2012 is certainly shaping up to be the year of the delayed game. Fresh off the news that Bioshock Infinite had slipped to a 2013 release date, came the news that the rebooted adventures of Lara Croft would also only be available after the Mayan apocalypse had hit us.
Originally debuted at E3 last year, Tomb Raider was looking pretty solid so far, with production grinding ahead at a steady pace. Right now, developer Crystal Dynamics has slapped a six month delay on the title, leading some to question the ongoing quality of the game.
Studio head Darrell Gallagher however, believes that nothing could be further from the truth, and that the new release date had more to do with natural evolution of the development cycle.
“Making games is not a science, right? It’s very complex. In a lot of cases you’re doing things for the first time”, Gallagher said in a Crystal Dynamics podcast. “You’re trying to break new ground with every game you try and make. So it’s not like you’re repeating the same old formula time and time again.”
For us it is really more about refining what we have, less about new features, less about ‘horribly wrong’ than just saying, hey, this is the natural evolution of what we once started, what we intended to do.
We want to see that through. We have a commitment, and we didn’t want to compromise that original commitment and vision to put the game out a few months earlier.
Talking about the current, playable alpha state of the game, Gallagher spoke about how the leap to beta and onwards presented new challenges for the studio;
We have the whole game in place, it’s great to see start to finish, you can play it beginning to end, and it’s in great shape. We have a great structure of a game here. In terms of six months, 12 months for alpha, it’s just not apples to apples. I can’t really compare one development team or one studio or publisher to another.
One aspect of games being delayed however, is for the title to be launched in a period where profits can be maximised, when fewer competitors are around. According to Gallagher, that is not the case with Tomb Raider.
Last E3, we had a great E3 and it showed that we can stand toe to toe right next to the competition. So that’s not something we’re necessarily concerned with. What we’re most concerned with and what we’re most focused on here is making the greatest game possible.
“There’s always triple-A titles that are breathing down your neck or coming up right in front of you. There’s nothing you can do,” brand director Karl Stewart elaborated on.
You pick a window and you can guarantee that within a few weeks before or a few weeks after, there’s some other big title coming out around you. Whether we like it or not, there’s always a great title around the corner.
Tomb Raider is one of those games that is entrenched firmly on my radar. It looks fresh, vibrant and entertaining, something which all reboots should strive for. If the game really is delayed due to a need to lavish some extra polish on it, then I’m all for it, provided that the added work shines through, on the final product.
Last Updated: May 22, 2012