CD PROJEKT RED (CDPR) announced on Jan. 16, 2020 that its most ambitious game to date, CyberPunk 2077, was being delayed from its release date of April to Sept. 17, 2020. This is not the first game for a major Triple-A holding company to go this way either, and it certainly won’t be the last. We’re merely a month into 2020 and already half of E3’s stunning guest list of new games have been pushed back.
The first was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which was set to release in late 2019. In June 2019, the game was pushed back until March 20, 2020. The delay was to give their employees a bit of a break from the huge time crunch they had found themselves under.
Next up was Doom Eternal, a reboot of the 2016 game. The game was pushed to the same day as Animal Crossing which may prove a tough choice for fans of both series who are strapped for cash. This release date does exclude the Switch version of the game, so fans of the series who want it for the newest Nintendo console will be left waiting.
Naughty Dog was the next up to announce a delay of their own. Just a month after its release date was announced, The Last of Us 2 was pushed back to May 29, 2020. Fans were slightly disappointed, as The Last of Us was one of the PS3’s best releases.
Watch Dogs: Legion, with its original release date of March 6, 2020, was announced that it wouldn’t release until the 2020-2021 fiscal year which would put the game somewhere after March, with most sources leaning toward April.
Ubisoft also delayed three more titles, Skull & Bones, Rainbow Six: Quarantine and Gods & Monsters. This leaves the company with only two titles coming out in the next few months, both of which are mobile games. However, it’s easy to see why Ubisoft is playing the safe card, as their last title, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint did poorly in sales, leaving them scrambling to fix mistakes and make up for the loss of money.
Square Enix disappointed Final Fantasy and Marvel fans alike with its announcement of a delay in both the Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Marvel’s Avengers. FF7 will release on April 10, 2020. Its original release date was March 3. Marvel’s Avengers will drop on Sept. 4, making it the second game to have a new date in September.
Notorious for quality releases, Square Enix is a low threat for releasing games before they’re finished. Still, a delay does leave fans understandably upset.
On Jan. 20, 2020 Techland announced that its sequel to Dying Light was pushed back indefinitely. The original release date was set sometime in March, but some companies had it listed as December, so it’s unclear when the original release date really was.
Pushing these games to later in the year is suspicious for multiple reasons. First, both Xbox and Sony have announced their next-gen consoles, with both dropping late 2020 or early 2021. The game’s new release date puts it at a point where it would be possible to make it not only compatible with the current consoles but make it compatible with the new ones as well, giving people an incentive to buy new consoles just to make it ‘look better’ or run smoother.
Another suspicious thing with putting these games so late in the year is that they are now close enough to the holidays to push sales for these companies even higher during the 2020-21 season. CDPR even states in their delay announcement that the game is finished and playable, but this delay allows them more time to polish it and remove bugs.
However, the argument stands that six months’ time is far too long to merely fix bugs. In an era where games are either rushed and terrible, delayed and still terrible, or the rarer delayed and good, it’s hard to know what to expect from this announcement, let alone how to take it.
Sad to say, these games aren’t the first nor the last to do this. It’s common for gaming companies to push games to a time that would be more profitable for them, such as close to holiday months, or in the summer season when students are out of school since a majority of the gaming companies revenue comes from the 16 – 25 age group.
However, not everyone is upset at the delays. This past year saw games releasing in unfinished states, such as Anthem, which was released as a severely broken shell of what it was meant to be or Fallout 76, which left long-time fans of the franchise begging for the game to go back in the vault.
Blair Velazquez, a fellow gamer, said, “as long as they use the delay time appropriately, then I don’t have an issue with it. For example, take a look at Fallout 76 and Anthem.”
Many others echo this sentiment, preferring to wait for a good, polished game than a rushed game that they can play now.