First Up; this article is in no way a slight or troll of Monolith games. Got that out of the way – good!
In 2017, we have had an unprecedented number of high scoring and/or big release games. These include Resident Evil 7, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Shovel Knight: Spectre of Torment, Yooka-Laylee etc etc. The trend for non- Q3 releases has grown over the last few years with the industry seemingly only pausing for E3 (unless SEGA release a console mid-conference) or that Wednesday in July we Brits call ‘Summer’.
Last year, Call of Duty, Battlefield and Titanfall 2 all released close to each other – marginalising each one’s potential audience. Clever money got out of the way of these to avoid being cannibalised by other games – as seen in previous years as Rise of the Tomb Raider suffered at the radioactive jaws of Fallout 4. This Q3 will see the annual Call of Duty, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and the big one; Destiny 2 arrive. Any other FPS would be wise to get out of the way.
Recently, much anticipated Rockstar game Red Dead 2 was delayed until 2018. Any other game, open world or nay, would struggle against this cowboy juggernaught (note to self: great potential anime series name). With Horizon: Zero Dawn and Zelda: Breath of the Wild dominating the open world ‘genre’ (is it a genre?) in Q1 and Red Dead – until recently – having Q3 secure, Monolith wisely pitched their Shadow of Mordor sequel in the end of Summer lull. This move worked for Metal Gear Solid 5 back in 2016.
However, now with Read Dead’s delay, the release date for Shadow of War has been delayed. Is this intentional having seen the opening in the seemingly more lucrative Q3 portion of the calendar? It is surprising it has taken 3 years for this game to surface – perhaps it had already been pushed internally to 2017 to avoid the open world fatigue of 2016. Some might call this a negative move for fans of the series yet this may prove a shrewd move by WB Games – giving this series the spotlight it deserves and – potentially – a wider audience.
Either way, no one likes it when a game is delayed. We all know the quote from Shigeru Miyamoto. Whatever Shadow of War’s reason for delay, hopefully it will push Talion’s adventures from ‘critically acclaimed gem’ to a true AAA franchise…and give us longer to badger WB Games for a review copy 😉