Sports games are cash cows for studios and developers. If they weren't, then we wouldn't be seeing annual releases of FIFA, Madden NFL, and NBA 2K, among several others. However, even "less popular" sports get regular releases as well, including cricket. Big Ant Studios has regularly released simulation games based on Australia's national sport since 2014's Don Bradman Cricket 14. However, following 2019's Cricket 19, the Melbourne-based video game developers decided to skip 2020 with the promise that Cricket 22 would release by the end of 2021.
While the latest Cricket title by Big Ant Studios is still going to release before the year ends, it's going to be delayed by one week because of something that happened in professional cricket.
Big Ant scrambles to make less minute change to Cricket 22's cover art
Professional Cricket player and former Australian team captain, Tim Paine, was supposed to be the cover star for Cricket 22. Unfortunately, after details of an intimate and private conversation shared between Paine and a female colleague became public information a week ago, the international cricket star is currently in hot water. Paine admitted in his press conference when he stepped down as Australia's captain that Cricket Australia is currently investigating him.
Big Ant Studio's Ross Symons did not specifically state that the controversy surrounding Paine was the reason for Cricket 22's delay. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together. Not to mention, as per Symons' statement, the studio had to "update the game's cover art, other visuals, and team lists," due to unforeseen circumstances.
The delay isn't as big of a blow when compared to the controversy's effect on Paine's career. Paine was under the impression that he had already dealt with the issue years ago. Judging by what's happened, it's clear that all the water isn't under the bridge just yet. The controversy is also very ill-timed as this year's Ashes was set to kick off on December 8, 2021.
— Big Ant Studios (@BigAntStudios) November 22, 2021
With that said, the delay might be longer than expected. As previously mentioned, Paine was the cover star of Cricket 22 in Australia. Because of his resignation, Big Ant will have to find another cover star and change the cover art of Cricket 22 within a week's time. In addition to this, Big Ant will have to update the lineups and remove Paine as the captain of Australia.
It will be interesting to see who will replace Paine as the captain of the Australian squad and the cover of Cricket 22.
We'll know more information about Cricket 22 as we inch closer to the game's possibly-still-tentative release date of December 2, 2021.