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  • Writer's pictureRock

On Delays

Look, I get it.

I’m disappointed too, trust me. So is Skully. I mean, we planned to start this thing back in March, when Midnight Suns was originally slated to drop. Another delay does not exactly fill us with joy and happiness.

But, ye majestic nerd herd, calm thyselves. All will be well, trust the word of Rock on this. Why should you? What crystal ball do I possess that tells me that, in the end, this will not only be a minor blip on a great game, but that it is better for all that Firaxis has decided to delay this game again?

Simply put, gentle readers, it’s because I’ve been here before.

See, back when they first came up with the notion of rebooting XCom, it was also delayed before we got the final game. And it turned into one of the best new games of the decade, single-handedly resurrecting turn-based strategy games from the developer hell it had been languishing in. The same thing happened with XCom 2, a delay from the first scheduled release date, and that turned out to be a great sequel. But that’s not why I’m writing this, it’s not why I’ve come to soothe your fears. Many games have been delayed and have then gone on to spectacularly fail to live up to expectations (Duke springs to mind…).

No, while I am disappointed I’m not overly upset by this second delay and it’s for one reason. Unlike other developers, when Firaxis has delayed a launch, it’s for a damn good reason. And the end result is that we get a better game, more polished, far less bugs and very few that might be game-breaking. Unlike some games (looking at you, Cyberpunk, Fallout 76, No Man’s Sky and a host of others; and Skully hates when I diss other games, but here it’s fully justified, so come at me, Skully), Firaxis will delay a game in order to get it right.

That’s to be applauded, in this day and age of pre-sale frenzy, of developers promising revolutionary gameplay and never before seen mechanics and systems… only to fall and fail astonishingly badly when the game is rushed out before it’s ready. And that’s to say nothing of the human cost the ‘crunch’ time puts on the people actually programming the damn things.

A decision like this, that had to be taken with a great many voices pushing to just ‘get it out there, we’ll fix it with patches’... that takes a pretty damn principled company to say ‘no’. Not maybe, not we’ll see, just ‘no’. ‘No, we won’t put out something that’s not up to our standards. We won’t do that to our reputation. We won’t do that to our fans.’ I’m not sure who had the final say on this, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that it wasn’t just one lone voice. This was a decision made by a company that had nothing to gain from just releasing a product that wasn’t quite ready. After the near-constant stream of games that have done just that in the last decade or so, it wouldn’t have caused a huge uproar. We, as gamers, have practically gotten used to companies taking our money for a product that’s broken in all kinds of ways and then hoping it’ll be fixed after the fact. Someday. Maybe.

But not Firaxis, and not Midnight Suns. They’ve decided that this game, the game Marvel came to them and asked them to make, this game is going to work. It’s going to play like we’ve seen the various videos we’ve seen. It’s not going to be a case of promising one thing and delivering something far less than what we’ve seen. It’s just not that sort of company, and they just don’t do that sort of business.

Firaxis and 2K aren’t squeaky clean, they’ve done some not-so-great things in the past, certainly. But this? A delay of a game that is not only widely anticipated, but uses the IP of, arguably, the most popular entertainment company currently on the planet? The pressure to get this thing out back in March would have been enormous, let alone delay it again. But they did. And it certainly wasn’t to please Marvel, Marvel is launching a new comic book limited series of Midnight Suns in September, y’think they’re a bit miffed that the game that ties into it isn’t coming out a month later? It’s definitely not for their shareholders or bottom line or any of the other reasons other companies have pushed out broken, half-finished garbage that they’ve then taken months or years to make playable. Nope, Firaxis didn’t do it for any corporate bigwigs. They did it for us, the fans.

If waiting a bit longer is the price for that, then it’s one we should be grateful to pay.

- Rock

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