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A Year of Delays: the big games that have slipped… and why Destiny could be next

Another day, another delay. All the next-gen games we're looking forward to are missing their release dates and we're panicing that there could be more to come.

It's a worrying trend when a whole stack of video games you're expecting this year - many of which first appeared at E3 almost a year ago - continue to miss their projected release dates. We bought in to the next-gen dream over six months ago expecting a lot more choice than we're currently facing at the end of 2014.

What the hell's going on?

Here we present the most disappointing delays to hit in the past months, and why we think Activision's Destiny could be next to shift release dates.

Delayed until 2015

The Order: 1886

the order 1886 - 012814 (3)

Ready At Dawn's third-person cover shooter simply isn't ready for its projected Christmas 2014 release date and the developer has been pretty open about that.

What they said: "We have an open discussion with Sony all the time. We said, ‘Look, we can achieve the quality you expect everywhere, but delivering on this is going to take a few more months."

What we say: We suspect the gameplay has come second in the development process to the cinematic presentation and motion capture which have been this games' selling points. A pretty game will only keep the attention for so long, a bad game is bad forever.

Expected release: A format exclusive needs to be as perfect as possible if it's to get the full spend of Sony's marketing budget behind it. Look for it beyond March 2015, perhaps closer to May.

The Elder Scrolls Online

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The Elder Scrolls Online was so, so close to releasing in June on PS4 and Xbox One that we could smell the Atronach sulphur. But after the lukewarm launch of the PC version Zenimax Online has decided to hold it back, suggesting the new consoles are harder to work with than originally expected.

What they said: "Integrating our systems with each console manufacturer’s networks — which are both different from the PC/Mac system as well as different from each other—has been a challenging process."

What we say: You buy TESO and then you subscribe to play it. And if you're on Xbox Live you have to pay for that too. And if you've already bought the game on PC you can upgrade to the console version for an extra $20. TESO is *expensive* and these payment options and disparity between consoles are probably holding it up more than anything.

Expected release: Zenimax reckons it needs "about six months" to get this right, but no one releases games in the dead zone straight after Xmas, so we're looking at March at the earliest.

Tom Clancy's The Division

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First revealed at E3 2013 it seems an age since we had a proper Tom Clancy game. Now we just have to keep the faith and wait for a release some time in 2015, hopefully.

What they said: "We don’t want to compromise on quality. We are going to release the game when it’s ready."

What we say: There are rumours The Division isn't going to make next year. That wouldn't surprise us either. Ubisoft needs to get this right if it's to challenge the dominance of Battlefield and Call of Duty, both of which are reinventing themselves in 2014. But Ubi can afford to take its time, it has blockbusters that are clearly paying the bills.

Expected release: Sometime in 2016.

On to page 2 for more horrible, cruel delays...

Batman Arkham Knight

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Ow, this is the one that stings the most. Delayed until 2015 after a release penciled in for this year. This is the game where we finally get to drive the Batmobile but it looks like it just got a flat tyre.

What they said: "We just want to make sure we are giving Batman fans and gamers the best Batman experience that we can possibly deliver and that just takes time."

What we say: Batman is WB Games' biggest core franchise, it can't afford to cock it up. We don't really care about Shadow of Mordor or Gauntlet and Mortal Kombat 10 is too far away. This is wise like Alfred Pennyworth calming down a hot-headed master Bruce.

Expected release: We reckon March - May 2015 when the release slate is supposedly quieter.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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We've waited three years for a follow up to Assassins of Kings, so we're just going to accept a delay until February 2015. The fact that CD Projekt has confidently given us a new release month tells us the game is still under control and honestly needs just a little more tweaking.

What they said: "We could have released the game towards the end of this year as we had initially planned. Yet we concluded that a few additional months will let us achieve the quality that will satisfy us, the quality gamers expect from us."

What we say: No gaming experience is better than a perfectly crafted RPG. There are only a handful of those, and we're expecting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to join them. We can wait. We will wait. We must wait.

Expected release: February 2015 according to CD Projekt.

Dying Light

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We don't get all sniffy about Techland games because they always put fun first. But this last-minute delay by almost a year is a concern. When exactly did they realise it needed more work?

What they said: "We believe the Natural Movement element of our game will change what you expect from the genre, and we don’t want to sacrifice any of its potential by releasing too early."

What we say: We don't believe the parkour-style Natural Movement feature will change open-world games, to be honest. Although this is likely to be a fun game, the delay isn't that big a deal because Dying Light isn't at the top of our most wanted lists.

Expected release: February 2015. That's going to be a busy month, eh?

On to page 3 where we lament new IP and an infamous, seemingly endless, delay.

Mad Max

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Rumoured forever, and revealed last year, we expected Avalanche's take on bleak sci-fi to be revving up for a release in 2014. Anything that continues to distance the game from mad racist Mel Gibson is fine with us.

What they said: Nothing. We learnt about the delay from a trailer.

What we say: We didn't think we wanted a Mad Max game and we're not sure the license means anything, especially to a younger audience. But it's the perfect gameplay for the creators of the excellent Just Cause 2, and the trailer and the developer pedigree have got us hyped enough to wait.

Expected release: Our money's on this hitting May 2015, at the same time as new movie Mad Max: Fury Road.

Quantum Break

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This didn't technically have a release date but after last year's E3 showing we thought we'd be seeing a lot more of it. It turns out it's not going to be at E3 this year either.

What they said: "Quantum break will be out in 2015. I’m very excited to tell you that we’ll be presenting Quantum Break’s time-amplified action gameplay for the first time ever in August at Gamescom."

What we say: Madly ambitious in an unproven field, Quantum Break the game will be ready when Quantum Break the TV show is finished. And we haven't heard a peep about that yet, so you're going to need to bide your time for this one.

Expected release: We don't think this will be out until at least Christmas 2015. And judging by Remedy's Alan Wake delay, maybe even later.

The Last Guardian

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Hahaahaaaaaaaaaaaargh. The Last Guardian is about as likely to be released as Beyond Good & Evil 2. Or Half-Life 3. We can't even remember when it was originally due or revealed and we're not going to give it the dignity of Googling it.

What they said: “[I'm] not going to announce what platform it’s coming on, who’s working on it, who’s involved. But that is still a title that’s absolutely in the mix at Worldwide Studios. That’s the most you’re gonna get.”

What we say: Hahaha, Hahahh. Heh. Friggin' dog-bird thing. Whatever.

Next: 5 reason why a Destiny delay wouldn't surprise us.

5 reasons why a Destiny delay wouldn't surprise us

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It's massively ambitious

We wouldn't expect anything less. This is a series of games that has already been mapped out for annual release over the next 8 years. You need to get that right from the start because Bobby Kotick and Eric Hirshberg will not accept a shaky start. According to the original eight year plan we should be receiving the first Destiny expansion this year, meaning Destiny was originally due in 2013. It's already been delayed, it can happen again.

Previews so far have been lukewarm

Look at this headline - it's not exactly boxquote material:

destiny_boring _headline

That was from a press trip where Activision and Bungie controlled the whole experience; gameplay, locations, gear, stats. Everything. If the press aren't behind it yet, there's a lot more marketing that needs to be done, and it needs to ramp up quickly because we're only four months away from the September 9 release date.

Online, online, online

See those problems with Watch Dogs online? See also those problems with Titanfall online? And every other online game ever launched? Online is a ballache that can't be tested until it's really, truly, live. And by then everyone is already trying to play it but can't due to some stupid bug but it's too late they're already leaving 0/10 scores on Steam and PSN and XBLA and Twitter and Metacritic and Neogaf and that's it. You've lost your audience.

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Activision can afford to delay it

Sledgehammer is in the process of re-imagining the Call of Duty franchise and getting everyone back on board after Ghosts turned out to be a bit of a duffer. Although Activision needs to get Destiny right, it can't let Call of Duty slip either. Holding back Destiny in favour of giving Advanced Warfare more marketing budget means the cash cow continues to chew-up the charts this year and well into the next. That's safe money in the bank while Destiny gets all the development love it needs.

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Delays happen all the time

It's not a Destiny issue, it's a video game issue. Every game you're looking forward to gets delayed. Most of the time it's for the better. Watch Dogs was delayed and it still managed to sell 4 million copies in its first week. 4 MILLION. Show that to a suit in the boardroom and he'd probably demand a delay in order to increase sales. Throw in a few pre-order incentives to keep the fans sweet and no one will really care if they have to wait another six months. Will they?

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