I had a bit of a crawl through the gaming news this morning and read a few things. When it came down to it, there was only one piece of remarkable news. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which had been rumoured to be releasing in Q3 2006, is now releasing in 2007.
“Following E3, Splash Damage and id spent weeks reviewing the status of Enemy Territory. 2006 has been a great year for us, with incredible response from the press and the community. It’s also been a challenging year, as the team here has given extraordinary effort towards completing the game this year. Unfortunately, sometimes effort isn’t all you need — sometimes you just need more time. To ensure the quality we want, we’ve decided to push the release out of 2006 to allow for extended testing, feedback and game balancing.”
“When in 2007” you ask? Who knows.
As I keep an eye on the New Zealand gaming industry, I’ve been watching my friends at Sidhe Interactive. They have a problem, especially with Frank Dettori Racing (aka Melbourne Cup Challenge).
On the front page for that game is the clear phrase “Available 2006.”
No problem right? It’ll be released sometime in 2006, no sweat?
Start reading the forum and you’ll see what I mean. When searching for “release date” there are 25 forum threads where this is mentioned. There are 8 threads with “release date” in their title and combined, have had 8,578 views.
Why such consternation about a release date? Because when a fan sees “Available 2006” he thinks (even if subconsciously), “sweet I’ll head out on New Years day and get a copy”.
This is the reason quarters are used. I.e, if we said Q3 2006, a lot of the questions would never have been asked. But then the developers and publishers are constrained to a three month window.
So what should they have done? What should Splash Damage have done with Quake Wars? I’m not sure that I have an answer, but Splash Damage definitely risk stronger repercussions than Sidhe if they don’t deliver early (read Q1) in 2007.