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Ahead of E3 2014: The Biggest Video Game Delays Of 2014

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Ahead of E3 2014: The Biggest Video Game Delays Of 2014
 
 

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Ahead of E3 2014: The Biggest Video Game Delays Of 2014

There’s been a peculiar trend in video games lately: more and more, we’re seeing major video games get pushed back, often into the next calendar year.

In 2013 we saw this occur with only a handful of games, most of which came from Ubisoft. Those included Rayman: Legends, once a Wii U launch window title, pushed back in order to release across multiple platforms; Watch Dogs, which was pushed back from a PS4/Xbox One release in late 2013 to May of 2014; and South Park: The Stick of Truth, originally a THQ title until that publisher went bankrupt.

Beyond that, Sony's PS4 exclusive DriveClub was pushed back into 2014, and The Last Guardian remains in its immortal hiatus.

2014 is another story altogether. A number of publishers and developers have pushed back their games, often by half a year or more.

Here are the major video games that have been delayed into 2015:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – CD Projekt RED

If there was just one game I didn’t want to see delayed into next year, The Witcher 3 was it. So much for wishes.

Polish developer CD Projekt RED pushed the game back from an unannounced 2014 release date to February 24th 2015, saying:

“We could have released the game towards the end of this year as we had initially planned. Yet we concluded that a few additional months will let us achieve the quality that will satisfy us, the quality gamers expect from us.”

And gamers really do expect that level of quality from CDP RED. The Witcher 3 looks hugely ambitious, and any delays needed to ensure it stands up to that ambition are welcome, even if we don’t want to face a longer wait.

Still, as sad as this may be, at least it puts some distance between the game and BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. 

The Order: 1886 – Ready at Dawn/SCE Santa Monica – Sony

One of the best-looking reveals for the PlayStation 4, Ready at Dawn’s third-person, alt-history, steampunk-meets-Arthurian legend video game has also been delayed into 2015.

In development since 2010, The Order: 1886 has been a long time coming. Its delay was announced in May, with Sony noting:

“As we look to bring this experience to the players, we have decided to spend some extra time to deliver on the promise we made when we first introduced the game. As such, you can expect The Order: 1886 to come exclusively to the PlayStation 4 in early 2015.”

This isn’t great news for the PlayStation 4, which has only a few exclusives to its name. On the bright side, the same can be said for the Xbox One.

Dying Light – Techland – Warner Bros.

The delay of Dying Light illustrates just how few zombie games are being made these days. Or…well, not quite. But to be fair, this one actually looks quite good—a fast-paced mix of horror and parkour with gorgeous looking graphics from the makers of Dead Island.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to release our upcoming game in February 2015,” Techland said when announcing the game’s delay, citing the game’s “Natural Movement” system as something they’d like to perfect.

“The new date ensures that we can fully realize our vision of an innovative open-world game. We won’t need to make compromises or trade-offs on any of the five platforms we’re working on. For you, it means an outstanding, original game that makes the wait more than worthwhile.”

Batman: Arkham Knight – Rocksteady – Warner Bros.

Batman: Arkham Knight is the conclusion to the Arkham series produced by Rocksteady Studios (save for Arkham Origins which was developed by Warner Bros. Games Montréal.)

So far everything we’ve seen of the game looks, in the parlance of the internet, epic. You can drive the Batmobile for the first time. And this is the first Arkham game developed for new-gen consoles.

But just a few months after the game was announced, Rocksteady announced its delay.

“We just want to make this the best experience that we can, and that takes time,” Rocksteady told GameSpot at the time. “We feel that we have an absolutely awesome game in the works, and we want to make it as great as it possibly can be. We just need more time to do that. If we didn’t give the team more time to do it, then we would be releasing something that we weren’t happy with. We want to make sure we’re absolutely nailing it 100 percent.”

Tom Clancy’s: The Division – Ubisoft Massive – Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s multiplayer third-person shooter looks really interesting, and really beautiful—though, these days, who knows what the final graphics will look like with any game?

The post-apocalyptic tactical shooter was slated for a 2014 release, but was later delayed to 2015. No specifics have been given, but Ubisoft says they’ll reveal more information at their E3 conference next week.

An anonymous source from within Ubisoft Massive told GameReactor prior to the delay announcement:

“The game engine works well, it’s not done, but works well. The actual game development has barely started, however.

“The fact that Ubisoft has gone public with a 2014 release date feels laughable to be perfectly honest, we will never be able to release The Division this year. It’s a large project, and we have very far to go.”

Mad Max – Avalanche Studios – Warner Bros.

Speaking of post-apocalyptic games, Mad Max—originally revealed at E3 2013 as a 2014 release—was pushed back to 2015, the announcement of which was handled via one of the game’s trailers.

No explanation for the delay was forthcoming from Warner Bros. but one can make educated guesses. As with the rest of these games, more work needed to be done and it appears more and more publishers are willing to push back games—even at the risk of disappointing share-holders—rather than give gamers a rushed experience.

Quantum Break – Remedy Entertainment – Microsoft Studios

While the third-person shooter, time-puzzler, oddly cinematic Quantum Break never had an official release date, it was revealed along with the Xbox One way back in 2013. It was generally believed to be a 2014 release.

Xbox One owners will have to wait until 2015, however, to play the game. The Finnish developer, Remedy Entertainment, revealed a 2015 release date recently, also noting that nothing new will be shown at this year’s E3.

“We are working hard to bring you an entertainment experience like no other,” Remedy’s Sam Lake said. “Quantum break will be out in 2015. I’m very excited to tell you that we’ll be presenting Quantum Break’s time-amplified action gameplay for the first time ever in August at Gamescom.”

~~~~

So that’s the big list. And there may be more. But first, let’s talk about trends.

Trends

First off, most of these delays are Warner Bros. games. Batman: Arkham Knight, Mad Max, and Dying Light are all being published by the company, and in North America Warner Bros. is handling the distribution of The Witcher 3 as well (though other publishers handle that in Europe and elsewhere.)

That’s about half of all the game delays into 2015 from one publisher.

Second, many of the developers here are European. CD Projekt RED and Techland are both Polish developers. Rocksteady is British. Remedy is Finnish. Avalanche Studios and Ubisoft Massive are both based in Sweden.

The only developer on this list that’s not based out of Europe is the American studio Ready at Dawn.

I’m not sure if this means anything at all, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Third, a lot of these games are being slated for Q1 2015, with a few getting February windows or dates. February 2015 should be a good month for gamers.

And finally, I think it shows a willingness on the part of developers and publishers to push back their games that hasn’t been as common in recent years. Sure, most of these games are from one publisher, but that comes on the heels of Ubisoft’s many delays.

Maybe there’s a crowd mentality here—as more and more publishers relax launch dates, games are given the room they need to be fully developed.

Which Means….

We could see even more delays into 2015 from other big releases. Bethesda’s The Evil Within has already been pushed back to October. Sometimes one delay is just foreshadowing of similar things to come.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dragon Age: Inquisition pushed back either. After all, BioWare really needs this one to be a major hit.

Even games like Destiny—a new IP with hundreds of millions of dollars riding on it—could be delayed, even though Activision isn’t really known for this sort of practice. And Sony’s DriveClub seems like ripe fodder for 2015.

Games I don’t see getting a later release date:

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Activision releases this franchise on a clock, now cycling each game through three developers. There’s no way it’s not hitting shelves in time for Christmas.

Ubisoft will almost certainly not delay its next Assassin’s Creed game either, though I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if Far Cry 4 got bumped.

Nor do I see EA’s Battlefield: Hardline moving back to 2015, in spite of the many problems Battlefield 4 faced when it launched. There’s a rivalry between Call of Duty and Battlefield that all but ensures an on-time release.

What are your thoughts? Are game delays good for the industry, or do they point to other problems? Is this, perhaps, a self-correcting mechanism, as publishers realize that the faster development cycles are causing too many issues? Even Activision is lengthening the development time from two to three years for Call of Duty. It costs more, but the extra time may be just the thing video games, and the industry itself, need.

Follow me on Twitter or FacebookRead my Forbes blog here.

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

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