As Tom Petty once said, “the waiting is the hardest part.”
So, while I have been micromanaging vast armies across Europe in Paradox’s sublime Hearts of Iron IV, there has been a not-a-small kerfuffle over this week’s long-awaited releases of Final Fantasy XV and Sony Interactive Entertainment’s The Last Guardian, following on from 2005 classic Shadow of the Colossus.
Wait a minute.
Final Fantasy XV has been in a developmental hurricane since 2006, starting first as a Playstation 3 exclusive add-on game, and then being rebranded in 2011 as the next main instalment to the behemoth of a series.
Likewise, The Last Guardian was originally planned for release in 2011, though following transitional hardware difficulties in 2012, it was re-developed as a Playstation 4 release.
Fret no longer, because both are now actually here. But why, after a decade, is the hype still so massive?
When you’re talking about two of the most iconic titles of all time, I can understand a degree of excitement, and that a ten year wait only serves to build up this tension into utter frenzy when the games eventually decide to drop. But surely, before ten years has passed, those awaiting the arrival of these titles should have resolved themselves to almost-ambivalence; that is to say, a “meh, I’ll play them when they get here I guess” attitude?
I suppose that for me, I just don’t get this kind of delayed hype. The longest I have ever truly waited for a video game was for the original Red Dead Redemption, where I think I waited two years from the first announcements and then waited to pick up my copy on release day – in short, I have never had to wait this long for a game.
I almost get where these fans are coming from in regards to the release of The Force Awakens in December of last year. I am a huge fan of Star Wars, and the decade-long pause between Revenge of the Sith and December’s cataclysmic cinema-release of the latest film is comparable to that of this week’s gaming releases. I had long-ago retired to the laissez-faire approach of “it’ll happen when it happens” which meant that I was excited in the months leading up to TFA’s release, but not a moment before.
Yet here lies the difference: Star Wars was announced just two years before it dropped. Before then, it was all mere speculation and that was fine – let the fan boys bring their “Ackchually, mate…” theories and the rest of us will carry on as normal. But these game developers consistently announce a title at the first sniff of working code and perhaps this needs to be looked into and potentially stopped.
Of course, developers owe us an insight into their projects and what the future holds for them, and consequently, us as the consumer. Yet dropping a title before there is any idea of when it will be released or without accounting for, for example, new hardware, is surely mismanaging the situation? Announcing and then delaying, announcing and then delaying could be seen as negligence to their fan base in other industries – in album releases, for example.
Ultimately, this doesn’t hugely affect me – I was not hyped for either of these games and so maybe I just can’t empathise. But if this phenomenon were to occur with one of my favourite titles (I don’t know, maybe the next Hearts of Iron game or if a new Witcher title were to be announced in the distant future), I’m pretty sure I’d get bored after a couple years. For me, this already happened with Ubisoft’s The Division.
I just feel sorry for those that have waited so long and now, maybe the hype as meant anything that is released just won’t live up to that decade long suspense of what the game might be. Maybe it isn’t my place to say, so I’ll just speculate.
What do you folks think? When does a game delay become too long for you, and why? Have these long-awaited releases lived up to such hype, or not? Are there any other games that you’d wait a whole decade for? Let us know below!