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Tabula Rasa: why game delays are good for us

Chris Chester

Talking with some new friends in Tabula Rasa last night, we happened on the subject of game delays, and why sometimes we have to suck it up and take them without complaint in order to enjoy a more complete product later down the road. Of course, with as many players as the MMO genre has under its sway, the "without complaint" aspect is often ignored in favor of nagging and incessant whining. Gamers accustomed to instant gratification and pandering from developers are often inconsolable when a patch is delayed, saying nothing of an actual retail release. Forums and IRC chats become flooded with complaints, insults, and sometimes even threats of bodily harm. Mindful of a couple big titles delayed in recent months, I thought I'd offer up evidence of why game delays are sometimes good for us.

The video you see before you is Destination Games' showing of Tabula Rasa at E3 2004, a scant three years ago. At the time, Tabula Rasa was a confusing mishmash of fantasy, sci-fi, and... unicorns? Sensing that they had an impending disaster on their hands, they replaced 20% of the development team, scrapped 75% of the code, and started over essentially from scratch. While some still debate whether the finished product they put on the market earlier this month was worth the effort, I find it hard to believe it could be any worse than the trippy mess of a game shown in their E3 presentation. In Tabula Rasa's case, the delay likely saved the game from bombing.

So next time the big game you've got on preorder is delayed, relax. The developers are probably doing you a favor. That is, unless you like unicorns.

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