You know, I really don't get it. Some games seem to crank out a new version every year or so, often with significant changes. Look at Ratchet and Clank for example--there's been a new game in that series about every 12 months or so (the most recent Ratchet: Deadlocked, a fine platformer if I ever saw one). So why is it some games take so gorram LONG?
I've been interested in Starcraft: Ghost for some time now. I remember hearing about it at E3. TWO YEARS AGO. It's still not released. Gamespot says its release date is "Q2 2006" which means sometime between April 1 and June 30. Admittedly this isn't far off, but it's been pushed off before, and probably will again--EBGames is saying the projected release date is now early October.
This doesn't look good for Ghost. Games with these kinds of excessively long development cycles typically don't do very well. Examples? OK. First, the infamous Daikatana. Hyped up for years, then eventually ignored. Four years in development, and when it released it was universally panned because of poor graphics, a subpar story and poor mechanics.
Then there's DRIV3R--a game anticipated since right after DRIVER2. It was in development for several years as well, released about a year after GTA: Vice City. Eventually they shoved it out the door half-finished. On-foot controls were terrible, the story sucked hard and it was also universally panned by all but the most hardcore fan.
Then there's Duke Nukem: Forever... My nephew was born after this game went into development. He's in the first grade. If it takes longer to raise a child to school age than it takes you to release a game, maybe you oughta pull the plug. I can guarantee that if Nukem is ever released it'll tank.
So where does that put Starcraft: Ghost? Well, the most recent preview on GameSpot's site looks promising, but that was written several months ago. There's been no real news for quite some time, and when the game shows up at E3, AGAIN, because it isn't finished yet, I wonder what people will be saying about it.
Folks, I'm all about getting it right. You HAVE to get it right, or the game will suck. But you gotta at least try to stick to deadlines too. If you say it'll be done in 18 months, you can't just blow right through that and release it 3 years later, obsessing over every last detail. There has to be a time where you step back and say "It's DONE" and release it.