Once again, an idea from comments on a news post. Some goof ball commented that Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword had been completed, they were just drawing it out to extend the life of the console. Even the Picard-Riker double facepalm isn’t enough to cover that idiocy.
But it reminded me of the time David and I were in Borders, looking for an Iron Man collection. I had just been hired by Sega and was very excited to be working on Iron Man 2: the Video Game. I wanted to read the comic, at least a bit, so I would understand the world and the characters. I couldn’t find it, so when one of the ever so helpful employees walked by and asked if I needed help, I asked if he knew anything about Iron Man and if he did, could he recommend a few of the graphic novels for me.
As it turns out, he didn’t know anything about Iron Man. But he *did* know about Superman and Batman, and began recommending those to me. I interrupted him to point out, I was looking for Iron Man for a very specific reason. I pointed out I wanted to find the ones that covered the time period when Tony Stark was in charge of SHIELD. When he admitted he didn’t know, he asked me why.
Now, I have never been one to keep information to myself, and I quite love the look on people’s faces when they find out I design video games. I am an extrovert, we have no secrets unless they aren’t ours. So I explained to the young man why I was specifically looking for Iron Man stuff. He, as do most people, got very excited and struck up a conversation about video games. One thing lead to another and we got to talking about future games we were looking forward to.
I feel the urge to point out, up to now, David, had been standing silently by, as he always does. He doesn’t like telling people he makes games, and has expressed to me that he doesn’t particularly like when I tell people he makes games. Odd, but generally I respect his introvertedness.
Right as David turns to join the conversation, the Borders Employee says that one of the games he is most looking forward to is Bioshock 2. Of course, David, working on Bioshock 2, immediately clams up. I nod and say I am quite looking forward to Bioshock 2 as well. The guy interrupts me to say, and I will quote as accurately as I can recall:
“You know the single player game is done right? It’s been done. They are just working on the stupid multiplayer. Don’t you just hate when they ruin games by taking time away from the single player to tack on a multiplayer that no one really wants?”
To this day I have no idea how I managed not to laugh in this guys face. Oh, to be fair, he had no *clue* who he was talking to. But surely they know 2k is in the area and they are *likely* to have the employees in the store. I can assure you, not only was the single player not complete at this point, but also the multiplayer, not even being developed by 2k Marin, but rather by Digital Extremes in Canada. Holy wars of the necessity of multiplayer aside, this guy could not have been more wrong. We didn’t say anything, but the very moment we got into our car we both started laughing about it.
After 4 years in this industry, I can honestly say, I can’t imagine a publisher being “done” with a game and *not* shipping it immediately. More than half the time I would say they aren’t done with the game and it gets ripped out of the developers hands and shipped anyway. It’s the great joy of producers to come in and slash features to make sure a game ships on time. And generally the aim of every programmer, designer, and artist to cram as much awesome as possible into the game before then. I am always surprised at how much developers are completely willing to crunch just to get a feature or thing into a game because they truly believe it is going to make it better.
I doubt very seriously that any publisher would *sit* on a game, all done, just to “extend” the life of a console. If anything they would push to release a second game quickly, to extend the life of a console. It is far more correct that games are in fact rarely, if ever “completed” but are instead ripped from their loving womb and shoved into the cold hard world to be broken, criticized, and abandoned, long before they are actually ready to. It’s part of why leads and producers love completion – just make it work type developers so much.