Game development is a complex process that sees so so many different teams and people come together to use their expertise to create a magical experience for hundreds, thousands, and even millions of players around the world. As talented as all the people are who work on these games, though, there’s no hiding the fact that sometimes things don’t go to plan.
A game-breaking bug pops up in QA, or the game just doesn’t play the way the team had envisioned it would. As 2022 draws to a close and 2023 begins, we take a look at 7 games that will probably get delayed over the next 12 months.
For the record, we don’t perceive delays to be a bad thing here at Twinfinite. As disappointing as they can be for fans of the IP, a delay can often be just what a game needs to enable it to deliver on expectations or to push a game from great to amazing. Sure, those extra few months’ wait are a pain, but we’d rather that than another buggy mess á la Cyberpunk 2077.
Sure, Blizzard just announced Diablo 4 to be releasing on June 6 at this month’s The Game Awards, but that doesn’t detract from the less-than-ideal development of the game, nor its mobile predecessors’ rocky… nay, abysmal reception by critics and players alike.
Diablo 4’s game director and game designer, Luis Barriga and Jesse McCree, have both departed the studio since the game’s development began in 2019 following a lawsuit regarding the pair’s behavior in the workplace. Following that, the game was announced not to be released in 2022, with “high employee turnover” being cited as the reason.
These are two major positions in any development team, and so it’s likely the effects of their departure — while absolutely warranted — will have negatively impacted the development of the game. Toss into that the less-than-stellar reception to Diablo Immortal earlier this year for its predatory microtransactions, among other things, and there’s also the chance that Blizzard won’t want to risk putting out another disappointing entry in one of its flagship franchises.
Hogwarts Legacy (PS4 & Xbox One Versions)
Hogwarts Legacy, for a variety of reasons, can’t seem to catch a break. For wannabe witches and wizards around the world, it looks like the closest we’ll get to living out our Hogwarts fantasies, but it can’t step out of the controversial shadow of the Wizarding world’s creator right now.
While the game is certainly shaping up nicely, we have recently received the news that the PS4 and Xbox One versions are set to release months after the PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PS5 SKUs. The reasoning for the delay was to ensure the development team can “deliver the best possible game experience across all platforms.”
Now, perhaps we’re being cynical, but given WB Games just recently axed the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Gotham Knights because they wouldn’t be able to deliver the experience the development team wanted. We can’t help but feel there may be more delays in store for the last-gen versions of Hogwarts Legacy.
Or perhaps we’re way off the mark, and WB Games will pull it out of the bag. Only time will tell… or a clairvoyance spell… anyone know one?
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
I was a huge fan of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order when it was released back in 2020, and so I’m eagerly anticipating getting my hands on Survivor, the sequel to Cal Kestis’ debut adventure. However, given we only saw the debut cinematic teaser for the game in May this year, a release date less than 12 months later feels a little… too good to be true?
Games have been unveiled and released in short timespans before, with Fallout 4 arguably being one of the most notable, being officially unveiled at E3 in June 2015 and released five months later in November of that year. That leaves me with some hope, but given we’ve also had COVID to contend with in recent years, wreaking havoc on developers as they tried to transition into a work-from-home model, there’s a sneaking suspicion lying deep inside me that just tells me we may have to wait a few months after its currently slated March 17, 2023 release date to get our hands on it.
Dead Island 2
Ah yes, the sequel to a game that was released in 2011 and initially began development under Yager Development in 2012, before being shifted over to Sumo Digital in 2016-2019, before being taken on by Dambuster Studios from then until now… what could possibly make us think Dead Island 2 will suffer another delay?
Currently, due to release on April 28, 2023, Dead Island 2 sees the undead shuffle their way into an open-world rendition of Los Angeles and San Francisco. While it’ll retain elements of its predecessor, such as the rage and crafting systems, combat has apparently been given an overhaul, which will (hopefully) make your swings with melee weapons feel that little bit weightier.
Dead Island 2 may have already suffered a delay from Feb. 3, 2023 to April 28, but given the game’s troubled development cycle over the course of 10 years, we’re just not confident it won’t need that little bit longer to ensure it lives up to fan expectations.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
I don’t think I need to remind you of just how long we had to wait for that final release date for Breath of the Wild all those years ago. Now, five years after the Switch launch title was finally released, we’re sitting here eagerly counting down the days until May 12, 2023.
As excited as we are to see what Tears of the Kingdom has in store for us, we’re also not holding our breath to be playing it in May. Given the sky-high standards Nintendo sets for its Zelda titles, there’s always the chance that Tears of the Kingdom will suffer from a delay or two more, just as its predecessor did due to issues with its physics engine (which was pretty significant given the powers of your Sheikah Slate).
Fingers crossed Nintendo’s got things down to a tee this time around, and without another ‘next-gen’ Nintendo platform to develop and release the game on — as Breath of the Wild did with the Switch and Wii U SKUs — hopefully there won’t be any last-minute issues that need resolving.
Final Fantasy XVI
Look, Final Fantasy XVI, it’s not you; it’s your extremely delayed predecessor. The same predecessor that had an entire livestream event to announce the release date, only to get delayed after the fact. Yes, yes, Final Fantasy XV, which started out in the development incubator 10 years earlier as Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
Perhaps I’m being slightly cynical, but given director Hajime Tabata cited the reason for those delays as a result of the team trying to reach the “highest possible quality,” we can’t help but feel a last-minute delay for a final bit of spit and polish could be inbound for Final Fantasy XVI, too.
Baldur’s Gate 3
I can already hear (… see?) the messages in the comments: “Look at this dumbass, doesn’t know that Baldur’s Gate 3’s technically already out.” Well, I do, so fight me.
For those not trying to rip my throat out in the comments and wear it like some sort of creepy bangle-like trophy, Baldur’s Gate 3 is currently in early access, allowing players to check out the game’s first act, equating to about 25 hours of gameplay. Currently, it’s due to leave early access and release its 1.0 build in August 2023.
Given there’s no set date yet, there’s a good chance that Larian Studios may still be working through feedback, addressing QA issues, and polishing the game up, with no set timeline in place to get the game’s first full build out the door. We’d argue that’s a good way to go about game development, following a mantra of “it’s done when it’s done,” though for those who have spent countless hours in the first act via early access already, that will come as no comfort.
Starfield’s already suffered a delay, getting pushed into the first half of 2023 from an initial November 2022 release, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. In fact, there’s a number of reasons to suggest the game could get pushed back later into the year.
First off, let’s talk about Bethesda Game Studios’ track record with major RPG new releases. Skyrim, Fallout 4, Fallout 76, and plenty of others have suffered from major performance issues, bugs, or glitches that have severely hindered its reception with critics and players alike. Some will argue that a little bit of Bethesda jank is part of what makes these games what they are, but following the Cyberpunk debacle of 2020, it’s unlikely the developer/ publisher will want to test its luck with players by releasing something less-than-stellar.
Tied into this, but also more significantly, is that Starfield is running on an entirely new game engine from the one that Skyrim and Fallout 4 were running on. Don’t get us wrong, Bethesda RPGs were long overdue for an engine upgrade, given the Creation Engine was showing its age graphically. However, with Starfield being the imaginatively-named Creation Engine 2’s first outing, it’s likely there might be a few rough edges Bethesda will want to buff out before it rolls this mammoth sci-fi RPG out to the masses.
Finally, with this now likely to be one of Microsoft’s big Xbox console exclusives for 2023, the publisher will want to ensure Starfield delivers on expectations and (hopefully) then some. If another delay into that ‘peak period’ of October/ November 2023 is what that takes, there’s little doubt that’s what Microsoft will do.
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