Red Dead Redemption 2 delayed…and that’s okay

Early last week, Rockstar Games broke the news that this year’s darling Western drama, Red Dead Redemption 2, will be next year’s darling Western drama. Yes, the game has been delayed until Spring 2018. This, in my mind, leads me to think of a possible release in March, but that’s purely a guess. About the delay, I’m disheartened but not surprised. In fact, my first thought upon hearing of the delay was literally “oh, well.” (…and, um…and then I immediately looked up South Park, The Fractured But Whole, and saw that it now has a release date – October 17th – and I’m hoping that it remain true. Because if I’m not going to be playing Red Dead Redemption 2 this fall, then I need to plan on playing something!)

But really, should anyone be all that surprised about game delays anymore? They seem awfully commonplace as is. But, I’m just a regular Joe. My life doesn’t live and die by video games. If a game I’d like play gets delayed, then I just find something else to play. Maybe I’m a little bit sad about having to wait, but that’s life. I’m sure that delays more negatively affect industry reviewers who work on set schedules and deadlines. Or maybe that’s not the case at all. If nothing else, I’m just pleased that that this announcement wasn’t followed by too much vitriol. Most players seem to be in support of the developers putting off the game until it’s ready. We really don’t need another No Man’s Sky incident, right?

It is interesting to consider that of our various entertainment trades – movies, television, books, even cultural agencies and amusement parks — the games industry is quite unlike any other. For the most part, we know when our favorite movies will be in the theaters, and we know when our favorite TV shows are going to air. Likewise, we know when that cool art exhibit is going to open, just as we know exactly when that new roller-coaster is set to start running. Very rarely do these deadlines change, even when they’re announced months in advance.  This is not to say that game release dates are overall fluid – game developers certainly do respect their deadlines – but, over time, we have come to terms with what it means to make a game. And with that knowledge has come the understanding that, despite a developers best efforts, sometimes a release date or window needs to change. And sometimes, it seems we’re quite okay with games having no release date at all.

It’s the approach of E3 that has me on this train of thought, for I wonder what games this year we’ll get a glimpse of only to not hear anything or very little about subsequently. Like, last year with Death Stranding and Detroit: Become Human, and others that were met with loads of initial hype only to have very little follow-up.  Then, what of games that seem to be in perpetual development like Star Citizen and Cuphead? Sometimes, we’re really patient with our games, as seems with the likes of Persona 5. (And if the game had been the pits, oh how the feathers would have flown! Good thing it seems to be a winner.) Other times, like with Mass Effect: Andromeda, the backlash is met with cries of “if only they had ‘finished’ the game first!”

All I know is that I’ve pretty much stopped putting game releases into my calendar. (I hardly ever get to a game on release day, anyway.) There are So. Many. Games. as it is, it’s just not worth my waning mental acuity to worry over whether I’ll get to play Red Dead Redemption 2 this Fall, next Spring, or two years from now. All I want is for the game, any game, all games, to be good. And if not good for me, then good for the community.

[Article source: Rockstar Games]


What’s your take games having set release dates? Should developers be beholden to their deadlines just like with TV and movies?

Lede image © Rockstar Games

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I cannot blame Rockstar for pushing the game back in order to polish out the gameplay and mechanics and such. It’s Rockstar, so you know that it’s going to be a good game regardless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. cary says:

      You’re right. There’s no reason to think that Rockstar will disappoint with this game. They can take all the time they need, as far as I’m concerned.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Part of me wants to say “yes” they should stick to their schedule in order to be held to the same standard as other art/entertainment, but I think when it comes to programming a game, there’s a lot more that can go wrong a lot later in the process than, say, filming a movie. So in that regard, I don’t mind having a little flexibility.

    Now I’m having a thought experiment about scheduling in “extra time” by aiming for a specific day (say, June 15), but then announcing the game will be released on August 15 or something like that. But I’m not really happy with that, either. Because who will work for a deadline if it’s not really a deadline? Hm… I’ll have to think about that more, but for now, if it means the game will be “finished,” I’d rather a game be delayed and have the quality the devs want and the players expect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      That’s a really interesting line of thought there with having “deadlines” and then DEADLINES. I really don’t know how it works for developers, but I could see how padding a release window might make sense in principle but not in practice.

      Understanding that game development isn’t quite like any other artistic medium is key here. Making a movie or TV show involves tried and true steps that haven’t evolved significantly, or at least as rapidly, over, well, a century now. Not only is the game industry young, it’s dealing with tech that seems to evolve on a daily basis. So it’s no wonder that more could, and often does, go wrong during the process of making a game. I imagine it’s not easy walking that line between developing a solid, finished game and satiating the players. It’s a tough crowd on both ends.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It definitely is. Like I said, my two deadlines just don’t seem to hold up in actual business practice. So, yes I think that puts me firmly in camp “I’d rather it be delayed a bit” because I’d rather wait for a really solid game then contend with a buggy game a little earlier, but yet needs to be fixed.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

    I think delays are fine since in the end, it usually means we’ll get a better version of the game with far less problems. I think the issue is not the delay themselves, but showing off a game too early. I personally think, if the developer or publisher thinks the game is not ready, play it safe and make it better. Last think you want to rush out a game and betray your fans expectations and under deliver. As you said, look what happened with No Mans Sky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Right? And how about plenty of other games that seem to be stuck in development limbo? I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind offering players the slightest glimpses of games that are still many years away from release. There’s something to be said for creating hype, and sometimes the long, long delays (a la Persona 5) pay off. More than often, however, they just don’t. Giving the players finished games within a reasonable time frame shouldn’t be rocket science.

      Liked by 1 person

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