For the longest time, I have been fascinated by the creation of video games, from how each design was done to video game design itself. I’ve been enamoured by the idea of video games and how they are made. However, one thing that I’ve never thought about was what kind of environment that somes games are made in. At that time, I experienced the first time something I was very interested in got delayed. That game was “Mighty Number 9,” a “Mega Man” spiritual successor that, while I wasn’t too sure how I’d buy the game, I was excited for the release of this brand-spanking new game. But those who know this game probably know it because of the hilariously bad marketing campaigns, the poorly done redesigns, the odd appearance of other campaigns and the hilarious number of delays to the game. At the time this all happened, I was too young to understand why the delays even happened or what the delays even meant for the staff making the game.
My young naive reaction to the whole ordeal was that none of this would have happened if they just released the game on the date that they promised. There were countless memes to the effect that “Mighty Number 9” would never release, and even if it did, there was no way that it would be able to meet the expectations of the players that, at this point, had waited for a couple years. The end result of it all was what someone would expect for a game that had bad management. The game looked and felt rushed, and the countless ports that were promised for the game were fated to never come. In the end, the game was mocked by practically everyone that kickstarted the game way back in 2013.
However, what I didn’t understand back then was that what would have probably come out before all these delays would have no doubt caused even more outrage. I came to an understanding that all these delays for games were good for both the people that wanted to play the game and also the people that made the game. Despite what all the commenters on the countless forums that lament the delay of a game have said, a delay can sometimes be the best thing to ever happen to a game.
I came to this realization after “DOOM 2016” was released to explosive critical acclaim. What I thought to be one of the coolest, most radical games that I’ve ever seen in my short life had, in fact, a very troubled development. Development for the game began as early as 2008 where the game was first called “Doom 4,” a not-quite reboot or sequel to the series that obviously had a very troubled time. It was said to be significantly graphically better than any other game in the genre, utilizing what was then a brand new coding script based on C++ called “Super-Script.” In the end the project was restarted and thus the development of the game we know now only really began in 2013, giving the game only three years worth of development.
While not exactly given a delay per se, what the game was, in fact, given was time. Time that was used to great effect and passion. What came out of that time could be considered some of the best work ID Entertainment had done in a while. ID then went on to make the sequel to the game, “Doom Eternal,” which further added content to the game, and thus more critical acclaim was acquired for what was once considered a near doomed to fail product.
This also made me think about another game, one that is much closer to my heart as a game of truly wasted potential. “Indivisible” was a game that had a fairly decent start. The kickstarter didn’t do bad at all and was, in fact, reaching stretch goals. It was a very ambitious game at the time, with a number of different party members and stories for each one, with all of them having fighting game-esque movesets and abilities in a turn-based combat system RPG. It was an entertaining experience that I was so excited for that I followed nearly every step of development, waiting in anticipation for this game that I had now waited a couple years for at this point. However, when the game came out, it was rife with issues such as game-breaking bugs and poorly-explained mechanics. There was so much backtracking in the game that I thought that I could do something more productive by actually physically hiking up a mountain, which at the time I did with my family. The game was incredibly rough besides its top-notch combat. Not to mention, not all the base content made it into the game either. Two whole characters didn’t make it into the game on launch, which, due to some things I’ll explain a little later, never ended in the game at all. There was supposed to be a plethora of content that would come into the game, such as crossover characters from a number of games like Juan from “Guacamelee” and Shovel Knight from (you guessed it) “Shovel Knight.” I personally wondered why the game didn’t delay, so that content could be added to the game and more time could be taken to polish the bugs. That’s when I learned that many people were keen on getting the game now. After seeing all the news about people sending death threats to developers who delay their games, it made me realize that what this does is actively encourage a culture that pushes for games to come out half-baked but on time.
That is why I think the game wasn’t a success. The game had all the advertising it needed to be popular, even taking a front page on Steam when it first came out. However, it couldn’t match up to other completed titles that were just around the corner. Not to mention internal issues with the man in charge of development and of the studio, MikeZ, who ruined relations with practically every company partner they had due to his tasteless jokes and near inhuman treatment of his workers.
That’s why when a game gets delayed, remember that it’s to make games better and that it won’t harm a game by having more time to develop into something with proper management.
Edward Park is a third year student with a BsED writings track. EP909767@wcupa.edu