Red Dead Redemption and Rockstar Games, in general, have this ability to cause significant damage to games foolish enough to release around them. It’s easy to see why as Rockstar takes their time to develop its games typically resulting in something that’s not only high quality and belonging to a majorly popular franchise.
Naturally, Grand Theft Auto needs no introduction, but my first real exposure to this phenomenon was the first Red Dead Redemption. When it launched in May of 2010, the highly anticipated games Alan Wake from Remedy Entertainment and the stylish arcade racer Split/Second decided to launch on the same day. While both games were fantastic in their own right, they were largely overlooked due to the massive shadow that RDR cast over everything else.
The period from September to November is typically chock full of massive AAA games, though this year, a monkey wrench was thrown in the middle of it all. Rockstar has been known to release their games in the Spring, but thanks to a last minute delay, Red Dead Redemption 2 is instead launching in October. This means it’s going up against some massive juggernauts like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Forza Horizon 4, and not to mention early November releases like Fallout 76, Hitman 2, and Pokemon Let’s Go as well.
Needless to say, with limited time and money from consumers, this holiday season is going to be a slugfest for attention and sales. Something had to give and for one game, it did.
EA and DICE’s Battlefield V, a fantastic looking WW2 FPS, announced earlier in the week that it was being pushed by a month to November 20. While the company said all of the right things in terms of why it was delayed like more polish time and all that, I think most fans realize what was really going on.
It’s been widely reported that Battlefield V pre-orders have been softer than normal thus far, even lagging behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 which is down slightly as well. Its original launch date was October 19, basically, a week before the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 and a week after its chief rival, Call of Duty. Battlefield has always been a franchise I really enjoyed, so naturally, I hope this move helps the game out.
All in all, it’s a good move for many reasons, the biggest one being that it gets the game out from the middle of two titanic franchises. The extra month should help in a lot of others ways, especially with addressing beta feedback and bug fixing. Plus, with rumors indicating that the Battlefield Royale mode wasn’t going to be there on day 1, perhaps the extra month could now fix that issue as well?
It’s a lesson that EA seems to have learned after experiencing a similar situation with Titanfall 2 and not taking the recommended action. While that game was really well made and fun, it launched between a number of high profile releases and just never caught on like most expected it to. Time will ultimately tell, but sometimes delaying a game is better than having it get lost in the shuffle at launch.