Coming out of E3 2013 there were plenty of experiences that left us casually impressed, but few could have matched The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Here was a title — the proposed final part of a trilogy — that sought to blow gamers' preconceived notions of scope and scale right out the window. And it was drop dead gorgeous to boot.
However, with a game of The Witcher 3's size come some risks, both in terms of delivering on that initial promise and ensuring the large open world isn't bogged down by frame rate hiccups and bugs. Developer CD Projekt Red acknowledges those risks and wants to deliver on that promise, and as a result they have had to make a really tough decision: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been delayed to February 2015.
While CD Projekt Red acknowledges that they could have gotten the game out, as promised, by the end of 2014, they decided to take the extra time and make sure they got The Witcher 3 right. As we mentioned, this is the last game (or is it?) in a much beloved and critically acclaimed franchise, which means any misstep would be wholly deflating to fans.
We recently reexamined what we had achieved thus far, and faced a choice about the game’s final release date. The decision we made was difficult, thoroughly considered, and ultimately clear and obvious. 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. Consequently, we have set the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for February 2015.
Additionally, any perceived faults in The Witcher 3 could also impact the enthusiasm for CD Projekt's next release, Cyberpunk 2077. See, for an independent outfit like CD Projekt the delay is as much about getting this game right as it is securing interest in future projects.
In their official statement, CD Projekt acknowledges that there is a dual interest in the success of The Witcher 3, both by gamers and shareholders in their company, and they trust that both groups will stand by their decision. Personally, if it means a more successful game, then any delay is worth bearing.
At the same time, delays for high profile triple-A releases are becoming more and more common, to the point that gamers almost expect at least one a month. Games like The Witcher, Watch Dogs, and last year's BioShock Infinite all have (or had) huge expectations to live up to, and with only one opportunity to get it right sometimes developers and publishers decide its best to push the game. Ultimately, it's a good thing, but some might question why developers and publishers even announce a release window if there is a chance the game might slip. That might just be the nature of the business.
Are you disappointed by this Witcher 3 delay? Do you think it is becoming commonplace to expect delays out of big releases?
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will now release in February 2015.
Source: CD Projekt Red