Five holiday releases that should have been delayed to 2012

As 2011 comes to an end, it’s easy to get retrospective. Looking back at the past year in games is an annual pastime of gamers, but it’s also a good time for industry observers like us to play Captain Hindsight, Monday morning quarterback-ing the events of the year and pointing out the errors of developers and publishers. The easiest mistakes to spot come when publishers rush to get their games out before the holiday season - sometimes to the detriment of the game's quality, or sometimes only to see it buried under an avalanche of other, higher-profile releases. Out of all of the games released in the past few months, these five could have benefited the most from a bump out of the holidays into a more open 2012.

Battlefield 3

Release date: October 25, 2011

Why it should have been delayed: We said on several occasions that Battlefield 3’s multiplayer experience is one of the best of the year – and that’s a year that includes Call of Duty, Gears of War, and plenty of other thrilling multiplayer shooters. We also gave it an 8/10 in our review, declaring that it might be your game of the year, if multiplayer is your focus.

But by going up against Call of Duty, EA and DICE entered into an entirely new battle, and it’s one that they didn’t win. Battlefield 3 gained nothing by going up against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 except for unfair expectations and comparisons. Since EA decided to put them head-to-head, it became a competition – a war. Suddenly, every element of Battlefield had to be better than every element of Call of Duty, and it simply wasn’t. The multiplayer might be, but the single-player campaign was a disappointment, and that was enough for many to write the game off as a failure. It still sold well, but it likely would have sold much better early in 2012, when Call of Duty players would be getting tired of playing Call of Duty, instead of feverishly looking forward to it.

Rayman: Origins

Release date: November 15, 2011

Why it should have been delayed: Two generations ago, Rayman could go toe-to-toe with most other big-name platformers. Now, the Rayman name doesn’t carry the same weight it used to. Ubisoft knew this, that’s why it slowly pried Rayman out of the Raving Rabbids series until he had absolutely nothing to do with it. Despite this, Ubi still thought it was a good idea to launch a 2D platformer for $60 in the middle of November.

Rayman: Origins' release date rubbed up against every big release. It came out a few days after Skyrim, a few days before Call of Duty, and the same day as Assassin’s Creed, which is also published by Ubisoft. We understand that Ubi can’t really be held accountable for other major publishers throwing their games out around the same time it intended to, but it could at least have made sure that it didn’t release two of its biggest games on the same day. That’s just bad business sense. And despite being an absolutely fantastic game, Origins sold dismally, not even scratching the NPD sales list for November. Discounts may have helped it move a few more units (and you should totally buy it, too, as we explained in our 9/10 review), but we’re not going to be happy when Ubisoft says that it has “no plans for future Rayman games due to the sales of Origins,” which is totally something it is going to say.



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  • Fiirestorm21 - January 12, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    I'd like to also add both Resistance 3 and R&C All 4 One from Insomniac Games. As a big fan of the studios and specifically and additionally both individual series, it was heartbreaking to see both released in unpolished states late in the year up against many other big titles. Both would have benefitted greatly from being pushed back to 2012.
  • Joco84 - January 3, 2012 6:57 a.m.

    GR, could you do me a favour and let me know if Bethesda ever sort out the lag issues with the PS3 version. I really want to play it, but I'm not going to touch it until I know that issue is fixed. Thanks!
  • KainStrider - January 2, 2012 6:02 p.m.

    Yeah but BF3 is going to get traded in sooner than Skyrim is. BF3 has stellar multiplayer but people online are still mentally, deficient, immature peons.
  • mothbanquet - January 3, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    I are not!!
  • d3v - January 1, 2012 7:43 p.m.

    But a TES game without bugs just isn't a TES game.
  • FriendlyFire - December 31, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    I know it might be stretching the definition of "holiday release", but still... Sword of the Stars II. This game should've been delayed at the very least to holiday 2012, perhaps even later. If you think any game on your list was botched, think again. I find SOTS more enjoyable than Total War (which are arguably similar on many fronts), but SOTS2 was such a pitiful excuse for a game it overshadowed Elemental on the scale of broken and nearly reached Big Rigs. At least they're patching it, but patching this is akin to putting plasters on a sinking ship.
  • talleyXIV - December 31, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    Rayman: Origins is becoming the new Okami very quickly.
  • GR HollanderCooper - December 31, 2011 9:21 p.m.

    Sad but true.
  • Redeater - December 31, 2011 11:01 p.m.

    That isn't true. I'm going to remember Okami a month from now. Ba Dum Dum
  • GhostNappa2k10 - January 3, 2012 9:19 a.m.

    Thing is, Rayman Origins WILL be remembered. You ask an average game what Okami is and (sadly) they'll have no clue. HOWEVER, you ask an average game who Rayman is, and they'll know. They're both incredible games that NEED to be experienced, and I'm sure they'll both be remembered.
  • coltsfanca - December 31, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    When I saw the title of this article, Skyrim was the first thing that came to mind. I know, without a doubt, that they rushed this game so that they could put it on the market during the holiday season and boost sales. A smart move: yes...but the game suffers heavily from it, especially if you're a PS3 owner like me.
  • ShowMeYourKitties - December 31, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    Also, Skyrim was released before finals for most everyone... dicks.
  • shawksta - December 31, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    Rayman origins was awesome, especially for long time rayman fans. Ubisoft messed up but hopefully they dont think rayman bombed because of itself. They need to learn release dates!
  • RedHarlow - December 31, 2011 12:58 p.m.

    War in the North could have used some work, there still hasn't been a really good Lord of the Rings game. I played the demo and it seemed like it would be a fun co-op game once it gets cheap (like the other LOTR game), but it was a bit rusty.
  • frankenfurter - January 1, 2012 6:33 p.m.

    The battle for middle earth 2 was a great game (if your a fan of RTS).