Dear developers, don’t announce your game if you can’t release it in the next 2 years

By on January 2, 2012

Making us wait for 6 years to play the game? No, thanks.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

One of my biggest gaming related disappointments recently has been the amount of information we have been getting in regards to Final Fantasy Versus 13. Although the game was announced alongside Final Fantasy 13 back in 2006 much of the game’s information, let alone a release date, are nowhere to be found. What bugs me even more is the fact that Final Fantasy 13 was released in March of 2010 and it already has a sequel that is already at 70% completion ready to be on shelves by January of 2012. These really early announcements combined with huge development time spans that just build up layers upon layers of hype are not helping the industry at all. The game will eventually reach a point where it’s going to be extremely hard or rather nearly impossible to live to that hype. This can both wear out the player anticipating the game as well as hurt the game itself because people are going to look at it a lot more strictly simply because it took too long to get released . Either ways, really early video game announcements combined with large development cycles are things that this industry needs to tone down on.

This magical unicorn is nowhere to be found.

The most recent example of a game that suffered at the hands of both a premature reveal and a long development cycle is none other than Gran Turismo 5. The game was announced near the release time of the PS3 and was one of the most anticipated exclusives for the console. The developers however were not really sure when the game will be ready and eventually kept pushing back the game further and further. This left fans of the GT series in frustration and disappointment because of the delay and it also raised the scale of what was expected of the game to a very high level. Eventually the game was released near the end of 2010, but was met with harsher criticism than usual because of the gigantic amount of expectations from it.

When it comes to the actual driving of GT5 it is one of the most accurate diving simulators to date if not the most accurate. The problem with GT5 was that it was built on a very early concept that just didn’t resonate well with the current presentation standards of games. The issue at hand here is that it went into 6 years of development that left it with an outdated presentation level that just did not cut it. The menus felt crowded and made it a real hassle to navigate through. The Career mode felt extremely dry mainly because it was based on something that would be considered normal back in the 2006 timeline. The combination of a 6 year development period and a premature announcement are leading factors as to why GT5 did not do what it needed to do.

If you look at a more “modern” game like Forza on the 360, you realize how much GT5 failed in presentation standards. Forza had an extremely appealing presentation with slick easy to navigate menus. It also included an actual voiced presenter that introduced the basics of the game to you and made it much easier for new players to actually get in the game. If you compare the two you would probably realize that Forza is the better game simply because of how much polish that went into it. To see that Forza was able to accomplish that level polish in nearly half the time span it took for GT5 makes us really wonder if 6 years of development were necessary to produce the game.

GT5 was not able to satisfy the level of expectations that people were hoping for.

Do I think that really long development time spans are completely wrong? Not necessarily. I believe that with current development tools and standards you can accomplish what you need in a much shorter time. If there is a massive title that actually need that huge time period then don’t announce it until it’s a year or 2 close to being finished. Announcing a game and then waiting a large span of time to actually get it on shelves is a very risky move in our current times. Developers should learn where other games have failed to perform and avoid this glaring mistake. Time your development and announcement right and your game will be received at a much better light than if otherwise not.


About

A young zergling from Bahrain dreaming of one day magically morphing into an ultralisk. 20 years old, 2nd year of university, and a lover of all types of games specially RPGs and RTSs.

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Comments
  • Anonymous

    nice article but i think the title is too long =P u need something shorter and catchy

  • Guest

    You should talk about the halley Diablo.

  • Strauss

    don’t play games outside of call of duty if you don’t want quality…..i would rather a developer take there time and work on a game for however long it takes for it to be the best it can rather than rush it and have an inferior product

    • http://twitter.com/VvReema Reema Ibrahim

      took the words right out of my mouth ! but some times it could be a negative thing if it takes too long .

    • Anonymous

      Not the point of this article, brother. 

  • http://www.blackxino.blogspot.com Xino

    i agree with this.
    I like how EA announced Syndicate. Which was announced quite late and the game will be coming out in like 6/7 months time. It allows us to want more info and less waiting for the game.

    Ninja Gaiden 3′s wait is unbearable man.

    i don’t mind if a game set to be release gets delayed, but as long as it’s not an anticipated game i’ve been waiting for like nG3.

  • joey

    FFX-2 is about 100% done actually, it’s already out in japan.

    Also, it’s usually publishers who want to announce games early so that it looks good in front of investors. Often to the detriment of the developers working on the game that know how long they are from the actual finish line.

  • Anonymous

    Gabe Newell should read this article.

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