So the hot news of the moment, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has been delayed by Naughty Dog. The latest entry in the beloved Uncharted series was supposed to come out at some undisclosed date in 2015 but due to “bigger ambitions” at the development studio, will now be released in Spring of 2016 instead.
In a statement, both Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley said, “Since we showed you our first gameplay reveal of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, more of the game and story have come together, and it’s become clear to us that this game is much more ambitious than we originally envisioned. After spending so many years with Nathan Drake, he means a lot to the team, and telling the climactic chapter of his adventures is a task we don’t take lightly–this game deserves every bit of the attention to detail, precise pacing, and nuanced storytelling Naughty Dog is known for.”
“So we’ve made the difficult choice of pushing the game’s release date. Giving us a few extra months will make certain that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End not only meets the team’s high standards but the high standards that gamers have come to expect from a Naughty Dog title.”
Now this news will probably leave a lot of Uncharted fan’s hearts broken, but it is very much bitter sweet. Remember the last game that got delayed by Naughty Dog? Yes, The Last of Us. We all know how much of a cultural phenomenon that game was. I, myself wanted to play that game so bad, but couldn’t because all I owned at the time was an Xbox 360. It was one of those games that you think to yourself “is it worth buying a £200 piece of hardware just for this game?” In the end I decided against it, but Youtube is a great thing. I watched a let’s play of it and it felt just like a movie, just a great experience to enjoy. That just shows you firstly what this developer is capable of, and secondly why delays are almost never a bad thing.
Let’s look more at how delays affect the games industry as a whole. The glaring example that instantly springs to mind is EA with Battlefield 4. This game was so riddled with glitches and bugs that it took months to fix, and damaged the reputation of the Battlefield brand, as well as continuing to tarnish EA’s name. We also saw this more recently with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The multi-player to this day is still broken and it’s looking like 343 and Microsoft don’t really know how to fix it! We all know developers hate to delay games, but a lot of the time if a delay is on the table, it needs to be considered, otherwise a buggy product and a terrible experience with angry customers is almost a guarantee.
Speaking of which, we’re forgetting one of the most important things about this industry. Gaming fans are loyal, they will wait for the best version of a game no matter how long that takes and give developers time to iron out bugs and perfect their games. When it comes down to it, developers worry about mass opinion but really only a vocal minority of gamers want the game right this second. Most people trust their favourite developers to release a stable and enjoyable product.
Really, the only downside I foresee coming out of this delay is that there will be 1 less game for the PS4 to market itself on for Christmas 2015. Which could possibly lead to a decrease in sales of the Playstation and a possible increase in sales for the Xbox. It could mean that the 2:1 deficit in sales in favour of the Playstation becomes a 3:2 and Xbox becomes a more interesting option.
In conclusion to this, there is rarely a situation where a delay is bad for a game. It gives developers breathing room to craft great experiences and, more importantly, make sure the product they deliver is stable and reliable. Naughty Dog have my full support in deciding to further expand the experience of Uncharted 4 and I’m sure we will be able to see for ourselves how the delay allowed them to improve and polish their game into the best product they know how to make.
Let us know what you think about the delay in the comment section below, is it a good or bad thing?