As 2011 comes to an end, it’s easy to get retrospective. Looking back at the past year in games is an annual pastime of gamers, but it’s also a good time for industry observers like us to play Captain Hindsight, Monday morning quarterback-ing the events of the year and pointing out the errors of developers and publishers. The easiest mistakes to spot come when publishers rush to get their games out before the holiday season - sometimes to the detriment of the game's quality, or sometimes only to see it buried under an avalanche of other, higher-profile releases. Out of all of the games released in the past few months, these five could have benefited the most from a bump out of the holidays into a more open 2012.
Release date: October 25, 2011
Why it should have been delayed: We said on several occasions that Battlefield 3’s multiplayer experience is one of the best of the year – and that’s a year that includes Call of Duty, Gears of War, and plenty of other thrilling multiplayer shooters. We also gave it an 8/10 in our review, declaring that it might be your game of the year, if multiplayer is your focus.
But by going up against Call of Duty, EA and DICE entered into an entirely new battle, and it’s one that they didn’t win. Battlefield 3 gained nothing by going up against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 except for unfair expectations and comparisons. Since EA decided to put them head-to-head, it became a competition – a war. Suddenly, every element of Battlefield had to be better than every element of Call of Duty, and it simply wasn’t. The multiplayer might be, but the single-player campaign was a disappointment, and that was enough for many to write the game off as a failure. It still sold well, but it likely would have sold much better early in 2012, when Call of Duty players would be getting tired of playing Call of Duty, instead of feverishly looking forward to it.
Release date: November 15, 2011
Why it should have been delayed: Two generations ago, Rayman could go toe-to-toe with most other big-name platformers. Now, the Rayman name doesn’t carry the same weight it used to. Ubisoft knew this, that’s why it slowly pried Rayman out of the Raving Rabbids series until he had absolutely nothing to do with it. Despite this, Ubi still thought it was a good idea to launch a 2D platformer for $60 in the middle of November.
Rayman: Origins' release date rubbed up against every big release. It came out a few days after Skyrim, a few days before Call of Duty, and the same day as Assassin’s Creed, which is also published by Ubisoft. We understand that Ubi can’t really be held accountable for other major publishers throwing their games out around the same time it intended to, but it could at least have made sure that it didn’t release two of its biggest games on the same day. That’s just bad business sense. And despite being an absolutely fantastic game, Origins sold dismally, not even scratching the NPD sales list for November. Discounts may have helped it move a few more units (and you should totally buy it, too, as we explained in our 9/10 review), but we’re not going to be happy when Ubisoft says that it has “no plans for future Rayman games due to the sales of Origins,” which is totally something it is going to say.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Release date: November 11, 2011
Why it should have been delayed: Skyrim isn’t on this list for the same reason the other games are. While titles like Battlefield and Goldeneye came out against strong competition in their genres, Skyrim is arguably in a class of its own. But as much as we've loved our time in the game (and gave it a 10/10 in our review), and for as many hours as we plan on putting into it over the next few years, we really wish we didn’t need to qualify every praise with “Sure, it’s buggy, but…”
Let’s face it: many elements of the game were simply unfinished. We’ve covered the debacle over the PlayStation 3 version’s issues ad nauseam, but both the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game were buggy and glitchy as well. For the most par,t the flaws are harmless – NPCs disappearing, physics glitching out, or dragons flying backwards – but they’re still flaws, and when they're accompanied by the occasional crash or reports of bugs that make the game unplayable for some, they become a lot harder to ignore. While there’s no way Bethesda could have completely eradicated all bugs and glitches from the absurdly massive game, it still would have benefited from a few more months of polish.
Lord of the Rings: War in the North
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Why it should have been delayed: War in the North didn’t have any big problems (we gave it a7/10 in our review), just a bunch of small problems that kept it back from being an exceptional game. But even if it had been exceptional, it likely would have been ignored just as readily due to its early November release date – a date that put it right in the center of the year’s biggest releases. Sure, it's not necessarily competing with Call of Duty, but throwing a fantasy game out a few weeks before Skyrim? That's just not right. It’s a cooperative game that’s best played with friends, and if getting three people together is hard when there aren’t many new releases to distract them, getting them together in the middle of the holiday season is even harder.
But there’s another reason War in the North should have been delayed not by a month, but by a year: The Hobbit. Peter Jackson’s two-part adaptation of the Lord of the Rings prequel is coming out in December of 2012, and releasing a good Lord of the Rings game (even though it would take place many years later) could have led to some great cross-promotion opportunities, as well as plot tie-ins that otherwise were completely ignored.
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded
Release date: November 1, 2011
Why it should have been delayed: Well, did you even know it came out? This HD remake of the Wii remake wasn’t bad at all (we scored it a 6/10 in our review), and might have been a good game to play in the earlier parts of 2012, once we’d finished up our backlogs of games from 2011. Instead, Activision released it a few days after Battlefield 3, and a few weeks before Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – which it also published. Usually, publishers do their best to avoid direct competition with games that are guaranteed to sell over 10 million copies, but Activision just sent Bond out to die a lonely death.
There may have been a strategic reason to release it in time for the holiday season – maybe Activision saw this as its chance to get a Teen-rated FPS on shelves for households that weren’t picking up the mature shooters – but we doubt that made much of an impact. Instead, we got a game that was dead on arrival, with servers that were all but barren only weeks after launch as gamers went back to Battlefield or began buying Call of Duty.
I thought this was a pretty interesting article, given there are some pretty popular titles on the list. I have mixed feelings about the author's opinion. To me, Battlefield 3 was an excellent game, despite a campaign that was (to many) mediocre at best. That said, plenty of people found the campaign to be very enjoyable. In that department, sure, I suppose the game could have been pushed back a bit. I also think it's true that Battlefield 3 might have benefited in sales if it hadn't been released fairly close to the release of MW3, but it would have been a very risky move for DICE to delay the game until shortly after the holiday season.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, as much as I hate to say it, should have been delayed. The game breaking glitches that the game shipped with should never have met the light of day. With proper testing, those problems should have been found and addressed before the game released. Bethesda seemed to be really attached to their 11.11.11 release date, though.
As for the others, I haven't played them much. The only I played briefly was Rayman: Origins (the demo) and I actually found it to be pretty fun. I've heard plenty of people say the same is a masterpiece, but even more people who says the game is quite flawed.
What is your guys' take on this opinion piece?
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Opinion: Five holiday releases that should have been delayed to 2012
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I think the writer doesn't understand the business side of the releases.
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I agree when it comes to Skyrim (PS3 version in particular) and BF3, that is what you get when sales are more important then the consumers them self.
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TwentyThree likes this post
If the producures believe in their products they HAVE TO give it a go before holidays like they did this christmas. Its a challange that they must attend to. Altough most of the players got crushed under the lots of possibilities for this holiday. All the discounts and promotions made me by lots of games but i don't have enough time to play all of them..
For example rayman: origins. I love rayman , I can't forget when i was a child fighting with my brother to play this game back in the old days, but now I have bf3, uncharted 3, dark souls, pes 2012 and medievial moves in my hands, I don't have time/money for some titles like AC:R, or rayman....#lovegaming
Stop preordering games! Stop buying day1 games! Stop being idiots!
I think Saints Row The Third should have been on the list. There's way less features than in Saints Row 2. One of the biggest omissions is the ability to return to missions you had already completed.
The only game on the list that I own is Battlefield 3 and it feels complete. I guess the argument could be made that the single player could've used more work but who buys a Battlefield game predominantly for single player anyways?
I agree with the notion of Rayman Origins getting delayed.
It was a lesser-known yet well-crafted title that was released alongside other more popular titles, ironically, one of them being Assassin's Creed: Revelations which is another Ubisoft-owned IP.Thanks to Kwes for the signature!
Can someone tell me what the big issue is with the PS3 version of Skyrim? I've come across this complaint far more than once across the web, but, having spent good hours and currently at level 28 within the game, have experienced nothing that would constitute the sort of animosity I've seen. Is there a certain quest/level where everything suddenly goes to $#@!, because I've had a mostly pleasant experience.
It seems the authors main reasoning for them being delayed is that most of the games cannot compete with Call of duty that game is mentioned in all of the spiels about each game.
BF3 certainly needed to be put back its full of annoying things the most annoying is I keep getting disconnected from servers almost every round I play so I sent email to their support and got a reply that suggests the problem is on my end I got so fed up I have not played it since last year.
Due to the disconnects 50% of my games are classed as "quits"
Last edited by keefy; 01-03-2012 at 08:21.
110 pages long at time of posting
I like playing BF3 but I am not really shocked that it released with problems this game previously had, but on top of that there are more new problems..
-VOIP issue on PS3
-Analog Delay/low response time PS3
-people sticking halfway out of walls when proning.
-random bad luck deaths, I've gotten them in a open field with no trees or anything around.
-Animations glitch on assignment guns when playing on B2K maps.
etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.......
I mean honestly, the list goes on and on and on. Personally I think they completely screwed up the launch. I don't care how successful it is, the lasting result should be how many are actually on the servers after a few months Vs how many actually sold. Should have been released on the day that we get a 2nd patch, that is when it should have been out.
At least PS3 players have VOIP, PC players have to "friend" their squad mates to talk to them usign the batlog website plugin crap its stupid as can be.
Also not putting anyone in a squad automatically is killing the gameplay I have been the only one in a squad on my team which means everytie any of us die we had to start from the bases.
Last edited by keefy; 01-03-2012 at 22:11.
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