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  • Duke Nukem Forever is a decade-long example due to Development Hell and Vaporware; it was "coming soon" for 14 years before finally being released in June 2011 (after suffering one last one month delay, a fact the developers readily lampshaded). It took transferring property of the game from 3DRealms to Gearbox to make it happen.
  • All Blizzard products have a release time of "Soon" (TM). Diablo III began development in 2001 shortly after the release of the Diablo II expansion pack. It would be eleven years before it would finally release. It wasn't officially announced until 2008, and then didn't hit beta until 2011, before finally releasing in 2012.
    • Meanwhile, the long-promised 1.13 patch for Diablo II took two years to come out after its previous patch, finally dropping in 2010. Then again, it's impressive that Blizzard continued to patch a game that was nine years old by then, especially at a point where most other developers were beginning to jump on the bandwagon of dropping support the instant a game turned a single year old.
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    • After a 12-year wait, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was released, only to have one of the three races (Terran) come with a Single Player campaign. In order to play Zerg 1P, you will have to purchase a full-blown Mission-Pack Sequel called Heart of the Swarm, which was still in development two years after; open beta was announced (not started, just announced) in August 2012 and it finally released in March 2013. Legacy of the Void, the Protoss campaign, took another two years until its release in November 2015. By contrast, Brood War, a "mere" Expansion Pack, came out the same year as the original StarCraft with all three races given fully playable single player campaigns, just like in the original. On the other hand, while StarCraft gave you three races with 10 missions each, Wings of Liberty shipped with a Terran campaign featuring 26 missions all on its own.
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    • Averted with World of Warcraft: Cataclysm when it was released prior to 2011 on December 7, 2010. It was an Obvious Beta compared to other expansions, but after Burning Crusade had to be pushed back to 2007 (Original release date was sometime in November 2006) and the game was playable, that they could launch it.
    • Averted with World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria only because they didn't give any release date at all up until two months prior to release. (Although lots of information had been released about development and there was an open beta, so it wasn't a big surprise.)
  • Valve, the developers of Half-Life, Team Fortress 2, and Left 4 Dead are notorious for continued delays on their release dates - so much so that their fandom has coined the term "Valve Time" to refer to the manner in which they can single-handedly dilate time around themselves. This is probably mostly thanks to Valve's loose internal corporate structure, where no-one has a single, set-in-stone role to play in the company. They claim it is due to their attempts to produce high-quality games that are fun, and the developer commentary often mentions features that were not fun that had to be discarded, which certainly consumes time. Even Valve's own wiki pokes fun at it:
    Valve time for Episode 3:
    Announcement: Christmas of 2007
    Actual: Coincident with the Rapture (no, not that one)
    • The Team Fortress Comics series is a particularly bad case of "Valve Time". The seven-issue story arc was originally intended to be bi-monthly... but even from the beginning, it only updated every four months at absolute best, and continued getting worse from there (issue #4 came in October 2014, six months after #3, #5 followed ten months later in August 2015, and #6 came seventeen months later in January 2017; we're still waiting on #7). Valve themselves have lampshaded this, first questioning the term "bi-monthly" and then joking that the comic would be annual instead. Additional lampshading was provided by the cover of issue #2, which bears the legend "70 LATE PAGES!"
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    • Averted with Left 4 Dead 2. Valve intentionally released the game on a fixed schedule (exactly a year after the first game was released) to prove they can release on time. Fans to this day still argue whether or not this was a good thing, due to several issues the game brought up, particularly whether it was enough of a step forward.
      • However, Valve Time kicked in for The Passing DLC, although not too extreme. It was announced to be released around March 2010 and it got delayed by a month. The Cold Stream DLC was a much bigger example of Valve Time; the beta was released in March of 2011 and several release date windows were posted and passed (end of summer, on Halloween, and end of the year) and the full version wasn't released until July of 2012. Even the Xbox 360 version wasn't released on time due to some update problems and would be released a week later. This left Xbox owners extremely upset due to all the waiting.
    • In some cases like the above, there's also "Reverse Valve Time".
    • Even fan games aren't immune to this. Black Mesa, the fan remake of Half-Life on the Source engine, released a trailer claiming the game would be released in 2009. This claim stood until early 2010 when they stopped giving any estimates on a release date until around when it was finally released in late 2012. The September 2012 released wasn't even the entire game. The last four chapters (the Xen section) became available for public testing in June 2019.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • A letter packaged with The Elder Scrolls Legends: Battlespire promises that Morrowind will be released around late 1998. Morrowind would be released in 2002.
    • Due to the (relatively) long time between the release of Skyrim and the Mod API for said game, and the fact that the hold up seems to be due to problems with incorporating Steamworks support, its become a minor meme to say that Bethesda is running on Valve Time.
  • Krin, the guy responsible for the Sonny games, has no definite release date for Sonny 3. Members on the Armor Games forums frequently speculate when Sonny 3 will come out. For a time, people actually thought the guy was dead.
  • Daikatana: In 1997, an ad is released that promises that "John Romero's about to make you his bitch". At E3 1997, a Christmas release is promised and missed. Christmas 1998 was promised and missed. Eventually, Romero claims that "Come hell or high water, the game will be done on February 15, 1999." Well, it wasn't. It finally was in April 14, 2000.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl was announced in 2006 and set for a 2007 release. But because they already had one third-party character in the game (Solid Snake), and fans demanded another third-party character to be added (Sonic the Hedgehog), the game had to be delayed until Feb. 2008. Then when February was near, the game was delayed until March because they wanted to work out some bugs in the online system (although the online was still very buggy even in the finished product), and so the game finally saw a release in March.
    • Kid Icarus: Uprising also went through several delays too. It was initially announced in 2010 as a launch title for the Nintendo 3DS, but when the 3DS's launch neared, it was delayed until August of that year. August came around, and the game was delayed until November or December. Then it was delayed until early 2012, which was when it was finally released.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS was going to be released in summer 2014, but was released in October instead.
    • The promotional blog for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was forced to miss its Friday update on the week an earthquake hit Hokkaido.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. A 2006 trailer pranked viewers by setting a 2008 release date before crossing out the "8" and replacing it with a "7." Hilariously, the game did get delayed and wasn't released until June 2008.
  • X Rebirth was initially announced for a fourth quarter 2011 release, but was delayed until late 2013. The devs and beta testers were barred from talking freely about it thanks to non-disclosure agreements imposed by the publisher, meaning some fans were half-convinced it had become vaporware based on the lack of information. CBJ, the one dev who visits the forum on a regular basis, consistently denied this to be the case. Backlash is starting to set in, especially when one ill-advised poster compared the news blackout to a Nazi regime. Yeah, the moderators loved that... (Factor in that Egosoft is based in Germany.) Oh, and since Rebirth will be Steam-exclusive, other people were also joking that Egosoft is running on Valve time. The game's nigh-unplayable Obvious Beta state at release showed that the schedule slip wasn't enough, possibly as a result of publisher deadlines.
  • Artix Entertainment has neglected to update both MechQuest and HeroSmash in terms of storyline, instead opting to add items and minor bugfixes. WarpForce has been confirmed as an Orphaned Series.
  • Gears of War 3 was set for release in Spring 2011 but ended up being pushed back to September 2011. Officially it was to polish the game and work out balancing issues with the multiplayer (don't go there) but for most it seemed like a blatant attempt to get it released around the holiday season.
  • Working Designs was notorious for this. ADV Films delayed the Arc the Lad anime to come out the same time as the game. In fact, due to a combination of the usual schedule troubles and legal battles, Magic Knight Rayearth earned the dubious distinction of being the last game released for the Sega Saturn (outside of Japan, anyway).
  • Rayman Legends was announced in early 2012 as a Wii U launch title. Later in the year, when the WiiU was nearing launch, it was delayed until February 2013, because the game still wasn't finished yet. Then when February neared, the game was delayed until September, to coincide with the multiplatform release (a decision made because of ZombiU's sales not meeting expectations), even though the Wii U version was already 100% complete and ready to ship.
  • In 2006, Square Enix announced a game for PS3 called Final Fantasy Versus XIII with an elaborate trailer and a promise of "Coming soon", but production hadn't even started yet. In 2009, the first actual gameplay footage is shown. After this, very little is said about the game other than the occasional trailer and the promise that it still exists in spite of a lot of the staff being pulled away to work on other projects. The game would not go into full production until 2011, by which time the next set of consoles were already being talked about internally. At E3 2013, a full eight years after the initial announcement of Versus XIII, they confirmed that the game would eventually see release... as a multiplatform game called Final Fantasy XV, still with no release date. On January 30, 2016, an "Active Time Report" shed a lot of light on the game, confirmed it was 80% complete, and that it was set to release that year with a specific date announced on March 30, 2016, which was revealed to be September 30th, 2016. That's a 10-year development cycle. And then to add insult to injury, Square-Enix sheepishly announced in August 2016 that the release date had to be pushed back another 2 months to November 29, 2016 to fix some last-minute Day 1 release issues. So that's actually a 10-and-a-half year dev cycle (the game was first revealed to exist to the public in May 2006).
  • Star Citizen was announced for a November 2014 release but has had the date pushed back to early 2015. As of December 31, 2015, The Other Wiki lists it as "To be announced 2016".
  • The The Legend of Zelda franchise has a history of this when it comes to its home console installments, with the only two to avoid this being Majora's Mask note  and The Wind Waker. note 
    • Ocarina of Time was originally planned for a late 1997 release, which slowly got pushed into the following seasons before releasing in November 1998.
    • Twilight Princess was initially slated as a Holiday 2005 title for the Nintendo GameCube but ended up being delayed to November 2006 in order to be a Wii launch title, with the Gamecube version being released the following month.
    • Skyward Sword aimed for a late 2010 release that ultimately became a November 2011 release.
    • Breath of the Wild initially unveiled as a 2015 release before a delay to 2016 was announced, which was later followed by a delay to 2017 to be both a Wii U and Nintendo Switch title.
    • To show just how long this has been going on for the series, The Official Nintendo Player's Guide (a forerunner to Nintendo Power and other strategy guides) mentioned Zelda II: The Adventure of Link as coming out in 1987, while it didn't actually get released until the following year. Yes, the schedule was slipping as of the second game in the franchise.
  • An entire game console was infamous for having this happen with most of its games. The Nintendo 64, due to how difficult it was to develop games for (thanks to both the cartridge unit and some rather odd hardware design choices—such as no dedicated sound chip), was notorious for its games being constantly delayed, and for long waits in between games. It wasn't uncommon for PlayStation 1 and Sega Saturn games to be released a good year or two later on the system, and it was frequently criticized by both the press and gamers alike for its relative lack of games. The situation became so bad, in fact, that Nintendo frequently tried to justify it by saying that they believed in quality over quantity.
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited's European release was stated for February 2013. While the PC version was released that month, the WiiU/3DS versions were pushed to March, then April, then May, then September and finally were set in a Nintendo Direct for December 2013.
  • The Last Guardian was announced in 2007 or 2008, and still, practically no information has been given on it. Sony Computer Entertainment confirmed as of early 2013 that it is "still in development", and was finally released in December 2016, nine years after announcement.
  • Starbound was initially slated for release in summer of 2013, but missed its mark. The dev team then settled on a loose release date of "when it's done", but released the beta of the game in December 2013.
  • Dead State is having some issues with this. Mainly because a quarter of the Dev Team lives in Ukraine, which is in the middle of a civil war.
  • An inherent aspect of any crowdfunded game that got noticeably more than the base amount they asked for (such as the aforementioned Star Citizen, or Wasteland 2). The reason is, of course, that the original estimated release date is based on being able to just make the game, a larger budget means more stuff being put in the game, and some of that stuff will take more time to develop than the original schedule (you can only get so far with hiring more people).
  • Bayonetta 2 was said to be released in the summer of 2014 during February 2014's Nintendo Direct. Nintendo's E3 stream later that year stated that it will instead be released in the fall (September for Japan, October everywhere else).
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was set for a November 2013 release, then a December release, until it was finally released in February 2014.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U was said to release in 2014, until Nintendo's E3 stream in 2014, which confirmed a 2015 release instead. It ended up getting released in April 2015 in Japan and December 2015 overseas.
  • Kingdom of Loathing releases a new donation item every month, and a pair of special donation familiars every year. Ostensibly they're supposed to replace the old ones immediately after rollovernote  of the last day, but occasionally, since the devteam is fairly small and everyone wants to make sure the items are sufficiently awesome, development runs a bit longer than anticipated. And then sometimes the delays get their own delays.
    Trivial Update: (January 1, 2016) The 2016 Items-of-the-Year will be... two weeks late. Let's say. Two weeks. That seems like a good long time.
    Trivial Update: (January 14, 2016) I'm gonna need another week to finish 2016's Items-of-the-Year. They're just that good!
  • The in-development Yandere Simulator project began in Spring 2014. In an interview in January 2015, the developer stated he hoped to have a full playable beta ready by Summer, but as of Fall 2015 the game is still a pre-alpha sandbox, only ~10% complete. Although the developer generally keeps to his self-imposed schedule of releasing updates on the 1st and 15th of each month (though he's missed that deadline a couple of times), the game itself is taking much longer to complete than anyone expected. This is largely due to the developer being the sole programmer, as well as his decision to incorporate fans' ideas which massively increased the game's complexity and development time.
  • Indie developer Scott Cawthon inverts this trope, as each and every sequel he's made in the Five Nights at Freddy's series has released sooner than any posted release date. In particular, Five Nights at Freddy's 4 was teased with a Halloween 2015 release date. Eventually the announced date was changed to August 2015. The game actually released on July 23, 2015. In fact, when FNAF World was announced, Scott said it was "Coming 2016 (Seriously.)" You know things got out of hand when he has to vow not to release a game before it's official release date.
    • Averted with the release of Five Nights At Freddys Sister Location, which was given a release date of October 7, 2016 and actually did get released on that day. It didn't stop Scott from attempting to throw fans off with not one, but two hoaxes about the game's fate leading up to its eventual release, however.note 
  • beatmania IIDX has always been consistent with arcade releases, with new releases coming out once a year. The same, however, can't be said for console releases. beatmania IIDX 3rd Style through 6th Style had their console ports released about six to nine months after their respective arcade versions, which is reasonable, but 7th Style's port infamously took two years after its arcade counterpart and 6th Style's port to get a release. Fortunately, the success of 7th Style's port allowed Konami to continue releasing ports on a consistent schedule, coming back from three versions behind to only one for later releases. However, the second snag hit after beatmania IIDX 16 EMPRESS + PREMIUM BEST for PS2 was released, when Konami ceased producing IIDX ports. The next consumer version would be in 2015 with beatmania IIDX INFINITAS, which as of the first alpha test seems to be a port of beatmania IIDX 17 SIRIUS's (2010) songlist with all of one song from later versions ("FLOWER") and a game engine based on then-current IIDX games.
  • Chroma Squad was meant to be released in the Summer of 2014, but problems, including a problem with Saban Brands, lead to it being delayed until April 30, 2015.
  • Minecraft has been hit hard by this. Up until Beta 1.1's release at the end of 2010, updates came out every few days. Then, they slipped to every month. Then, starting with Beta 1.8, they came out every two months. Then, they started having no schedule, coming out every few months, with the gaps ranging from 2-5. Then, it was 10 months between 1.7 (October 2013) and 1.8 (September 2014), then 18 months between 1.8 and 1.9 (February 2016)! Thankfully inverted with the update with 1.10, releasing a mere four months later (June 2016) and continued with 1.11 five months after that. This can be justified by how updates have added much more in each one.
    • Minecraft's development delay for 1.8 didn't affect the modding community much, instead allowing 1.7 modpacks to grow up very well thanks to freshly introduced ease of making massive note  modpacks thanks to the new ID name system, whose extensive Forge use marked the end of block and item ID conflicts. When 1.8 came out, Forge was quick to update, but most mods ended up stagnating due to the rendering overhaul. Slowly, modpack creators and modders have warmed up to the new versions, moreso considering that 1.9 and 1.10 ended up staying surprisingly compatible with 1.8, but 1.7.10 (the last sub-release of 1.7) is still the favorite by far with many mods keeping themselves there, including the ubiquitious and ever-beloved Thermal Expansion/Foundation/Dynamics series of mods by Team CoFH, to the point that many mods, be it dedicated ones like Et Futurum as the only content or others like the decorative mod Chisel and magic mod Botania as side-features, include features from later versions of the game to make up for the lack of mod porting.
  • Persona 5 was initially announced in 2013 with a a Winter 2014 release date. The end of 2014 approached and a year-long delay was announced - considering the substantial lack of information Atlus had been giving on the game, it wasn't much of a surprise (it was only after the delay the first gameplay trailers even started appearing). What was a surprise was the second delay, pushing the game back from late 2015 to September 2016. The game landed on track in Japan, but the English worldwide release date that was set for February 2017 ended up being delayed five more weeks to April 4, 2017. As compensation for the delay, the Japanese voice track was added as an option, which is a rarity for Atlus games.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces are both celebrations of Sonic's 25th anniversary, but the first detail announced about either of them is that they were going to be released in Sonic's 26th year. It was earlier averted with their 15th anniversary game, which was rushed to make the anniversary and had a lot of problems as a result. Sonic Mania would subsequently be pushed back from its initial release window in spring of 2017 to that summer.
    • Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice was pushed back from its initial holiday 2015 release date to September of 2016 in order to ensure its quality (especially since Rise of Lyric had become infamous for being a rushed Obvious Beta and Shattered Crystal - its immediate predecessor - was given lukewarm reviews).
  • Mighty No. 9 was said to be released somewhere in April 2015, but was pushed to a September 15, 2015 release date for America, and 18th for the worldwide release. It was then pushed to the first quarter of 2016, when it was then said to release February 9th, and that there wouldn't be anymore delays. It was then delayed a third time, to a tentative release date, until eventually settling on June 21st, 2016. The frequency of the delays helped to make the game infamous.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 was originally slated for release in the West in 2012. The release was then pushed back to 2013, after which there was nothing but dead silence from Sega regarding whether the game would ever be released, or if it was quietly cancelled. The game's North American release would be Saved from Development Hell by Microsoft, who announced at E3 2019 that they would publish the game exclusively on PC and Xbox One in 2020.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons was first teased to be coming in 2019. When the E3 2019 edition of Nintendo Direct officially revealed the game, it was then said to be coming in March 20, 2020.


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