As we venture further into 2021, the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the gaming industry is starting to become clear. Although Twitch Streamers are using this to their advantage, and there are more people playing games than ever before, the Game Development is suffering. Following the disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077, we're here talking about yet-another delay and asking the question: Was this inevitable?
The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum Pushed Back
The upcoming Middle Earth adventure has been pushed back near-indefinitely by newly-announced co-publishers NACON and Daedalic Entertainment.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was originally slated for a "late 2021" launch but has now been delayed until an unspecified date in 2022.
Set in Tolkien's Middle Earth, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a narrative-driven action adventure title that follows Gollum's pursuit of The One Ring.
Gollum is skillful and sly, but also torn by his split personality. It is up to you to decide whether the darker side of Gollum takes over or if there is a spark of reason left in what once was Sméagol.
This title was a welcome announcement from fans as it promises to offer a unique look at Tokien's world, moving away from the influence of Peter Jackson's film trilogy.
NACON and Daedalic to Co-Publish Gollum
Alongside the announcement detailing the delayed release date, a joint publishing venture was announced by NACON and Daedalic Entertainment.
"The two companies decided to join forces to ensure that the game will meet the expectations of fans of The Lord of the Rings and fully leverage the power of the new generation of consoles..."
The press release continues to state that Middle-earth Enterprises, the company that holds the adaptation rights to Tolkien's work, have given their full support.
As a publisher, NACON are behind a number of substantial recent releases.
Aside from the Tennis World Tour and WRC franchises, NACON also published Warhammer: Chaosbane in 2019 and the upcoming Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood.
Daedalic Entertainment, however, are known for developing smaller-scale titles such as State of Mind and The Long Journey Home.
As a publisher, they worked with ONE-O-ONE GAMES on The Suicide of Rachel Foster and Win on Partisans 1941 in 2020.
Both companies have a fantastic array of titles under their belts, but does this mean they're ready for the expectations that come alongside a title based on such a revered IP?
With this delay in mind it appears that both companies, and Middle-earth Enterprises, are wary of releasing an underwhelming or incomplete title.
Was Cyberpunk A Warning Sign?
Cyberpunk 2077 was slated to be one of the largest video game launches of all time.
With Hollywood star Keanu Reeves attached, and several years of hype built up, it lived up to this.
Despite performance problems and refunds issued, Cyberpunk 2077 is the largest digital launch of all time based on Units Sold and Revenue.
However, as we all know, this was at a drastic cost to CDPR's reputation.
Cyberpunk 2077 launched with game-breaking bugs, graphical issues, and numerous errors. Many of which still persist after several updates.
With The Lord of the Rings: Gollum just one of several titles that have been pushed back in the wake of Cyberpunk's launch, it appears as if studios are using this as a learning experience.
Across the board, Cyberpunk is being exemplified as everything wrong with the marketing of upcoming games. The phrase "too big to fail" is being used a lot.
CDPR had the success of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt behind them and enough big promises to win anyone over.
However, CDPR co-founder Marcin Iwiński's apology suggested that insufficient testing on current-generation consoles was the reason behind the failings of Cyberpunk 2077.
READ MORE: Cyberpunk 1.1 Update Details
This is a hotly debated topic, but still paints an obvious picture whichever side of the argument you are on: Cyberpunk 2077 was rushed in fear of delay backlash.
Although we don't know a lot about the internal development progress of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, it's safe to say that Cyberpunk's launch isn't being ignored.
NACOM and Daedalic Entertainment might not have the same pressures on them as CDPR, but it seems they are certain not to make the same mistakes.
Not Every Game Is Being Delayed
All of the above isn't to say that every upcoming release is getting a delay.
Bloober Team's The Medium is due to launch Jan 28, 2021 and recently, WB Games confirmed that Gotham Knights is still on course for a 2021 launch.
In addition to this, we were recently told that Resident Evil 8 Village is due to launch on May 7. This was announced alongside the release of a PlayStation-exclusive demo.
Considering this, the real question that needs to be asked are about whether developers getting the support they need to adequately work from home.
An estimated 1/3 of developers suggested that their game delays were a result of the impact of Covid-19 and remote working, when surveyed by the Game Developers Conference.
Evidently, it is easier to work in-office on game development. However that doesn't mean it is impossible to do so from home, as the upcoming slate of new releases shows.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum has been pushed back to 2022 without any specific release date information.