2020 has already seen the announcement of 8 major AAA video game delays. From Final Fantasy VII and Cyberpunk 2077, to not 1 but 3 Ubisoft titles, it’s no secret that this decade isn’t off to the best start when it comes to video games.
These video game delays aren’t much fun for anybody. They can create tension between fan-bases and developers as well as costing publishers money and resources. However, they are often vital to the development of a game and can greatly impact the polish of the final product. Nobody’s first port of call is to delay the release of their game, so when it does happen, we have to believe the developers have a good reason for it.
Initially, the slew of video game delays caused me a lot of frustration. ‘I have to wait until September to play Cyberpunk!? You expect me to wait patiently until the release of The Last of Us 2!?’ Yet, as I thought about it, I came to a realisation. These delays shouldn’t be viewed as a disappointing start to this year, but as a celebration of the past decade of gaming. The next few months should be seen as a gift, as a weapon. A chance for every gamer to slay their ever-growing demon – their backlog.
Leaving education and having a full-time job and commitments have forced me to come to terms with the harsh realisation that (like I’m sure many a gamer that came before me), I have nowhere near as much time to play video games. Every month the list of games that passes me by lengthens keeps growing. I continue to tell myself the age-old lie, ‘I’ll get ‘round to that’. My shamefully large Steam library calls out to me like a rain-sodden teen pining for the affections of their crush, as I proceed to boot up Destiny 2 for the 5th time that week.
In 2019 I bought at least 20 games that were either new releases or new to me.
Out of those 20 plus games, I completed 11 of them. This shocking completion rate
wasn’t even down to the fact that I didn’t enjoy the games (I put at least 25 hours into
Death Stranding and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, respectively, and loved every minute). It
was always a small distraction. I might leave a game for a few days to play something
else, only to have forgotten the controls upon returning. Or I would really be connecting with the story of a game, but then a new event would pop up in Destiny 2 which would suck me back in for a couple of weeks (I think I need to assess my relationship with that game).
I have followed this same pattern ever since I picked up my first controller (my
grandmother had a PlayStation 1). Only recently, have I realised that in an effort to play every new release, I have not been fully experiencing any of them. Rushing through games and experiences that demand time and attention in fear of not ‘being there’ when the next big game hits became a habit. Of course I have played and completed a lot of the major releases, but for every AAA game I complete there are at least 2 or 3 hidden gems; the ‘I’ll get ‘round to that’s which I never give a fair shake.
On New Year’s Eve last year I made myself a list. A list of goals, aspirations and milestones I want to hit over the next year. Some are big, some are small, all are important to me. One of these goals reads as follows – ‘For every 1 game I buy, I must complete 2 which I already own’. Since the start of this year, I have already completed Control, dived back into Deep Rock Galactic, set sail with a couple of good friends in Sea of Thieves and am close to rolling credits on A Plague Tale: Innocence. I have felt more joy and emotion when playing these games than all but a handful of others I have played over the past 15 years. For the first time, I am not feeling pressured to complete a video game before the next one comes along.
The beauty of games, like all art, is that they are subjective. Different games peak
different people’s interests. With this in mind, thanks in part to all of the video game delays, there are no big titles that I feel I need to play over the next couple of months. I’m not saying there aren’t any games releasing in the early months of this year. There are 5 very solid looking games, all releasing soon. They just aren’t the AAA releases that I can’t wait to play. This leaves me in a rare pocket of calm amongst the vicious, unrelenting ocean of game releases.
During my tenure in these calm waters, I intend to keep chipping away at my
backlog. Diving into some of the games that I’ve always wanted to play, but never gotten
around to. Narrative driven story games like Kentucky Route Zero? Check. Finally seeing
Sam Porter Bridges across the US in Death Stranding. Why not? Solving the mystery aboard the Obra Dinn? I can give it a go!
Enjoying the Wait
Doom Eternal’s release on March 20th, to me, marks the start of what is set to be a year of killer video games. These games are to be the final few of this generation, the summation of everything the past 7 years has taught developers. The bevy of recent video game delays means that for the first time in a while the majority of gamers have time on their side and even when the big-hitting AAA games start releasing, we now have the breathing room to fully experience and enjoy what each one has to offer.
So, if the next couple of months leave you in the same camp I was in; no upcoming releases are catching your eye and you don’t know what to play. I implore you to boot up Steam or walk over to your TV unit and dust off a game you never got around to completing. Give it another chance. I hope that what you find will be a surprisingly refreshing new experience, or shine new light on a game you may not have given a fair shot to before. Or you could always load up a strike in Destiny 2 to be rewarded with ‘2 tokens and a blue’… On that note, I’ve just had an invite to grind out some Gambit… I’ll be seeing you, Guardian.