The newest delay for Cyberpunk 2077 has been met with howls of derision and disappointment. The furore caused by the game’s latest setback has brought back painful memories of big titles that suffered similar fates. We’re going to reveal some of the biggest titles that also suffered various delays and postponements.
A game being delayed is nothing as this practice has been around for some time. It’s understandable too as the developmental cycle of something can drastically change in a heartbeat. Uncontrollable, extraneous variables can lead to a change in voice actors, reductions in quality, or even thematic changes.
In the wake of Cyberpunk 2077’s latest delay, we thought we’d revisit some classic games that have suffered from them too. Delays are usually to the benefit of the game and have led to the creation of some truly great titles. That is not always the case though, and we’ll discuss that with certain items on this list.
So here are some of the most delayed titles ever and the hell they went through to be released.
The first example is also sadly the most relevant.
Now don’t get us wrong, Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most hotly-anticipated games of the eighth-generation of gaming. The gameplay, the story, the setting, it just seems to possess all the traits required to be a timeless classic.
Whilst it was in 2012 that the game was originally announced, CD Projekt Red didn’t start work on it until they had finished the final piece of DLC for The Witcher 3 in 2016. Since then, a huge amount of gameplay footage, teasers, and screenshots have been shown-off.
April 16, 2020, was the first release date it received. The title was then delayed till September 17, then a third delay moved it back to November 19. But the game went gold and devs declared the game ready to go… Until the fourth occurred.
It is now scheduled for December 10, and the world probably isn’t holding its breath.
Whilst there’s plenty of love for L.A Noire, it sometimes gets lost in the conversation when GTA and Red Dead are around. But it very nearly wasn’t around at all.
Now, it was made by Team Bondi, not Rockstar, but Rockstar had a huge hand in getting the game made. Originally announced in 2004, the game demanded a considerable amount of investment due to its groundbreaking facial technology. An open-world, film-esque voice acting, and acting led to many years of delays until its eventual release in 2011.
Whilst the title was bolstered by its great sales and reviews, it sadly became public knowledge that Team Bondi had completely overworked their staff. This led to separation from Rockstar, and Team Bondi folded.
The first two DOOM titles are synonymous with the FPS genre and really helped to popularize it. However, DOOM 3 took the series in a survival-horror direction in 2004 and the game lost a hint of its identity. This was even more apparent when DOOM 4 began production in 2007.
Developer/Director of the games – John Carmack – had hinted that the title would return to its roots in an interview. He said:
“It’s not that you’re running around frightened down to your last bullet, there will occasionally be that, but it should be much more of you winning because that was always the point in Doom – you are the hero, and you are winning. ”
However, the game’s process became geared towards following modern trends such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and an over-reliance on set-pieces. It became stuck in development hell and was rebooted. The final game was eventually released nine years later in 2016 to great fanfare and adulation.
Resident Evil 4
After starting out as a true horror game with Resident Evil 1, the tonal shift over the next two games was evident. As was the ever-increasing zombie death toll in each game. 4 was always regarded as the game that kickstarted the shift towards killing over puzzling. But the seeds had already been planted with its second and third iterations.
After announcing the game in 1999, the initial development was deemed to be too extreme, and Producer – Shinji Mikami – convinced some of Capcom to make a new game, that became the Devil May Cry franchise.
Whereas Resident Evil went through multiple phases of development before settling on the third-person Survival-Horror epic that was 4, in 2005.
The Last Guardian
It seemed likely that Trico would never see the light of day. The legendary Team ICO was the brains behind ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. Two games that really defied the norm and became cult classics. The team then set about formulating their next inventive creation. They began working on The Last Guardian in 2007 with high hopes that it would be a major title for the PS3.
The game was finally shown off at E3 2009 and the hype train had whisked off on its journey. Team ICO’s vision was proving to be too grandiose though as the title’s vision exceeded the capabilities of the PS3. Even with outsourcing to other high-profile developers, they failed to improve its performance.
After years of limbo and uncertainty, The Last Guardian remerged at E3 2015 and finally saw the light of day in 2016. Ultimately, it was a good game that’s concept was better on paper. The erratic nature of Trico and other problems prevented it from living up to its lofty expectations.
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
The follow-up to Starcraft – considered to possibly the greatest strategy game ever – was a pressured one.
Blizzard was under a great deal of stress to make the perfect sequel – starting in 2003. The game’s early work was hampered by the dev’s decision to use lots of its team to work on World of Warcraft. With a depleted workforce, it was hard for any real progress to be made on Starcraft II. Five years later and the game was only a third complete.
After working hard to upgrade the title’s online capabilities and network functionality, II released seven years later in 2010 to a great reception.
Team Fortress 2
As no news exists on the now fabled Half-Life 3, we turn our attention to another Valve delay story. 1998 was an exciting year for the company. They released their first game with the sensational Half-Life. They also hired Robin Walker and John Cook, makers of Team Fortress, to make a full sequel.
The first game was only a mod based on Quake’s engine. The original concept and design were centered on real-combat and serious, military aesthetic. After various engine changes, staff changes, and a complete revamp, Team Fortress 2 resurfaced in 2006 – albeit very differently.
Sporting a cartoonish look, the title had retained its core principles and eventually debuted in 2007.
Another game that had a stern reputation to uphold based on its previous work. Diablo I and II had been big successes for Blizzard. Just like with StarCraft, they wanted to make sure they got III perfect.
Beginning the game’s development in 2001, the team had already suffered lots of problems in trying to make II live up to its predecessor. These problems were exacerbated by the third incarnation of Diablo.
The game underwent multiple revisions in order to meet Blizzard’s exceptionally high standards. Despite missing its initial beta testing, III was eventually released in mid-2012.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
The only thing scarier than the Xenomorphs was the game itself. A new Aliens game entered into production in early 2007. With SEGA having acquired the license, they wanted to make a new, scary Aliens title. Gearbox initially started work on it, but shifted its focus towards the Borderlands franchise. This left the game to be outsourced to TimeGate Studios.
Many disagreements ensued about the quality and the direction it should be heading in. After SEGA set a strict deadline – with no further extensions – the game was rushed out in early 2013.
It inevitably received poor reviews and was considered to be unfinished and sloppy.
Duke Nukem Forever
The quintessential inclusion on this list, and probably the most famous example. 1997 was the year that Duke Nukem Forever’s existence was confirmed to the public. 2011 was the year people got their hands on this desperately disappointing release.
It nearly skipped two generations of consoles, it was churned through lawsuits, and even swapped developers. But it eventually released, and it was clearly a game that had been through 15 years of hell. It was ridden with out-of-date satire, dated controls, and was crude in all the wrong ways.
Many fans still purchased it out of loyalty, but only out of loyalty. It bombed critically and commercially, and there’s been no mention of the series having a future.