.
Games that are delayed. Games that aren’t remembered for their development period or the number of times they were delayed, but the care and attention lavished upon them in that time. (let’s not talk about Duke Nukem Forever).
And we’d much rather be in the final category.
All this said, whilst I won’t apologise for delaying the game a couple of times, we have made mistakes along the way. The most obvious of which was to give out estimated release dates on a project that’s aiming so high and I think it’s unlikely we’ll ever do that again. We also underestimated the time spent on communication overheads when working with a remote team in several different timezones. (Honestly I think if we’d all been in the same office we may have met our release date goals).
But the finished game WILL be worth the wait, we’re all happy with how its shaping up and super excited to get it to the point where we’re happy with it. You’ll have the chance to help us do that this year with the beta and we’re looking forwards to that too.
Thanks for reading guys