Youtuber Mark Brown, best-known for the Game Maker's Toolkit series (opens in new tab), recently posted some images—well quite a lot of images actually—from his private collection. The topic: Game delay announcements.
You know, I'm something of a collector.What do I collect?Why, the images that publishers tweet when they delay their games, of course. pic.twitter.com/ZYzamyXAEwNovember 17, 2021
Brown shared the images in batches of four, the above being Cyberpunk 2077, Deathloop, DOOM Eternal and Far Cry 6.
But there are more: many, many more. The Saints Row remake, Final Fantasy VII Remake, New World, Halo: Infinite, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Outriders, Back 4 Blood, Humankind, Battlefield 2042, Dying Light 2, Gotham Knights... the list goes on.
It's funny how many of these I barely remember. Delays are so common in the games industry that, outside of a surprise announcement on a much-hyped product (like Cyberpunk 2077), they tend to be in the news for a day then forgotten about. As you look through this list it's like an endless parade of mostly great games and almost all of them are well-funded titles from big publishers. These companies almost without exception have good track records, money, and proven know-how. But making games is hard.
Is this art pic.twitter.com/wS7RkoDvGoNovember 17, 2021
Brown's collection (opens in new tab) does feel like it should be in a museum in some sense; these weird little artefacts of the modern hype cycles. In the old days, he says while lighting a pipe, delays were also common but much less commented-on: Whereas the size of the industry now, and the budgets involved, makes any kind of delay big news.
It's pointless wondering about whether it should be big news: It just is. The fact that something like Cyberpunk 2077 took eight years to make, with a rumoured budget north of $300 million, on its face gives some idea of the complexity of these projects. Even then, with the delays, CDPR shipped the game and it was in a bit of a state (opens in new tab) (more on consoles than PC, but the point stands). Games are ultimately a creative endeavour as much as a technical challenge and money and time can't always solve a given project's problems: Even if it might help.