The recent delay of Ubisoft’s game Watch Dogs to Spring 2014 has reminded me of how impatient gamers can be. I’ve seen people outraged by the delay as if it were canceled. Yesterday @RealGoesRight, for all intents and purposes, called the delay before it even happened, noting that the lack of hands-on previews was a red flag for the game. That’s very true, but it’s also the main reason why I believe delays are usually a positive thing. Unless, of course, a game just gets flat-out canceled. Yes, the anticipation of a potentially great game can be painful, but if the developers care enough to make sure everything is polished I see nothing wrong with taking that time.
One game I believe could have benefited greatly from a delay is Id Software’s Rage. Mechanically, it was a great game. The gameplay was fluid and the controls were solid, but the story felt….unfinished. The game literally just stops after you kill the last enemy, and you get a cutscene that doesn’t wrap the game up or give your actions any weight. The story killed what was otherwise a very good shooter and given more time, I believe it could have been done much better.
Delays can allow developers to refine a game and ensure the experience is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. With Ubisoft’s track record in recent years, I have no reason to believe this delay won’t make Watch Dogs a much better game. Delays can be a pain, but we can all agree that waiting longer for the game we want is better than being disappointed on time. Let’s all hope Ubisoft gets this one right.