The news of Rayman Legends‘ delay on Monday night undoubtedly fell hard on our shoulders and hearts. Rayman has been, what I’m calling, a phoenix series, in that it was all but dead until a few years back when the Rabbids franchise took off on Wii. Since then, we’ve been treated to a host of fun minigame compilations under the Rabbids moniker as well as the sublimity that is Rayman Origins. All of this has led up till now, when we get a follow up to Origins on Wii U. While New Super Mario Bros. U is shaping up to be a solid, though notably conventional, installment in the long running series, Rayman Legends is mixing up its 2D sidescrolling goodness with innovation, originality, beautiful graphics, and a whole lot of charm. It’s because of these aspects that Ubisoft’s announcement of Legends slipping from its Q4 2012 window to early 2013 came as such disheartening news. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Though Rayman is a wildly anticipated title for Wii U, its delay isn’t all that unusual, nor is it the end of the world.
Big franchises being rocked with delays are regrettably common in the games industry. We’ve seen this type of thing occur time and time again, and though it never hurts any less each time it happens, it should be expected (to a degree), or dare I say even appreciated on some level. A game missing its intended release date can indicate a number of issues, but perhaps the most common reason is that the developers simply need more time to polish their product in order to appease gamers’ expectations and ultimately sell like hotcakes. After all, nothing hurts a game, its reputation, and its sales more than finally reaching the market and turning out to be a colossal disaster. When this happens, fans and critics alike are ruthless and can destroy the dreams of developers who hope to further the franchise with sequels and spinoffs– just look at what’s happened with Resident Evil 6 lately. Needless to say, we gamers seem to be far more forgiving of a game missing its release date, than we are paying for unfinished, unpolished, or downright broken games– though, the forgiveness is only of a marginal amount. I can only imagine the team at Ubisoft Montpellier hopes to avoid the latter mess, and in turn, has pushed back Legends’ release date.
But while fans are raging all around because of this, one can’t simply neglect the fact that this isn’t the first time a blockbuster title has been smacked by the wrath of postponement. Here we look at four games that managed to escape unscathed by numerous delays and actually went on to be much better experiences because of it.