"Man, this is slow going! Sand, water, stairs, creeks, angry sea lions! We are walking at most 2 miles per hour, half as fast as we wanted. We can either start walking 20 hours per day, or we can push our friends out another week. OK, let’s split the difference: we’ll walk 12 hours per day and push our friends out til the following weekend. We call them and delay dinner until the following Sunday. They are a little peeved but say OK, we’ll see you then."
There are three kinds of video game news items: a game was announced, somebody said something stupid, and a game was delayed. As people who are perennially looking forward to some game or another, and are perennially disappointed when it's pushed months or even years past its lanned release date, it's easy to shake our heads at those clueless developers. "How could they have possibly not gotten this down yet?" we wonder to ourselves, polishing our monocles.
Well, the problem with making new stuff is that nobody's sure how to make it yet, as software entrepreneur Michael Wolfe illustrates in a wonderful Oregon Trail-inspired metaphor. Even the best design document won't account for all of the unexpected circumstances that could arise as materials coalesce and visions come into focus. There's a reason Call of Duty can come out every year, like clockwork: they already know what they're making because they've already made quite a bit of it.