Video games are difficult to make and require a whole team of experienced professionals to develop one: game designers, scriptwriters, artists, programmers, producers, and testers. The problem is not only making a game possible, from following budgets and schedules to being able to create the fictional world proposed by the scriptwriter and game designer; the game design team also needs to create a game that will draw audiences and be a commercial success, and, if possible, to innovate and come up with new way to play video games. So it’s no wonder that many games were delayed for a long time and appeared years after they were first announced. Some of these games became successful, while others failed. Here are some of the best-known delayed video games:
1. Halo: Combat Evolved
This game’s development began in mid ‘90s, but Combat Evolved was eventually released in 2001. The reason for the delay was that the game was meant to be launched on Mac and PC simultaneously, which didn’t happen. Instead, it was only launched on PC and it also evolved from a real-time strategy game into a first person shooter. The wait was worth – Halo sold one million units in less than five months after its release. Furthermore, the large majority of critics praised it for its quality and considered it “the most important launch game for any console, ever.”
2. Super Mario Sunshine
In the late ‘90s, developers started to work on this game, and eventually managed to finish it in 2002. It is the sixth instalment in the Super Mario series, after Super Mario 64 in 1996. The game performed well financially, as it sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide and it was released again in 2003 in a selection of games with high sales, called The Player’s Choice. Critics like those from GamePro called Super Mario Sunshine “a masterpiece of superior game design, infinite gameplay variety, creativity, and life.”
3. Perfect Dark Zero
Not all delayed games were successful in the end. For Perfect Dark Zero, development began in 2000, but the game was released in 2005. Perfect Dark Zero was considered a disappointment compared to the N64 original. Weaknesses included the overly shiny visuals, the poor storyline for the single player component, and the annoying controls. Disappointed publications like GameCritics stated: “It took Rare a whole console generation to do it … and the wait wasn’t really worth it”. In 2010, the game was listed on the 6th position in GameTrailer’s list of “Top 10 Disappointments of the Decade”.
4. Half-Life 2
It’s no wonder this game was delayed, since its developer, Valve, is known for launching games later than expected. Developing Half-Life 2 took approximately 5 years, and the title is considered one of the best ever produced. The game was launched 1 year after its initially scheduled launch date, in November 2004, and is now considered a masterpiece. The long development time probably made it possible for assets like the advanced graphics and physics and the captivating story. Maximum PC even called Half-Life 2 “the best game ever made”.
Again, a game that turned bad – the 2008 Spore had been announced more seven years before and even missed its 2007 release. Obviously, people had high expectations from this RTS god game developed by Maxis, but were disappointed by its superficial gameplay and the controversy related to the game’s digital rights management software, which made users’ computers vulnerable to security risks. However, gamers and critics also found some good points about Spore, such as its fascinating universe and the possibility to control the development of characters and to produce content for the game. The game’s developers defended their creation by saying they wanted to make a game for casual players, and considered this game has more depth than some successful titles like The Sims.
6. Too Human
Too Human is probably one of the most delayed titles in video game history. The RPG was announced in 1999, but it only emerged in 2008. Gamers probably became bored about the story of Too Human being launched soon, so when the game finally hit the shelves, it was treated with indifference. Too Human is based on the Norse mythology and features a version of Norse gods who are cybernetically enhanced humans, responsible for defending mankind from Loki’s army of machines. The player is given the role of the Baldur god, which is less cybernetic than the other deities and thus seen as “too human”. But why didn’t gamers like Too Human? Weaknesses included the predictable art design, the unusual use of right analog stick for combat, the short length for its genre, and the lack of the four multiplayer mode initially considered by developers.
Have you ever been disappointed by a video game you had been expecting for a long time? Or was it worth the wait? What other titles do you have in mind for this list?