Time and time again, we see video games get announced when they aren’t ready for the spotlight. Microsoft and Sony are no strangers to this practice. Crackdown 3, initially revealed as Crackdown was announced at E3 2014. After almost five years, we’re finally going to see a full release on February 15th, 2019. Two other Microsoft titles announced too early were Fable Legends and Scalebound. Both were ill-fated games. Both were announced in 2014 and canceled in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The Last of Us: Part 2 and Death Stranding were both announced in 2016, and are closing in on three years without hitting store shelves. With Dragon Age 4 going to get announced three years before release, I can’t help but scream in frustration.
Why? Why would a company announce a game that won’t see a release for at least three years? Sure, it’s great to know that a beloved series is coming, but the wait can be infuriating. The biggest problem is the anticipation. As a fan of Xbox, I’ve been disappointed many times. The company canceling Scalebound and Fable Legends left me gutted. These were two games my friends, and I couldn’t stop talking about. I really wanted a game from Platinum exclusive to Xbox One. It wasn’t meant to be, but I blame Microsoft for showing it off too soon.
When is the right time?
When something awesome is shown before the appropriate moment, it stings when tragedy strikes. Cancellations suck and the feeling of wondering “what if?” is also unfortunate. When should studios reveal its games? I think of Sony bringing out Death Stranding in 2016. The highly anticipated game from visionary Hideo Kojima is the topic of conversation among many gamers. What type of game is it? How’s the multiplayer integration? What genres will it incorporate? What is the narrative about? There are so many questions that people keep asking, but the trailers do nothing to help us understand what we’ll be playing. Instead, I’ve become frustrated wondering when we’ll play Death Stranding and when the studio will stop teasing us. The trailers are becoming pretentious to the point where I’m starting to tune out until it launches.
I’m concerned that the next Dragon Age will fall into that same category.
Dragon Age 4 — or whatever name it’ll carry — is at least three years away, according to sources familiar with the studio. That timeline could change, but that is the current expectation at EA. BioWare and EA have not even settled on a name for the new Dragon Age — although that is something they could decide in preparation for a reveal at The Game Awards.
One opinion from the writer is something that I also fear.
So then why does Dragon Age keep coming up, and why does EA plan to talk about it in some capacity at The Game Award? That’s likely due to the passion that BioWare executive producer Mark Darrah and Hudson have for the series. And they are determined to ensure fans of the series recognize that passion within BioWare as well.
Passion for a franchise means nothing to me if that results in a faraway product? When Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls VI during E3, I didn’t care. Despite my love of the franchise, the studio still had Fallout 76 which had not launched, they revealed Starfield and then The Elder Scrolls VI. Let’s be honest, with Bethesda’s track record, that game won’t launch until a few years into the next generation.
The future is bleak
Look, I’m all for new games. As someone who writes for a few video game sites, I love the medium. Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo, they are all great to me. My issue is trying to figure out when we’ll actually play certain games. I fully suspect that The Last of Us: Part 2 and Death Stranding will be launch titles for the PlayStation 5. Halo Infinite will definitely come out after the next Xbox launches. What’s there to look forward to now? Honestly, not much from various companies. Microsoft has Crackdown 3 next year and presumedly a new Forza. I think a delay for Gears 5 is inevitable.
It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for most companies, and I understand the struggle. If Microsoft doesn’t reveal titles early, people will complain that there aren’t any games on Xbox One. The issue is people showing their frustration when anticipated games are canceled. You can’t have cake and eat it too? Would you prefer to learn about games before they’re ready or hear about them and then witness a cancellation? This has been the norm over the past few years, and it should stop.
With The Game Awards taking place tonight, the chances are high that we’ll see announcements for games that will be far off. Gamers like myself must temper expectations because if I get too hyped, I’ll sure to be let down. If Dragon Age 4 gets announced, it’s okay to get excited, but understand we’re a while away from release. Don’t get upset if we don’t hear about the game at the next two E3s. Honestly, I’ve had enough, and while I’m pumped to see what these companies have up their sleeves, I hope that we’ll see full releases sooner rather than later. When publishers and developers have gamers wrapped around their finger, we lose.