First announced: January 2008
Since then, we’ve seen: A smattering of screenshots and two heart-achingly adorable trailers, the most recent of which was shown at the Tokyo Game Show in September:
Why it’ll be delayed: Honestly? Because we’re horrible pessimists. Experience has taught us that the more we want something, the longer we’re going to have to wait to get it, and we want The Last Guardian really, really bad. Combine that with Team Ico’s exacting “when it’s done” approach to development, and the possibility that the upcoming Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection is a consolation prize to hold fans over, and it naturally follows that TLG’s highly anticipated holiday 2011 release will quietly drift off into the following spring.
Which, if nothing else, would mean it wouldn’t have to jostle with a bunch of mega-sequels during what’s sure to be a crowded holiday season.
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Sony will surprise us at E3 with a playable show-floor demo of The Last Guardian, which will also be included in the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection (or will be available later with a voucher code, if the Collection ships before E3). A few months later, TLG will headline Sony’s holiday lineup alongside Uncharted 3, and by some miracle the two will not eat away at each other’s sales.
First announced: June 2008
Since then, we’ve seen: A bunch of substantial presentations of the game, including a couple of hands-on previews.
Why it’ll be delayed: Because this is Blizzard we’re talking about. BLIZZARD. If Team Ico’s attitude is “when it’s done,” Blizzard’s is “when it’s perfect.” Not that we’re complaining, since both outlooks have produced some incredible games, but they’ve also been responsible for some excruciatingly endless development cycles. Before last year’s release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, we doubted Blizzard’s ability to even release anything that wasn’t a World of Warcraft expansion – and with more Starcraft (allegedly) on the way this year, Diablo III seems no closer now than it did two years ago.
True, a rumored schedule leak appears to confirm that Blizzard’s prepping Diablo III for a holiday release. Even assuming that’s true, though, developers’ good intentions can go wrong even at the best of times – and in the event of a delay, a holiday release gives them nowhere to go except into early 2012.
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): The leaked schedule will not only prove to be real, but Blizzard will actually stick to it. Our first clue will be if Battle.net launches a map store sometime in spring. In that case, it’s pretty likely that we’ll see Diablo III and Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm arrive in time for the holidays, effectively handing total dominance of the PC gaming market to Blizzard.
First announced: May 2008
Since then, we’ve seen: An early teaser trailer, and leaked footage of a gameplay sequence later confirmed by Ubisoft as genuine:
Why it’ll be delayed: Honestly, does anyone really think that we’ll see a Beyond Good & Evil sequel sometime this year? It could happen, seeing as we’ve known about it for three years now, but it’s also pretty damned unlikely. While the cancellation rumors that dogged the game last year proved false, BG&E creator Michel Ancel has gone on record saying that he wants to keep the game’s development team small, so as to “preserve an artistic spirit.” (It may also have something to do with Ubisoft being reluctant to devote too much money and manpower to a sequel to one of its biggest commercial failures, but that’s just conjecture.)
Of course, a smaller team also means a longer turnaround time for a top-tier game like this, and Ancel added that “the project is taking a long time to come out... but we want this project to be truly exceptional.” And if you’ve learned anything from reading this, it should be that a small team plus a big game and a perfectionist attitude equals a probable release sometime in 2015.
Above: For now, Pey’j and Jade seem content to wait it out
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Given that Ancel’s comments were made around six months ago, it’s possible BG&E2 could shock us by suddenly hitting stores during the height of the dry summer months. Not only would that help it avoid repeating the first game’s buried-during-the-holidays fate, but it would be the perfect opportunity to connect with an audience hungry for new releases – an audience that, by the way, will have had a good eight years to discover the excellent original and pine for a sequel.
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