Delays are something geeks have to live with. As the hype for a movie, game, or book grows we get more and more excited and upon release its a moment of true excitement. We have to temper our expectations before we get that new thing in our hands, knowing that until its there, we have nothing and that it could be delayed or cancelled.
Delays are always with the best intentions. I mean really, if Portal 2 wasn’t ready for release in November 2010, then it wasn’t ready and it wouldn’t have been worth playing. And when it wasn’t ready in February 2011, it wasn’t ready and it wouldn’t have been worth playing. And now that its been released, some might say wasn’t ready and it its not worth playing, but that OK because they can patch it.
Non-geeks don’t get it. They don’t delay the start of spring. Hunting season is a fixed date. Sports events have to start on time or they mess up TV schedules. If your hobby is knitting, you’ve never been faced with a yarn delay.
Guns N Roses were without a doubt one of the biggest and most ambitous bands to come out of the 80s, and their reign continued into the 90s with a double album and multiple world tours. After an extended hiatus and near complete lineup change (with the exception of mastermind W. Axl Rose), it was announced the band was recording an album titled Chinese Democracy. It must have been known early on that the title would be a joke, as tracks recorded as early as 1994 were constantly scrapped and re-recorded as various new producers and new replacement band members entered the studio. Rose at one point apparently ordered the new band to re-record the entirity of GNR’s debut album Apetite for Destruction. (A portion of the track “Sweet Child Of Mine” was the the only of these songs to ever surface during the credits to the movie Big Daddy) This distraction no doubt further delayed the release of the album. It was eventually released as a Best Buy exclusive on CD in 2009. Was it good? Well, it don’t really matter. It tanked.
Duke Nukem Forever was delayed so many times, it seemed to destroy the meaning of the word. It started as a sequel to the 1996 Duke Nukem 3D game. It was in development from 1997 until… well its still being worked on. They have a date set for June 10, 2011 after the startling revelation that Gearbox Software would complete what had taken 3D Realms 13 years to begin. This date is itself a delay from a previous release announced by Gearbox of May 2011. If this game ever comes out, it will be a miracle.
The cult TV show LOST had many delays in its production, most notably the frustrating scheduling of the series. Fans demanded new episodes each week without reruns during the first and second season, even though production at a reasonable pace to complete these episodes was longer than a single week. Eventually, in the third season, ABC released 6 weeks of episodes in the fall of 2006 and delayed the remainder until February 2007 so that the rest of the season could air without any repeats in between new episodes. During the fourth season, it was decided to delay the entire run until 2008, skipping a fall premeire in order to run 16 weeks in a row without repeats. This backfired due to a writer’s strike, and after 8 episodes were completed, there was a month long delay in finishing the rest of the season. The episode order was truncated 13, though the finale was spilt into multiple parts meaning 14 hours total.
Sometimes delays can make something better. Samuel L Jackson once filmed a movie called “Snakes On A Plane” that was completed and earned a Pg-13 rating. After the internet heard, and this photoshop was produced along with an absurd of level of buzz, the movie went back into production for an extra week to add in some more edgy material, notably some sex scenes and Jackson’s famous line.
Delays are a part of our media happy lives. We can’t let ourselves be disappointed. Famed game designer Shigeru Miyamoto once said “A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever”
…and thats why I’m writing this on April 24th, instead of January 22 when this post was originally scheduled.