February Is The New October: The Big Video Game Delays of 2014

By | 2 years ago 

Let’s face it; delays are as much a part of the entertainment business as anything else. With so much riding on an individual game or movie release, oftentimes the studios footing the bill balk either out of fear or because they see a better opportunity on the horizon.

In the case of video games, these delays are usually strategic plays meant to both instill confidence in a product (“we’re giving the team more time to polish”) and to get out of the way of the bigger releases. Games like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty will have no problem standing out from the crowd, but the smaller releases or the new IPs might.

Even so, it feels like this year has had more delays than normal. Last year, the only real big, devastating delay was Watch Dogs, but this year we can name at least half a dozen. As a matter of fact…


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Horseback

Original Release Date: Fall 2014

New Release Date: February 2015

Ambition is a running theme with this year’s delays, and nowhere is that more evident than with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. As the final game in the trilogy, The Witcher 3 is pulling out all the stops and developer CD Projekt Red is pushing themselves to the limits. A sprawling open world, gorgeous visuals, and a branching narrative obviously don’t come easy, and so we understood when CD Projekt asked for more time from fans. Unfortunately for CD Projekt, they were the first to choose February 2015 as their new release date, and are now facing a lot of competition. Lucky for them, The Witcher 3 has built a new fan base thanks to its jaw-dropping demos.


Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman Arkham Knight Grunt Fight

Original Release Date: October 14, 2014

New Release Date: TBA 2015

This one was likely the hardest delay to swallow given how successful and critically acclaimed Rocksteady’s Arkham games are. But, as 2014 rolled on we started to hear rumblings that Batman: Arkham Knight, while visually impressive, was having considerable performance issues in public demonstrations. Granted, we saw no such issues during our hands-on time at E3 2014, but that was already after Warner Bros. had announced the delay. For Arkham Knight this delay was likely more about getting this final game (for Rocksteady) right and nothing else. The game looks impressive in fits and spurts, but we want the entire experience to look and run that smooth.



Evolve Interactive Trailer

Original Release Date: October 21, 2014

New Release Date: February 10, 2015

The most recent of the 2014-to-2015 delays, Evolve’s comes just weeks after we were gushing over the game (for a second time) coming out of Comic-Con 2014. However, with such a unique concept, it’s not surprising that Evolve needed a little extra time for polish. This is a game where balance is key, and any little misstep could be the difference between a game that sucks players in for a few hours and one that becomes a daily addiction. On top of that, this is a case where a new IP is better served getting out of the overcrowded October month. If Turtle Rock Studios takes time to get it right and finds the perfect month to release, Evolve could be a big hit.

The Order: 1886

The Order 1886 Galahad Story Trailer

Original Release Date: Fall 2014

New Release Date: February 20, 2015

Lucky for The Order: 1886 we hadn’t seen much of the game thus far, so this delay wasn’t entirely unexpected. However, after going hands-on with Ready at Dawn’s new shooter we started to change our tune. This is easily one of the most visually impressive current-gen games in development, and despite a very linear set-up we can’t wait to play more. Like with Batman: Arkham Knight, though, impressive visuals take time, and so we’re not surprised that the developers needed a little extra time. Moreover, the delay gives gamers more time to learn about the game, which thus far has been quite mysterious.


Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield Hardline - Zipline

Original Release Date: October 21, 2014

New Release Date: March 2015

Coming off a somewhat disappointing beta test, few were surprised by the announcement of Battlefield Hardline‘s delay. DICE was already drawing criticism for releasing a new Battlefield game while their last effort, BF4, was still having issues, and they aren’t even the primary developer on Hardline. Add to that concerns that Hardline would play too much like a Battlefield 4 mod, and you had the perfect storm of negative press…for the second year in a row. Needless to say, EA all but had to announce this delay.

The official line, though, is that Visceral Games needs extra time to fine tune the Battlefield Hardline campaign, which reportedly plays out like an episodic TV series. Visceral put some heavy expectations on their shoulders with talk of delivering an engaging story, and apparently that October release date was coming too fast. Unfortunately, in the case of Battlefield Hardline the delay puts even more expectations on Visceral’s plate.


Tom Clancy’s The Division

The Division Delay

Original Release Date: Fall 2014

New Release Date: TBA 2015

At this point, Ubisoft delays have become so commonplace that you almost expect them. Well, as long as it’s not for an Assassin’s Creed game. For Tom Clancy’s The Division, Ubisoft got out ahead of the rumors (more or less) and confirmed any presumptions that, like Watch Dogs, The Division wasn’t going to make its original release date. The move helped Ubisoft save face and it made sure that gamers knew not to hope for this game any time soon. It’s also worth mentioning that this is one of the 2015 delays that we wouldn’t be surprised to see get pushed even further. But for now, Ubisoft is committed to 2015.


Dying Light, Mad Max, Quantum Break

Dying Light Mad Max Quantum Break Delay

Original Release Dates: Fall 2014

New Release Dates: TBA 2015 for Max and Quantum, February 2015 for Dying Light

These three are getting lumped in together because their delays were a response to their respective publishers’ hopeful ambition more than anything else. Dying Light, Mad Max, and Quantum Break were all announced as 2014 releases, but after brief showings at E3 2013 their promotional campaigns went radio silent for the next 6+ months. It was only when the studios came forward and said, “Hey our games are getting delayed,” that we even remembered these titles were actually supposed to release this year. For that matter, only one of these three games, Dying Light, actually made an appearance at this year’s E3, further echoing why a delay is necessary. Sometimes a publisher selects a target and can see early enough that it’s not going to happen. Good on these studios for not waiting until the last minute to announce their delays.

The Order 1886 Story Details

As we mentioned at the top, delays are a part of the video game business. Some publishers push their games to give them more time, others try to find safety in a less crowded release month, and others panic. It’s also pretty clear that these current-gen systems were by no means ready to release when they did. We’re now almost a year into the PS4 and Xbox One‘s life cycle and developers are still struggling to hit their dates.

For us gamers, though, these delays are a reprieve on our wallets, even if they are ultimately disappointing. And it’s worth mentioning that although the month got significantly lighter, October still has plenty of worthwhile games, as does November. This will not be a light fall season like last year, and there will be no winter lull either. The systems may still be coming together, but the current-gen is in full swing.

What delay most disappointed you? Which game are you most looking forward to in 2014? What about in 2015?

Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina