Why are there so many lags in video games? Is it just an insidious problem?

The gaming industry has released a fascinating report titled “What’s Happened to All Video Games?” in which he looks at the situation in the sector and tries to explain the reasons why so many games have been pushed back to 2023. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Starfield and Redfall. The publication communicates with leading developers, studios and designers, mostly behind the scenes, anonymously, trying to understand the moment we are going through. Their discussions end with the same curious conclusions as why delaying the game in 2022 is easy, and they start thinking about whether the coronavirus is really the cause of everything.

“Delays are always closely related to very specific details of each project and each team,” a well-known North American developer said in an interview with Games Industry. “It is hard to dare to say that there is something that applies to everyone. The pandemic has had (and still has) a big impact on most, it’s true. This affected not only developers, but the market as a whole. hardware, release windows, competitive games… And once the dominoes start to fall, they don’t stop and cause far-reaching changes. Basic things like buying a console are still tricky, and many PC hardware components arrive months late. But there is more than covid.”

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, one of the main victims of delays. He will arrive in 2023.

“Above there are always the classics of every delay: visual improvements, big technological advances that you suddenly want to include in the game, real world events or that are a hot topic…,” said another faceless interlocutor. “I haven’t seen anything like it in 20 years. What if the cloud, new graphics engines, new consoles, crossplay… You have hundreds of gamers to serve all over the world, on different devices and with different internet speeds. Planning and predicting this, no matter how good you are, is very difficult. »

“A lot of games have been completed since the start of the pandemic,” developer Velan Studios said. “We launched Mario Kart Live in 2020, completed Knockout City in 2021, and we have other projects in the works. More than once we thought: “Hey, this works, this is not a disaster.” It’s just a new way of working. The deadlines and goals are almost the same whether you work in the office or remotely. or coffee machine. But for some studios, this is not a problem and, depending on the progress of the project, it becomes more or less serious. »

Stalker 2

The 12 years we are waiting for Stalker 2 will continue to increase due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Then there are examples like what happened in Ukraine. Several studios in Kyiv were forced to leave their offices due to the war. Some could leave the country, but most had to stay. Such things have their impact, ”commented a fourth person on the situation at Frogwares, or the new delay of Stalker 2, when its developers were in the midst of a conflict. “We took as many people as possible into our offices and gave them all the help we could. The situation is tragic and has far-reaching consequences for other developers and other games. »

As shown in the article itself, it is curious that most attribute video game delays to the effects of Covid-19, when the film and television industry has already begun to release major releases on a regular basis. What’s going on in the video games we’re still struggling with two years after the pandemic began? We may have forgotten how common delays were before the pandemic or the technological momentum we are experiencing. “Or maybe it’s an opportunity to improve the work environment and further reduce development timelines.” Delays don’t go away. »

Starfield and Redfall

Starfield and Redfall, two major Microsoft projects for 2023, have also been delayed.

Source | game industry