UT2004 in 2004

Though Epic Games' official policy regarding release dates has been "when it's done" since long before Unreal Tournament 2004 was announced, Atari sends along a note acknowledging that they were targeting the UT2003 follow-up for release before the end of this year, but that this goal has slipped. Here's what they have to say:
Atari and Epic Games announced today that the release date for Unreal Tournament 2004, the highly anticipated follow-up to last year's smash Unreal Tournament 2003, has been moved to February 2004.

The game was previously slated for release during the 2003 Holiday season.
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What the hell is so difficult about getting a game done on time? Look at cutting edge movies like Jurassic Park, which at its time revolutionized CGI graphics. I don’t remember hearing anything about that date being pushed back. While its true that movies are pushed back, Timeline was pushed back, but will be in theaters very soon now, most of the time that isn’t the case. Part of the reason is that they aren’t stupid enough to make unrealistic goals. Lord of the Rings gave themselves years before the first movie, and 2 more years for the other two movies so that they could reshoot some scenes, complete editing, and incorporate time for CGI. Star Wars films take 3 years each. But you know what, these films get done on time.

If the good folks at Epic said that UT2k4 would be out March 1st, 2004, then we would have been fine with that.
If the stellar group from ID said Doom3 would be done on April 29th, 2004, then we would surrender to the wait.
If the bungling fools at Valve told us that HL2 would be available in June 2005, then we would still thought they were awesome.

I think that game developers need to think about what they are doing, how long it will take, then add 25% more time to it. I mean let’s look at the public reaction to this. Let’s say Valve had said from the start, in May of this year at E3, that Half-Life 2 would be available in June 2005. We would have been resigned to wait, and then check this out, they release it a whole year early in June 2004. Instead of being bozos, they would have been heroes! We would be attacking other developers for promising dates & falling through, saying you guys suck, look at Valve, they got their game done a whole year early! You guys suck ass!

I’m really sick of these assholes falling through on their promises. Telling us that it uses this & this architecture and such & such brand new original features and incredible lifelike AI. Then after you wait through two delays, you get the game & wonder what the fuck they did with the extra time. You discover that for the most part, nothing’s new. In some cases you see the blatent greed of a company that is releasing an expansion pack as an original product (ala Jedi Knight Academy).

All I can say is that it’s a damned good thing the movie industry isn’t like this. Otherwise we might be watching Jurassic Park 4 and everything is going good, but then that damned bug creeps back in & we have to wait until a patch comes out before we can see the movie as it was meant to be seen. Or, we might have to wait until March 22nd to see Return of the King. Or we might not even know when it was coming out because at every interview Peter Jackson would say, when it’s done.


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