Most of us are accustomed to publishers promising a release date that developers can’t always meet. In some cases, this doesn’t have too much of an impact on how a game turns out. In other cases, rushing to meet promised release dates results in games riddled with bugs and lacking promised features. For the most part, gamers overlook a few missing features if the overall core is functional and interesting. Some of the more crafty developers then deliver the previously promised features as downloadable content.
So the question is, how much better would the average game be if developers weren’t rushing to meet deadlines?
The answer is this:
Skyrim is a spectacular game, but since purchasing it I’ve turned to mods (I have the PC version) to improve features that I – and many others – feel should have been in the game at release. Some of these mods allow small changes to the user interface, more intelligent A.I., and the option of tougher enemies.
The problem arises when stockholders, typically represented by publishers, and developers butt heads. The people spending money want to make it back ASAP, and so a great deal of pressure is placed on game developers to make the product available in the shortest period possible.
There are, thankfully, exceptions to this rule and Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter revolution is a prime example. Tim and his team have been wanting to make a point-and-click adventure game for a long time, but continuously failed to find a publisher. After hearing numerous fans say they would buy the game if Tim could make it, he decided to see if the gaming community really meant what they said.
He created a venue for donations from the community, thus cutting out the middle man and enabling his team to put as much effort and creativity into the game as they want. The fact that Double Fine was able to far exceed their $400,000 goal in less than one day (they’ve raised $1,272,222 at this point), shows that there is some form of hope for the games industry.
Maybe in a couple of years, game developers will be pitching a game to the public and seeing how much backing they get? I’d love to see this take off and wouldn’t be surprised if a few people in the industry haven’t already considered it after Double Fine’s amazing success.
I personally feel that game developers should never be rushed and that they should get the time they need to create a product that is truly spectacular. Blizzard and Valve, both venerated in ways most other developers never will be, have a long standing policy of “it’s finished when it’s finished” and the value of this dedication to quality over delivery date is obvious. (Just as a note, both companies DO put out release dates and then shamelessly break them over and over in the name of creating the best games possible.)
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.
Image Source: Train to game