Diablo III: late or great?
Blizzard's Diablo III director Jay Wilson talked about some system changes for the up and coming action role playing game. He says Blizzard is being accused of “messing around” with systems and not just putting out the game. As of current, the game is “good as is” but the developers feel like they can do more with it.
The over-arching question here is should a game be just released when it is ‘good as it’ but let the game come out on time or should the developers tweak it past the point of being released on time to make it exactly how they want it? If fans are given a release date they will become pretty die-hard about that game coming out at that time regardless. However, would you rather buy a buggy incomplete game that is hot patched the first few days or wait for a smooth release with more content. That’s a rough one. Personally, if I am buying a game – I want it be as complete, smooth, and with the most content as possible; even if it means waiting a while more.
Luckily for me, Jay Wilson agrees. On Diablo III’s official blog, he says “Our job isn't just to put out a game, it's to release the next Diablo game. No one will remember if the game is late, only if it's great.” He’s got a point. While folk will be agitated if a game keeps getting pushed back, they are willing to forgive them if the game is amazing. People are much more likely to remember a game’s poor release or buggy content than waiting a bit longer in the long run.
On the extreme other side of the spectrum, if a game takes too long people will remember it. I’m only taking about the extreme though. A perfect example is Team Fortress II. If I recall correctly, the game could be preordered but then never released until years and years later. Of course Team Fortress 2 eventually came out and was awesome – still is awesome. As an original Quake player, I couldn’t wait for a TF2. I will always remember the disappointment in the lack of release.
Thinking back on Blizzard specifically though, the company isn’t immune to pushing games back indefinitely. As a StarCraft fan, I highly anticipated StarCraft: Ghost. This game was going to follow a spec-ops ghost named Nova in a 3rd person stealth-shooter action / adventure game in the StarCraft universe. This project started in 2001. The game looked amazing. I am still in love with the concept and would love for them to reopen the project. But alas, after being pushed back several times the project was put on an “indefinite hold” in 2006.
For many, Diablo III can’t come soon enough. It is part of a series which has been waiting for a new title for 12 years now. Diablo III is near complete as Wilson said. There is no way a title this close to completion or as big as a title as Diablo III would be canceled at this point. I’m definitely adding this title to the games I’m looking forward to in 2012. If only Blizzard could reopen StarCraft: Ghost though…