While anyone familiar with the video game industry knows that November is typically the busiest month for high-profile game releases – November 2011 could be one of the biggest months in the history of the industry.
However, if prior years are any indication, the annual flood of triple-A titles in November typically washes a few into the following year. According to industry analyst Michael Pachter, it’s possible that Saints Row: The Third and fan-favorite Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are the most susceptible to a possible 2012 bump.
In addition to Skyrim and Saints Row, a number of studios will be attempting to maximize their holiday shopper potential with releases such as Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Need for Speed: The Run, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection – not to mention late-October releases Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3.
However, speaking with CVG, Pachter indicated that he doesn’t expect any of the other October-November releases to slip:
“The only ones that have any risk are Skyrim and Saints Row. The former because Bethesda will launch when it’s ready, and it won’t hurt the game to move into February; the latter a very low probability, since it looks close to complete, and because THQ needs it in the holiday quarter, but given reviews on Homefront, they may choose to delay for more polish. I’d assign a 10 per cent risk to Saint’s Row slipping. The others are really not all that competitive. CoD and Assassin’s Creed always come out head-to-head, Halo is a re-issue, NFS and MGS don’t compete with any of the others.”
Of course, Pachter has somewhat of a mixed reputation in the industry – at times making wild claims with hardly any rational bearing and at other times stating the obvious. The details here are pretty thin, especially in the case of Pachter’s prediction of a ten percent chance that Saints Row would get delayed for more polish since the criticisms of Homefront had little to do with the polish – not to mention the fact that the title ultimately sold reasonably well. If Saints Row moves into 2012, it’s more likely that THQ isn’t confident in the property’s ability (in general) to go toe-to-toe with the bevy of buzz-worthy franchises.
A move from 2011 for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim seems equally unlikely. While Pachter’s point that Skyrim will be a monster success no matter when it’s released – as well as Bethesda’s interest in putting out the best game possible – are both true, the title has been in development for years and, given numerous comments by the developer, is prepped to make a huge debut in November.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick and let us know whether you think we’ll see any more holiday releases bumped into 2012.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is scheduled for release on November 11, 2011 on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Saints Row: The Third is scheduled for a few days later on November 15, 2011 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360