Skip to main content

Game delays are the new day one patch

Cyberpunk 2077 is delayed. So is Watch Dogs: Legion, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Marvel’s Avengers, and Doom Eternal.

Cyberpunk 2077 developer and publisher CD Projekt Red announced on January 6 that it will move the game’s launch from April to September 2020. It’s never fun for players to hear a game is delayed, especially when years have passed since the game’s first teaser trailer.

Yet delays can be a good thing. They show developers realize when a release needs more time and, rather than rushing it along and patching it later, they’re taking it seriously.

Cyberpunk 2077 review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

CD Projekt Red expressed that sentiment in its announcement, saying, “We are currently at a stage where the game is complete and playable, but there’s still work to be done.” That statement, from co-founder Marcin Iwiński and head of studio Adam Badowski, made clear the extra time would be used for “playtesting, fixing and polishing.”

In the end, gamers are likely to have a better experience — even if that means waiting longer. Rushed projects are also more prone to developer crunch, which entails long hours and poor working conditions for the people who make games.

However, while pushing a game’s release date doesn’t mean crunch won’t happen, straining for an unfeasible timeline certainly isn’t a solution either. In fact, CD Projekt Red co-CEO Adam Kicinski said in a Q&A this week that he expects the team will work extra hours as production enters its final stages. Though not unexpected, it’s disappointing.

Delays are becoming a more popular option than half-baked releases with day one patches. After all, nothing kills anticipation like ripping off the plastic of a new game only watch a progress bar on the television and waiting to play a game as intended — or at least closer to the way it was intended. Pushing a game out too quickly turns players into playtesters, who can find game-busting bugs and issues before they’re patched.

As fans commiserate the extra wait, they should be able to find solace once a genuinely complete and well-crafted game is out. Especially when it comes to a high concept undertaking, like Cyberpunk 2077 hopes to be. Execution is everything. Fans will be critical of every detail, which CD Projekt Red knows well. The Witcher 3, despite its popularity, saw a backlash because the game’s graphics (though gorgeous) didn’t always live up to early trailers.

The emotional response to news Cyberpunk 2077’s delay is proof gamers have high expectations. Come September, we’ll get to see if the wait was worth it.

Updated on January 17, 2020: Added information on work hour expectations post delay.

Editors' Recommendations

Lisa Marie Segarra
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lisa Marie Segarra is the Gaming Section at Digital Trends. She's previously covered tech and gaming at Fortune Magazine and…
Try one of gaming’s best trilogies before it leaves Xbox Game Pass next week
Hitman 3 Dubai level.

Xbox Game Pass might not be losing a lot of games at the end of January, but the most significant loss is a big one. On January 31, the subscription service is losing Hitman: World of Assassination, which is one of the best stealth gaming experiences out there. Technically, it is a collection of three games’ worth of content, plus an excellent roguelike mode.

Few games can make you feel as clever or as idiotic as IO Interactive’s Hitman games, so World of Assassination is a must-play if you enjoy stealth gameplay and want to see those mechanics explored to their fullest. While the base games are short enough to blaze through in a few sittings, there's way more content here than you could reasonably get through in a week. You better get cracking if you want to try it without paying for the full package.

Read more
You need to try this new, adrenaline-fueled Xbox Game Pass highlight
A ball zips up a ramp in Go Mecha Ball.

It's going to be a busy year for Xbox Game Pass subscribers. The subscription service is expected to get an influx of high-profile games in 2024. Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 and Avowed are leading the charge, and there's a good chance that we'll see a lot of Activision Blizzard games on the service soon. What's always more exciting to me, though, are the games I've never heard of. Some of my favorite Game Pass titles over the year have been left-field indies that I learned about the very day they launched. Call them pleasant surprises.

Xbox Game Pass is already getting one of those games this week. Go Mecha Ball is a new roguelike, twin-stick shooter hybrid that launches on January 25 for both PC and Xbox Game Pass. It's a wildly creative little action game that makes it the kind of Game Pass curiosity that keeps me subscribed to the service.

Read more
Steam has a new hit game, and it’s Pokémon with guns
A giant pal uses a minigun in Palworld.

Steam's latest viral hit is Pocketpair's Palworld, a game that the internet has deemed Pokémon with guns.

Palworld is an open-world survival crafting game that layers a "Pal" creature collecting system clearly influenced by Pokémon on top of all that. It launched into early access on PC and Xbox Game Preview on Xbox Series X/S today, and it's clearly already a massive hit on Valve's PC storefront and launcher.

Read more