The world is a different place after the events of the last 18 months and the games industry is one of those affected the most. The switch to working from home for many was a positive but the pressures of the job made things harder in the long run.
We've seen an incredible number of game delays in 2021 but the response isn't what it once was. Let's take a look at some of the delays that have happened this year so far, and why the community response might have shifted recently.
Game Delays in 2021
First off, let's take a look at some of the high profile games to be delayed in 2021. This could be a delay of as little as a few weeks or completely moving into a new calendar year.
- Hogwarts Legacy - From 2021 to 2022
- Riders Republic - From Feb 2021 to Sept 2021, then a further delay of 2 months.
- God of War: Ragnarok - Pushed to 2022
- Back 4 Blood - From June 2021 to October 2021
- Gotham Knights - From 2021 to 2022
- Ghostwire: Tokyo - From October 2021 to 2022
- Rainbow Six: Extraction - From 2021 to early 2022
- Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 - From 2021 to unannounced
These are just some of the game delays in 2021 and there are many more that we could list. Delays haven't come from just big ambitious titles, even smaller indie games have suffered leading to dates being moved.
The Covid-19 pandemic will because number one for many of these delays due to the knock-on effect it has on the modern way of working. The response, however, has been very different to these delays in comparison to those in years gone by.
From Backlash to Support: The Change in Community Response
Once upon a time if you announced a game delay, fans were on you in an instant to find out why. Social media would be flooded with armchair developers talking about how easy it is to get a game out on time so why couldn't 'X' get the job done.
That reaction started to soften at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 but full-on switched as we entered 2021. The answer is simple, Cyberpunk 2077 happened.
Following the story of Cyberpunk 2077's development, small you'd be forgiven for thinking that the final product would be a slam dunk 10/10 game. Multiple delays were met with frustration and demands for more clarity and transparency around the game delays.
Statements were made each time and CD Project Red would go back to the grindstone to get things finished. Come Cyberpunk's eventual release in December 2020, it was an unmitigated disaster.
The PC version of the game was the least disastrous which isn't saying much and it was completely removed from the PlayStation store because of its issues. Xbox offered no-quibble refunds on the game.
Stories then flooded out about the mistreatment of the developers because of unrealistic promises made by higher-ups at the developer. Public opinion changed immediately. Suddenly there was empathy for those boots on the ground workers who tried everything humanly possible to create a product people could enjoy but were met with stubbornness from above.
There is almost always way more to the story when it comes to game delays and it takes brave individuals speaking out to try and put a stop to this. The public has started to take this into account and concern about the wellbeing of developers is finally being taken seriously.
It's now so noticeable not only in the community response but in the response of influencers and public figures who come forward with support for a studio when game delays are announced.
Hopefully, even when the world returns to some form of normality, this kind of community response continues because the health and wellbeing of game developers should always come first. No game is worth such a sacrifice.