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3 Games That Spent Years in Development Limbo

Even though it usually involves a large combination of skilled teams working together as fast as they can, developing a blockbuster-level videogame can take at least five years on average, according to a Quora response from a freelance video game programmer, Mike Prinke.

He states that creating the various textures and character interactions that you see during gameplay is an incredibly time-consuming process with a lot of trial and error. Debugging faulty code can also cause a giant domino effect, potentially stalling your eagerly anticipated game release, along with all the other complex factors involved.

Without further ado, here’s our list of games that have taken many years to develop:

1. Too Human – 9 years

In our article on ‘Too Human: The Game That Will Never Be’, we explored the evolution of this third-party action “cyberpunk-horror” RPG.

Initially, it was in development for the PlayStation system when it was announced in 1999 but was eventually moved to the Nintendo GameCube system in 2000, then finally to the Xbox 360 in 2005. This lengthy release time is mostly attributed to changes in partnership agreements and the very controversial code theft from Epic Games by Silicon Knights. If you’re curious, it should still be available to download on the Xbox game store for free (as of July 2019), according to a Forbes article on ‘The Bizarre Story Behind ‘Too Human’ — The Game That Killed Silicon Knights’.

2. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – 7 years

StarCraft II is one of the games credited by the community to contribute to the prolific rise of esports. Why did this game take so long to develop despite the success of its predecessor? For one, an article by Variety on StarCraft II and the esports industry recalls how a 2009 interview reported that the game would no longer include local area network (LAN) support and operate on a new platform. This was met with uproar from many fans, with a survey reporting 83 percent of respondents planned to spam Amazon with one-star ratings until it was reinstalled. Eventually, the game was released in 2010 after spending seven long years in development, also due to the temporary reassignment of Blizzard’s resources to the World of Warcraft franchise.

At the height of its popularity, players on a GameFaqs message board couldn’t help but compare StarCraft II to Age of Empires III, the latest iteration of a series of critically acclaimed real-time strategy (RTS) video games that focus on several historical events. Both games are still being played to this day, but it looks like Blizzard has put StarCraft on the backburner, with no news on a potential StarCraft III. Meanwhile, HP reports that Age of Empires IV is already in the works, 13 years after the last game was released. It’s been over two years since Age of Empires IV was announced, so we’ll see how long it takes the devs to finish that one.

3. Final Fantasy XV – 10 years

A highly successful franchise, Final Fantasy’s fifteenth iteration, unfortunately, spent a decade in development. It was initially introduced in 2006, but after many years of silence, the lack of updates, a title change, a director change, and the platform change, one of the Final Fantasy XV designers blamed its lengthy release on the development team, according to an article on Inquisitr on why it took 10 years. The designer Roberto Ferrari (who has since left the development team) referred to the team as highly disorganized, with a staff of “200 suffering souls.” The game’s story changed every three months or so requiring constant changes in terms of its animation. The good news is that its 2016 release has been received relatively well by fans, currently being rated at 81 percent on Metacritic and ranking 8.2 out of 10 on IGN.

Although they’ve spent almost a decade (or a whole decade) in development, many fans would say that these releases are worth the wait. Anticipation can make the heart grow fonder, and in the world of video games, there’s always something new to play in the meantime to keep the wait from becoming too painful.

And as we know well, being release late it’s always better than being cancelled and lost forever

Unseen Interview: Massimiliano Di Monda (Raylight Studios)

While working on our book about lost video games, we were able to interview many developers who worked on cancelled projects, but we had to cut some of these interviews from the book because of the 480 pages limit. As promised, we are going to publish all the missing articles directly in our website, and the following interview is one of these! During his career Massimiliano Di Monda has worked at Pixelstorm and Raylight Studios on such lost games as Monster Truck Madness (Microsoft), Dukes of Hazzard (Ubisoft) and Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid tech demos for GBA.

raylight-studios-interview

Unseen64: To start this interview, we would like to ask you to introduce yourself to our readers: we’d love to know more about your career in the gaming industry and what you are working on today.

Massimiliano: I started working in the world of video games through a friend who worked at Namco in London, we exchanged technical advice on some video games, at some point he told me that there was a team in Naples that was working on a new project and asked me if I wanted to participate. From there, I began this adventure.

So I started to work on video games in 1996 from zero in the QA department, and after years of experience I got into designing and producing video games. In these 19 years, I worked at Raylight Studios on about 30 products for a variety of platforms, ranging from Sony PlayStation and Nintendo GameBoy Color, PC, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and mobile platforms. In 2002 / 2003, I worked at Wing Commander Prophecy for the Nintendo GameBoy Advance, the game was named runner up (2nd place) at E3 2002 in Los Angeles in the best technological excellence category (first place was Monkey Ball). Most recently I worked on games such as the much-acclaimed Sniper Elite for Nintendo Wii, published by Reef Entertainment; My Little Baby (1st prize winner Samsung Bada contest in 2010, Nokia / Microsoft App Campus selected project in 2012) for various platforms including Android and iOS; I also worked on a number of ports and bundles titles for Nintendo 3DS. At the moment we are working on PS4 games, Xbox One, mobile, VR and some original IP which I still can not name.

 

Best Video Games Books: Our Top 100+ List!

best video games books list

To celebrate the release of our book “Video Games You Will Never Play” (published in September 2016), we would like to suggest to you even more amazing video game books you can read while trapped at home during the upcoming cold winter or to buy as a Christmas present for your nerd cousin who loves video games. There are already many “top 10 books” lists with some nice suggestions (such as the ones at Goodreads, Wikipedia, Games Radar, Heavy, PC Gamer and The New Yorker), but those usually don’t have less known titles we love and often they list the same books over and over. We’d like to suggest many more books related to games, with the help of our readers, like you!

This long list with all our favorite games-related books (available in English) was originally meant to be added as a bonus in our own volume, but as we had to cut a lot of content to fit our articles in the 480 pages limit, this “best video game books” list had to be canned too. In the end we decided to still finish this huge article and to publish it on our website, so here it is!

We also asked to some of our favorite authors and gaming historians (such as Bob Pape, Brian Schrank, Chris Kohler, Clyde Mandelin, Felipe Pepe, Gabe Durham, Jeremy Parish, Jesper Juul, John Szczepaniak, Nathan Altice, Nick Montfort, Rob Strangman and Sorrel Tilley) to suggest a book themselves and in the end, we collected more than 100 titles. We would like to add even more videogames books, to create the most complete list ever to help people to find the most interesting ones. Each book is listed with details, price, number of pages, size and average price on Amazon, so you can easily compare them (remember: always check the current price on Amazon, as they often change day by day and could be on sale!).

If you know of other great video game books that should be added, please leave a message below with a short description to explain why you loved that book, so we can include it in our list! Thanks a lot for your help :)

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