Sometimes, you just make a dumb decision and see the consequences slowly creep in inevitably. I bought an Xbox 1, well, an original Xbox, at the dawn of the 360 release to play Fable and Jade Empire. No regrets there, but some would not call that great timing. Neither are some games who pointed towards an early summer release on PC timely, knowing in the back of their head that the all-consuming Steam Summer Sale would come up. Yet, several titles did launch. Did you see them? No? Wonder why, right?
Take, for instance, Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies. It sounds like downloadable content (DLC), but it’s actually a standalone expansion for the game that could profit from some newcomers. It launched three days ago, well into the sale. Certainly since Company of Heroes 2 is a PC favorite, its Steam exposure would be vital to initial sales. At least, Sega opted to make the base game a daily deal, but that also doesn’t guarantee any success for the expansion.
A little harsher still, the highly anticipated Shovel Knight launched just now at €14.99, which is indie territory for an “expensive” release. You should know our thoughts about that idea already. Anyway, this is another one of those games that needs just a little exposure to really shine. Its Kickstarter reputation already makes it a success, no worries there. Yet, given recent successes like Spintires recently topping the charts for several days straight, the contrast is palpable as to how much more audience you could attract from a timely release. It could’ve opted to give Kickstarter backers a key already and postpone the release just a few more days for PC. At the time of writing, this is what the top 20 looked like below. Shovel Knight was somewhere in the thirties.
Still, we understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to makeshift a new release date, when a game is tied to other platforms as well. That’s why you won’t see Steam charts for MotoGP 14, released on June 20. Sadly, the same is true for Valliant Hearts, another cute UbiArt project that could’ve really found its little spot in the indie-favorable PC crowd otherwise. It released on June 25. A sudden disappearance will probably hurt Sniper Elite III a little more, especially since it’s otherwise sort of a cult classic on PC. You shoot bullets through testicles in the game; you see why exactly that would be a big hit. It released on June 25, for €45.99. Good luck selling at that price right now.
Worst of all these premature releasers, ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination already had a pretty invisible and brisk time on Early Access. Somehow though, it inexplicably decided on a whim that it would release its full state on the Steam storefront on June 20. There was absolutely no reason for the launch, since it didn’t even set a date before. It could’ve waited two weeks and no one would’ve been the wiser. Now, it’s going to remain a totally anonymous tower defense game. Those don’t really sell like cakes as it is. Go buy this colorful activity, or any of the previous mentions, if you feel for these saps. They’re pretty much all entertaining games.
Not everyone was quite as poor in their timing. For instance, Three Dead Zed cleverly delayed its zombie platform title to July 7. There’s no sense in this small title with otherwise diverse gameplay mechanisms to start competing with the likes of a discounted Goat Simulator.
This is probably also the real reason why Divinity: Original Sin had this sudden impulse to delay the game to “enhance” the full release. They just weren’t super honest about it, which isn’t exactly nice. It would be a pretty big coincidence otherwise that it was featured in the first day of the Steam Summer Sale and that the new date is exactly when it ends. That’s really convenient.
We would normally put an overarching point to longer articles such as these, but really all we had was a slightly disapproving head nod. Maybe the point is that timing is important and just a slight prod in delays could probably be a smarter move, which does more good than it harms from the slight backlash of people who can’t wait two days. It’s basically my entire Twitter history, where I use it to promote anything during some world event, like the end of a war. This seriously happened. I’m not a smart man.