Worst Video Game Delays | GameSided Roundtable

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Greetings! This is our weekly GameSided Roundtable feature, where our writers converge to provide their opinions, wishes, statements or critical thought on one general topic centered around video games. Sometimes it can be funny, sometimes it can be serious. Contemporary, classic; we hope to cover a wide variety of things in this segment as a group. If you wish to submit an idea for a GameSided Roundtable discussion topic, you can leave the editor an email at: daniel.george@fansided.com. We’ll totally give you (and your Twitter account, if applicable) a shoutout!

This week’s GameSided Roundtable topic: What, personally, was one of the worse video game delays?”

Mytheos Holt (Twitter)

While I’m sure other people are going to cite Duke Nukem Forever (and frankly, they should — its entire production schedule is an abomination), I actually think the fact that it eventually got released, albeit as a terrible game, is proof positive that it’s not the most scandalous example of video game delays. In fact, that honor belongs to another Duke Nukem game, which is still being delayed, not due to incompetence on the part of the developers, but due to the fact that they apparently can’t release it and make money without Gearbox Software taking them to court.

The game in question? “Duke Nukem Reloaded,” a complete remaster of the original “Duke Nukem 3D” with modern graphics that was in production by the same team that released the recent remastering of “Rise of the Triad.” And like “Triad,” “Reloaded” was set to be released a few years back with all the hallmarks of an old title being excavated, dusted off and turned into a modern classic. So what went wrong? Well, I’ll let the head of the studio that made it explain:

"No sooner said than done. So Frederik signed a contract with Gearbox and began to assemble a team of talented people around him. And in August 2011, he went so to the US to show Gearbox what he and the team had managed to conjure up for the game, which had the working title Duke Nukem: Reloaded . The meeting took place just one month after Gearbox had published Duke Nukem: Forever , which was received with mildly lukewarm reviews. And it turned out to cause problems for Interceptors Duke Nukem project. “The problem lay in Reloaded was both a nicer and better games on its then stage than Forever was, “explains Frederik Schreiber. “So they could under no circumstances let us publish it, show it or do anything with it because it would destroy the opportunities they had back in Forever . “The result was that the interceptor had to put the project on the shelf since Gearbox not longer interested in getting it on the street."

Now, as someone who adored Duke Nukem as a young preteen and was introduced to the shooter genre by it, I regard this kind of anticompetitive behavior as a frank atrocity, and so should any gamer interested in quality games. Hence why I bring it up here. It’s been four years since the game was cancelled — though Gearbox has disingenuously denied their intention to cause this — and if anyone out there wants to raise a stink, I have precisely zero objections to them doing so. It would be well-deserved, and would help clamp down on at least one area where a competitive in game production is sorely needed.

Jason Prott (Twitter)

As much as the ESRB disapproved, I cut my teeth on Driver and Driver 2 for the original PlayStation. A couple years after the debut of the PS2 it was announced the classic series would return with Driver 3. Luckily for me around that time I had finally saved up enough money to buy a PS2, and come release day my mom drove me to Blockbuster to rent the game (believe it or not, people used to do that).

I was unable to find the game on the shelf, so we asked the clerk where it was. He informed us it had been delayed a year— my 11-year-old heart was shattered, I cried in the minivan on the way home.

When it was finally released in 2004 we were graced with a poor-man’s GTA 3 and it was met with lukewarm reception. Just another example of Atari’s fall from glory, and eventual bankruptcy. But they got what they deserved. Atari made me cry.

Daniel George (Twitter)

When considering what factors make certain video game delays worse than others, I like to take into consideration how certain development and publishing practices fall in and out of focus over the duration of development. It’s what led to my belief that a long, delayed production cycle of Diablo III ultimately killed any hope I had left in the series.

Keep in mind, Diablo III started development in 2001, the same year in which the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion. It was only announced in June 2008, in which it was revealed that the game itself had gone under three different iterations in its development. One of said versions was crafted by Blizzard North, the developers behind the previous Diablo entries. However, Blizzard Entertainment owners Vivendi weren’t happy with the progress being made, which led to complications that ulitmately resulted in Blizzard North shutting down completely.

As Diablo III encountered more delays, the further it strayed away from the late-90’s, early 2000’s era of excellent computer RPG’s, which focused on hardcore, in-depth systems and mechanics. As such, Diablo III ultimately streamlined most of its core ideals, including the inventory, stats, skills, abilities and character development systems that made it so special. Long were the days where Diablo play meant constant equipment optimization, where pros and cons of resistance, skill improvement, damage and defensive requirements were weighed meticulously.

Instead, what was left was item prioritization based off of one or two stats, upgrading weapons and armor due to a limited segment of requirements, a gross monetization scheme through an in-game Auction House where Blizzard profits off of trading game items for money and a host of other issues. The market for hardcore games to be as popular as Diablo II was had come and gone. Had Diablo III come out even half a decade earlier, I feel it wouldn’t have been as watered down an experience as it is today.

Next: Tombs, Lawsuits & One Of The Worst Sports Games Ever