Video game delays are nothing new. It's happened many times in the past already and it will continue happening in the future. Sometimes, things happen outside of a studio's control. Even if a game's development is going smoothly, the makers might feel that a game needs some extra time baking in the proverbial oven, which is why it gets pushed back or delayed.
Bethesda's reputation has seen better days, as has the Fallout franchise. The studio's lackluster effort on Fallout 76, as well as its insistence on releasing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on just about every platform out there, has all but ruined Bethesda in the eyes of gamers. Well, maybe not so much the latter. It's more of just us wondering just when exactly Bethesda plans to stop milking Skyrim before it decides to release The Elder Scrolls VI.
Having said that, one reason why people seem to hold Bethesda and the Fallout series to such high standards is because of Fallout 3.
Fallout 3 was released in 2008 and is widely considered one of the best video games of all time. It's also one of the best delayed games by way of being in development for around a decade. Technically, Fallout 3 wasn't delayed so much as it was remade from scratch. The original studio, Black Isle Studios, had already spent five years making Fallout 3 before Bethesda decided to make the game from the ground up.
While there exists the argument that Fallout 3 strayed too far from Black Isla Studios' original vision for the first two Fallout games, this modern classic is what most gamers today grew up with and the game is easily why Fallout has become such a household name today.
Resident Evil 4
At the time, Capcom had released a mainline Resident Evil title following the launch of the original Resident Evil in 1997. Naturally, many had expected Capcom to release Resident Evil in 2000 if not 2001 on the PlayStation 2. However, it wasn't until 2005 that Resident Evil 4 actually released for the Nintendo GameCube, winning numerous game awards and establishing itself as the best Resident Evil game ever made.
During the period between when the development started in 1999 until it was released in 2005, there were reportedly four versions of Resident Evil 4 that were created and eventually thrown out. One of these versions was eventually expanded on and became Devil May Cry, another Capcom staple, which was released in 2001.
What makes Resident Evil 4 one of the best delayed games of all time isn't just because of how good of a Resident Evil it was. The fourth mainline installment in the Resident Evil franchise was more than that. It's considered one of the most influential video games ever. Its spin on third-person action video games helped pave the way for the likes of The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Gears of War.
Since it was first released, Resident Evil 4 has been ported to numerous platforms over the past 16 years or so. This includes an upcoming VR version, as well as a rumored remake for next-gen consoles.
The Persona franchise started coming into its own right around the same time that the Final Fantasy franchise had started its run of lackluster titles, filling in the void for a high-quality JRPG game in the market.
By the time that Persona 5 was announced in 2013, it had become the most highly-anticipated game in the series. However, it also earned the distinction as the delayed Persona game so far. Persona 5 was originally slated to launch in 2014, but it wouldn't launch until 2016 in Japan and the rest of the world in 2017.
If it's any consolation, Persona 5 was well worth the wait. The game quickly became the best Persona game ever released and one of the best JRPGs of all time.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo first teased The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in January 2013 with a 2015 release date for the Nintendo Wii U. A year later it was intended to release, Nintendo confirmed in April 2016 that it was going to push the release date of Breath of the Wild back due to the game having issues with its physics engine.
It wasn't until March 3, 2017, that Breath of the Wild was released as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch, as well as the Wii U.
While hardcore Legend of Zelda fans was divided over Breath of the Wild, critics and audiences just couldn't seem to get enough of it. In 2018, the year that it launched, Breath of the Wild became the highest-rated game of Metacritic.
Team Fortress 2
Valve has an interesting history with former mods being turned into actual games. A more recent example is Dota 2, which first started as a mod for Blizzard's Warcraft III. However, even before Dota 2, Valve had already turned a former mod into another successful franchise in the form of Team Fortress 2.
Unlike Dota 2 though, which had only spent years in development before being released to the public, Valve worked on Team Fortress 2 for nearly a decade with no fixed release date in sight.
After officially becoming Valve property in 1999, Valve went to work on Team Fortress 2. But, it wasn't until 2007 that official news of Team Fortress 2 came out. Unlike its predecessor, the sequel sported a new cartoon-ish art style and ended up being released by the end of the year.
Nearly 15 years later, Team Fortress continues to receive updates from Valve with an active community keeping the game alive. Perhaps, more importantly, Team Fortress 2 became the basis of most of the squad-based shooters that you see today, including Blizzard's Overwatch.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Before Halo was released as Halo: Combat Evolved, it was conceived as Halo and a real-time strategy game. In addition to this, Halo was originally scheduled to release simultaneously on the Mac and PC. Then-CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, even confirmed this at the Macworld Conference and Expo way back in 1998.
Suffice to say that this didn't happen and Halo: Combat Evolved wouldn't see the light of day until 2001 as a launch game for the original Xbox.
Technically, the late Steve Jobs wasn't completely wrong. Halo did still release for the Mac OS X in 2003. However, by that time, Bungie had worked on Halo for Microsoft, effectively becoming the benchmark for many first-person shooters that were released throughout the 2000s.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl was originally scheduled to release in 2003 before launching in 2007 and taking a bit of time to release in a properly finished state. But, despite all of the issues when it first became available to play, the post-apocalyptic first-person survival horror shooter title was met with critical acclaim and saw a prequel release in 2008, as well as a sequel in 2010.
A fourth S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game is expected to launch in the next year or two and if ends up being just as good as the first three titles, it'll have a chance to display Shadow of Chernobyl as it will have been in development for more than a decade by the time it is released.
Blizzard is probably the only video game company that can constantly get away with repeated delays of its games. The most recent example is Overwatch 2, which fans expected to launch in 2020 or 2021 but likely won't arrive until 2022. Then again, you can't blame Blizzard for doing it over and over again when most if not all of its products come out more than just fine.
Case in point, Diablo III, which was released all the way back on May 15, 2012.
Diablo III's 2012 release date comes as a shock when you consider that the game started development way back in 2001. This is a year just after Diablo II was launched in 2000. It wasn't until June 28, 2008, at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in France that Blizzard officially announced Diablo III.
Technically, Blizzard never really did confirm an actual release date until two months before May 15, 2012. But, it is an open secret that Blizzard wanted to release Diablo in Q4 2011. This was later pushed back to Q1 2012 before Blizzard eventually settled with Q2 2012.
Thankfully, Diablo III did release and even though the first few months if not years was plagued with glitches, issues, and problems, Blizzard eventually managed to fix everything. Today, Diablo III is widely considered a worthy sequel that's at least close to being just as good as Diablo II, which is set to receive a remake that's titled, Diablo II: Resurrected.
Final Fantasy XV
Forget about Final Fantasy XV's original release window, the game wasn't even supposed to be a mainline installment. Square Enix has intended Noctis to appear as part of its ambitious sub-series, Fabula Nova Chrystallis Final Fantasy. But, in the middle of development, which, by the way, started in 2007, Square Enix thought that Final Fantasy Versus XIII had grown so much that it deserved to be its own game.
In 2011, Square Enix did just that, changing Final Fantasy Versus IIII's title to Final Fantasy XV and pushing its release date back to 2016.
When you consider that Square Enix wanted to release Final Fantasy Versus XIII soon after Final Fantasy XIII was released in 2009, it's safe to say that the delay was quite substantial. But, it wasn't for nothing. The resulting game, Final Fantasy XV, spawned its own equally ambitious universe that switched up the traditional Final Fantasy formula.
Even though the complete vision for Final Fantasy XV never materialized, it did not take away from the overall experience. At the same time, Final Fantasy XV helped pave the way for Final Fantasy XVI and Forspoken.
Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts III was first announced at E3 2013, although concept art for the game had already been available since 2005 after the release of Kingdom Hearts II. However, it wouldn't be until January 2019 that Kingdom Hearts III would release. Among other things, the delay was caused by Square Enix having to switch over to a brand-new game engine mid-development.
There's no exact timeline as to how long Kingdom Hearts III was delayed. But, when you consider that Kingdom Hearts II was released in 2005, just two years after it was first announced in 2003, a couple of years is a safe bet.
Thankfully, Kingdom Hearts III was well worth the wait. It became the fastest-selling title in the Kingdom Hearts franchise and is arguably the reason why the entire series is now available on the PC.