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:
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.
2020 is coming soon and as every year we’d like to review what we did last year and make some plans for the new one.
As most of you know we work on Unseen64 in our own free time, after a long day of our day-jobs. We take away this extra time from our sleep, friends andfamily just to search info on lost games, write articles, read Unseen64 related emails, reply to messages on social networks, resolve technical issues on the site, save media and contact developers.
Here are some of the lost games we archived on Unseen64 in 2019:
You see a few articles published on the site every week, but to keep Unseen64 alive we invest dozens of hours of work every week. 95% of needed work is done by monokoma and in the last few years it became harder and harder to find more people who can help the site steadily. Most contributors just write one or two articles, before vanishing forever.
As we wrote in 2018 working for Unseen64 is getting harder and harder every year. In 2019 we had the same issues: people are not much interested in a website of this kind, especially when popular lost games are already unveiled and well known. It’s hard to keep the interest high and find new support on Patreon:
We still have hundreds of lost games for console and PC to write about, but most of them are obscure projects by small studios. There are no more popular projects like “Resident Evil 1.5” or “Sonic Xtreme” to uncover or it’s almost impossible to gather information about them.
Even for those obscure and little cancelled games, it became harder to receive more details and write good articles. Some years ago we could contact 5 developers who worked on a lost game and we would get at least 2 or 3 answers. Now we contact 10 or 20 developers and 99% of the time we never get any answer. Internet has become a fearsome place, where news could deform and spread uncontrollably on social networks. Developers seem scared to talk about their old jobs, because they don’t want to get in trouble.
Without being able to get in contact with developers, we cannot even save more screenshots or footage from many lost games we are researching. With no exclusive images or videos, we cannot even keep up with Patreon higher tier bonuses. This means people who donate to get bonuses are not happy (and we understand their disappointment).
Without details and without good footage, we cannot create interesting video articles. In 2019 we just dropped our plans to create new videos, because we can’t get new information from developers. With the few details, screens and videos available is best if we focus on preserving some memories from these lost games in our website.
Most people are not interested in supporting an old website in the age of Youtubers. With no interesting video content, not many people support Unseen64 on Patreon and we are not shared on major websites anymore. Many years ago those same websites would write news for many of the lost games we wrote in our site in 2019. Today if you don’t make a good video about it, you are not picked up by those websites.
Is Unseen64 doomed? Not yet.
Thanks to people like you who read articles on our website and support us on Patreon we survived 2019.
We still work every week to keep Unseen64 alive, instead of closing it down:
We keep remembering those obscure lost games on Unseen64, even if most people don’t care about them.
We keep sending emails to developers, even if 99% of the time we never get a reply.
We write as much as we can about a lost game, by doing deep-research online, in old magazines, closed websites, developers’ resumes and online portfolios.
Unseen64 support on Patreon remained stable in 2019 (it did not grow, but it did not decrease much compared to 2018).
We keep working on other methods to raise funds (as with StoryBundle ebooks and publishing short physical books using the same content we publish on the site).
We were able to lower fixed expenses for the site (asking for a discount and cheaper support to our server provider), saving money with no major issues for the site. This means that in 2020 we’ll spend less for the U64 server!
Patreon is essential for the survival of a niche project like Unseen64, a website mostly managed by a single italian guy in this age of Youtube and gaming videos in english.
In 2019 we were able to stay alive by focusing on text-articles about obscure lost games.
This is already a huge victory for Unseen64 :)
Will 2020 follow this trend? We’ll have to wait and see.
We are really grateful for your kind words and your help: without our Patrons, Unseen64 would already be dead. You prompt us to keep doing this, even during the hardest times.
Big gaming networks such as IGN, Polygon or Kotaku have the resources to own powerful servers and to pay a team to work full-time on their websites, keeping them online and publishing daily updates.
We don’t have their resources, but we have you: a community of gamers interested in preserving the unseen history of video games.
We’d like to thank all of you who are currently helping U64 on Patreon:
Joshua, gamemast15r, Sez, Malkavio, Thomas, chubigans, Patrick, Becki, Alex S., Marco, Patryk, Nick, Jordan, Reoko, Davidlee, Marty, Cody, Lachlan, Jake, James, Matthew, Rylan, Jessi, Riptide, Renee, Mcsahon, Itay, Faisal, Julian, Shane, Kaleb, Emily, Vitor, Joe, Peter, Robert O., Nathan, Alexandy1, Kirk, Robert D., Pedro, Ehren, Bransfield, Thibaut, joef0x, Conrad, Nick, Daniel, TheUnbeholden, MARTAZIA, Knight, Ben, The Video Game History Foundation, The Outpost Network, allan, tydaze, Gabe, Tim, Thomas, Mauro, Olivier, Alex M., Anders, Joe, James, Paul S., Brice, Guilherme, Alpha, Paul, Josh, Dan, Niels, Lou, Matthew, PtoPOnline, Jesus, Brandon, Martin, James, Tony, Christopher, Liam, DidYouKnowGaming, Cameron, Goffredo and everyone else! (did we forget someone?)
In the same bundle you can also find many interesting eBooks about less known video games and their history.
Funds raised with this eBook bundle will support Unseen64, the other books authors and you can also choose to donate 10% to the Video Game History Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to cataloging, digitizing, and preserving the history of video games.
As the weather turns chilly and the scents of falling leaves and woodsmoke perfume the air, StoryBundle’s Fall Ball Game Bundle invites you to fill your dance card with nine DRM-free books about game development and culture. Hit the dance floor while you can: the Fall Ball Game Bundle is available for a limited time on StoryBundle.
Shacknews and David L. Craddock present Beneath a Starless Sky: Pillars of Eternity and the Infinity Engine Era of RPGs, a deep dive of over 600 pages detailing the making of classics like Baldur’s Gate 1 and II, Icewind Dale, and Obsidian Entertainment’s critically acclaimed Pillars of Eternity series.
Boss Fight Books and author Reyan Ali drive to the basket with NBA Jam, the compelling behind-the-scenes story of the greatest b-ball arcade game of all time. Includes interviews with series creator Mark Turmell and Tim Kitzrow, voice of NBA Jam’s iconic announcer. In The Walkthrough: Insider Tales from a Life in Strategy Guides, bestselling author Doug Walsh shares stories of his career writing tips, tricks, and walkthroughs for guide publishers such as BradyGames.
Alongside those DRM-free eBooks, John Harris is back with a meaty tome of advice and tips on building your own adventures in RPG Maker, Hardcore Gaming 101 haunts readers with stories of retro horror games, and much more. – David L. Craddock
StoryBundle is a pay-what-you-want platform for independent authors to share their works with readers (and gamers) like you. Paying at least $5 will get you three books from the Fall Ball Game Bundle, while paying $15 or more unlocks six bonus books.
HG101 Presents: Star Fox and F-Zero by Kurt Kalata
Pleasant Dreams: The Welcoming Play of Kirby’s Dream Land by Joel Couture
Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 Video Games You Will Never Play by Unseen64
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all three of the regular books, plus SIX more books!
HG101 Presents: The Guide to Retro Horror by Kurt Kalata
Level Up! A JRPG Creator’s Handbook by John Harris
The Walkthrough: Insider Tales from a Life in Strategy Guides by Doug Walsh
GameDev Stories: Volume 4 by David L. Craddock
Beneath a Starless Sky by David L. Craddock
Boss Fight Books: NBA Jam by Reyan Ali
This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi and some .pdf) for all books!
The original Without Warning was a third-person shooter developed by Circle Studio and published by Capcom in 2005 for Playstation 2 and Xbox. As we can read on Wikipedia “Gameplay varies depending on which character is being played. In the case of the Special Forces members and the security guard, is generally fast-paced, as is often the case with arcade-style shooters. The remaining two characters rely far more on stealth over action.“
When the first game was released Circle Studio was already working on an early prototype for a sequel, possibly to publish it on the new generation of consoles: xbox 360 and PS3. Unfortunately Without Warning was received with low review scores and sold poorly, making the studio rethink their market strategy.
They switched their resources making DVD games rather than video games, so Without Warning 2 was cancelled. In the end the company was still closed in 2007. Only a few screenshots from an early Without Warning 2 tech demo are preserved below, to remember its existence.
In the same bundle you can also find many interesting eBooks about less known video games and their history.
Funds raised with this eBook bundle will support Unseen64, the other books authors and you can also choose to donate 10% to Pixelles, a non-profit initiative committed to helping more women make and change games.
Praise the sun while you can: the festivals and hazy warmth of summer is all too fleeting. Luckily, you can capture the spirit of these carefree days forever with the Endless Summer Game Bundle, available for a limited time on StoryBundle.
David L. Craddock’s Arcade Perfect: How Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and Other Coin-Op Classics explores the lengths to which developers went to squeeze classic arcade games onto home consoles, handhelds, and personal computers. Craddock’s GameDev Stories: Volume 3 digs deeper into arcades and home conversions with a selection of interviews from legendary designers such as Asteroids co-programmer Ed Logg and Mortal Kombat “ko-kreator” John Tobias.
John Harris steps up to represents great – or at least serviceably good – NES games that get a bad rap today in 8-bit Obituaries. Boss Fight Books author Alex Kane visits one of the most beloved space ports in that famous galaxy far, far away in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a fantastic oral history of the making of BioWare’s blockbuster RPG.
Alongside those DRM-free eBooks, Hardcore Gaming 101’s Kurt Kalata takes an epic journey through cult classics on the NES, Select Start Press looks at the games your teachers have been playing, and much more.
StoryBundle is a pay-what-you-want platform for independent authors to share their works with readers (and gamers) like you!
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format – WORLDWIDE.
● 8-Bit Obituaries by John Harris ● HG101 Presents: The Guide to Shoot-em-ups Vol. 1 by Kurt Kalata ● What Your Teachers Are Playing by Christian Cardenas and Dylan Altman ● Handheld Video Games You Will Never Play by Unseen64
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!
● GameDev Stories – Volume 3 by David L. Craddock ● Arcade Perfect by David L. Craddock ● Boss Fight Books: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic by Alex Kane ● HG101 Presents: Unofficial Guide to Konami Shooters by Kurt Kalata ● History of Digital Games: Developments in Art, Design and Interaction by Andrew Williams ● HG101 Presents: NES Cult Classics by Kurt Kalata
This bundle is available only for a limited time via storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
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