Today Electronic Arts announced that they´d release some games until 2010, Mass Effect 2 being one of them (and Dead Space for Wii, awsome). We´re at the beginning of the year 2009 now, so that´s one year from its release. And ME3, because this franchise was announced to be a trilogy, has no set release date, yet. There are many games that share the same fate, or should i say, many gamers.
It´s not really that news of today that got me starting to think about this, i rather use it as a pull towards this topic. Games, but also movies, are often announced many years before they´re released. Some examples are Square Enix and the Final Fantasy-series, the Lord of the Rings-movies, where you knew, you would have to wait 3 years to see them all…not even counting the time these movies were in work. Or you have Nintendo, who usually release only one game per franchise within the span of a whole console generation.
There is no way i would complain about all of them taking their time for the highest possible quality, but…you have to look at all that from another perspective: Your life´s.
How old are you going to be? 65? 70? 80? Maybe 100 and then some. But if you´re not super lucky, around 75 years would be a good achievement. Now think about that: Today you get to know: The game you want so much will be released in three or four years. One reaction could be a positive one, because you now know that this game is in development. But you could also wonder about that: Will i live long enough to be able to play this game?
My problem on this matter is that three or four or five years, whatever the time span between announcement and release is, makes a substantial part of your very own life time. Or look at it like that: If you´re going to become 75 years old and your started gaming with 10, you´d have 13 generations of consoles that are released within your life time. Though everything points towards longer console life circles, so make that less than 10 generations. Basically, if you´re now 25 years old, you have around 5-7 generations of consoles ahead of your life. Now take specific games and you´ll see: You´ll see Final Fantasy 20…but you´re not going to see Final Fantasy 21. Because you´re dead.
Of course, many would answer that 5-7 more generations of consoles are enough for them, but there´s a closer problem: Within the span of 3-5 years, many things can happen. Especially today, where all kind of horrible diseases are floating around. Don´t forget stupid traffic accidents and crime. To make a long matter short: The speed game´s are produced at nowadays, is so slow and the wait so long that the wait for them is effecting a gamer´s life. No, i´m not talking about some nerd gamers that can´t live without games, i´m just talking about your average gaming enthusiast that loves a certain franchise…and knows that it´s going to take five more years until he can play his game. Games may not have the priority to be super worried about all that, but as i guy that loves his hobby, i can´t help myself and stop thinking about how horrible long those development times are. And if i´ll be able to play the next Zelda-game. I could be dead by then.