Gamers argue every aspect of the industry tirelessly, whether it’s about their favorite consoles or controversial content in the latest Medal of Honor. In the end, though, we all love sitting down and playing games. Yet there lurks an enemy that strikes fear into the hearts of any gamer — the delay.
Whether the decision is based on a game needing more time in the oven or purely business-driven, it always sucks to see a game you were looking forward to pushed back. While in some cases that time is spent polishing a turd, let’s focus on some games that were worth the wait.
Grand Theft Auto IV
While a good amount of people prefer the silliness of PS2 classics GTA Vice City and San Andreas, it’s hard to ignore the impact that GTA IV had for this generation of games. Even two years later, it still sits atop Metacritic as the top-rated game on both the Xbox 360 and PS3.
And as much as I enjoyed the game, in retrospect those numbers could be traced to everyone’s anticipation for the game. After all, it was following three of the greatest games of all time, and the first numbered entry in the series in years. So when the game, with a planned October 2007 release, was delayed into the second quarter of 2008 just two months before release, just about everyone lost it.
Thankfully, the game was released in April 2008 without further delay. And only $100 million and 3+ years of development later!
Super Mario Galaxy
After launching the Gamecube with Luigi’s Mansion rather than a proper Mario release Nintendo was on a rather short leash. When that “proper” Mario Gamecube game ended up being the rather disappointing Super Mario Sunshine people wondered if the Big N could go back to the glory days of launching their consoles with Mario classics such as Super Mario World and SM64.
Fast forward to E3 2006 and Mario fans were hoping for news of a Mario game to play with their new Wiis that November. Eventually we were told that the game would miss launch but still come out within six months of the consoles release. Unfortunately that came and went as well, and the game didn’t see release until November 2007.
When the game did come out, though, it was clear that Miyamoto and Company didn’t waste a single minute making the game a technical showpiece for what could be accomplished on the hardware. It’s still one of the best-looking games on the system and the game’s ridiculous planetoid-gravity gameplay was never really duplicated … except by it’s sequel this year, that is.
This is where we get into some serious time sinks as far as development is concerned. Revealed way back at E3 2005, the game was originally planned for “the next generation of consoles and PCs.”
As time went on, the platforms the game would be appearing on was whittled down — first in 2006 when Remedy partnered with Microsoft to release the game exclusively on Xbox 360 and Windows PCs, followed by what felt like an indefinite silence from both Remedy and Microsoft before the game was finally seen again at E3 2009. However, the PC version was suspiciously absent, and in February of this year plans for a PC version were officially scrapped.
The game finally released in May of this year, and while the game had some goofy quirks (collecting Thermoses for no real reason, his name being A. Wake — get it?) gamers were treated to a creepy atmosphere, intriguing narrative, and an effective combat mechanic requiring the use of light to fight off enemies.