Rushing game development
"A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad." - Shigeru Miyamoto
"Stop rushing games to meet your stupid deadline for your stupid money, if you give it time, you will make more money, and you won't break the bank!" - Mr. Wes
Rushing game development (also known as Sonic 06 syndrome) refers to whenever a game is rushed into production to coincide with a Holiday or other event (such as Christmas, hence the term Christmas rushing is often used to refer to this practice as well). Because of this, games are often untested and numerous bugs and glitches remain when sold and the gameplay is not worked upon. Because of this, many of these games can be considered some of the worst games made and show that all the developers cared about was money and not about the quality of the product. This action can cause many gamers to lose trust with the developer and actually cost the developer more money than they make from sales.
Luckily, there are cases when games like this were still well-received, despite being rushed. For example, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was actually rushed, with a large part of it being divided off into Sonic & Knuckles. It is still regard as one of the best Sonic games, with many saying the combined game is outright the best. Similarly, the seminal Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was deemed to be too short and ordered to be lengthened with a minimal amount of additional resources, which led to the addition of the "inverted castle" which is just the first half of the game flipped upside down (the most obvious sign of this is that almost all of the Inverted Castle uses the same background music). Some games like Devil May Cry 4 (which had a huge amount of production time and about 25% of its budget suddenly removed by Capcom) will still play well, but frustrate the player with how obvious it is that they should have been more than what they are.
There are also games that avoided the rushed development by being delaying such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, although it still lacked many features from the other Animal Crossing games at launch.
- Sonic '06, one of the worst offenders for such, was heavily rushed for Christmas and also to coincide with Sonic's 15th anniversary, the launch of the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's contract. The game was unfinished at that point, so Sonic Team instead released an untested alpha build. Predictably, the build that was released features numerous issues, parts of the game that barely function, and a badly-written and convoluted story, resulting in the entire franchise's reputation being permanently damaged because of it, and it never fully recovered since.
- Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly had the same problem as what Sonic '06 has gone through. It had plans for more content like 120 Dragonflies, Gnasty Gnorc and Ripto as the villains, low loading times, etc. It was rushed due to executive meddling.
- Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for the Game Boy Advance, like Sonic '06, was also rushed, this time, it took Sega one month to make the port, featuring numerous issues not found in the original game, such as lag, a poorly remixed version of the original game's soundtrack, downgraded sound effects, screen crunch, tons of game-breaking bugs and unresponsive controls. This port was so infamous, that Simon Thomley (also known as Stealth), the same person behind the "Knuckles in Sonic 1" ROM Hack and founder of Headcannon (one of the co-developers of Sonic Mania, along with Christian Whitehead and PagodaWest Games), made a much superior proof-of-concept GBA port of the game, showing just how much Sega dropped the ball.
- Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was made to coincide with Black Friday and the premiere of the television series, and thus, this game shared the same fate as Sonic '06; Numerous bugs and glitches, poor graphics, awful soundtrack (which other bad Sonic games actually didn't have a problem with), uninspired gameplay, and horrible framerate. The developers were informed that the game had to be a Wii U exclusive (as Sega already signed a 3 Sonic exclusive game deal with Nintendo, the other two were Mario and Sonic at the 2014 Winter Olympics and Sonic Lost World) but the engine the game runs on doesn't work well on the Wii U, however, they were not given any time to solve the problem and multiple bug reports were completely ignored.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is arguably the most infamous case. Atari gave Howard Scott Warshaw only five and a half weeks to make this game (when most 2600 games took six to seven months to develop), just to coincide with Christmas. Though E.T. is not the worst game ever, it had extremely poor gameplay and graphics and Atari, in their arrogance, created more copies than there were 2600 consoles and as a result, E.T. became one of the major reasons for the North American video game crash of 1983.
- Probably the biggest example is with the current generation of gaming itself. Many games that are released now are often unfinished, with patches and DLC being used to finish the game. Destiny was released in an incomplete state, and the remainder of the game was released via DLC, forcing gamers to pay more money than necessary. Because these games are released in unfinished states, the patches used to repair them are often very big, sometimes even several gigabytes in size.
- Devil May Cry 2 was heavily rushed by Capcom as because of the success of the original Devil May Cry game it was giving development to a team who mainly works in the Arcade Department that led to a poor gameplay.
- Street Fighter V was heavily rushed by Capcom in order to get the game in the hands of more gamers to meet the Street Fighter tournament. As a result, the game had so little content that it was described as a demo, with no arcade mode, poor online features, a lackluster roster of fighters, and an incredibly disjointed story mode.
- Contrary to what Shigeru Miyamoto has said earlier, there are notably a good amount of rushed Mario games in the modern times:
- Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was rushed for Christmas 2015 that it felt like an unfinished demo more than a full game, as it has no tournament and few tennis courts to play in! What is worse is that compared to the E3 demo beforehand and the final release, barely anything has changed.
- Super Mario Maker (Nintendo 3DS) was rushed for Christmas 2016 which makes this port inferior to the Wii U exclusive version that have glitches & limitations.
- Mario Sports Superstars was rushed to coincide the release of Nintendo Switch, which causes a severe lack of content like addition of sports (Basketball, Volleyball, Hockey, Badminton, etc.), story mode, customizations for the characters such as baseball bats ad soccer balls, and Miis (for the most part).
- Mario Party: The Top 100 was originally planned to release in 2018, but was rushed to be released for Christmas 2017. As a result, the game notably lacked content including only just one board to play at launch, notable amounts of model and animation recycling, and lack of extra contents like artworks, trailers, and classic music. It also ended up being the Mario game with the second shortest interval between announcement and release, showing that the game was indeed rushed.
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars was rushed to coincide around Mario's 35th Anniversary. Because of this, the game suffered from terrible port issues, such as several emulation issues at launch, no framerate upgrades (besides Galaxy), and sound delays. Another bad thing is that Galaxy 2 was excluded for unexplained reasons, there wasn't any major enhancements or even any artwork or trailers, and it felt really empty. This is the shortest intervals between the announcement and the release, being 15 days.
- Mario Golf: Super Rush lacked content at launch, as it only had 6 courses and a lackluster story mode, although Nintendo released several updates after the game's release by extending the story mode, adding new characters and courses.
- Mario Strikers: Battle League is said to lack content at launch, to the point where Daisy, and to an extent, Bowser Jr, a major character of the franchise and deemed to be one of the best characters of the Mario Strikers series by many, would be absent from the base game, only getting added in with a future patch.
- When Bubsy 3D's lead designer saw Super Mario 64, he wanted to delay Bubsy 3D and improve it, but Accolade forced them to launch the game anyway. The rest is history.
- BioWare Montreal planned Mass Effect: Andromeda to be "what the first ME game promised to be" (i.e. an open world game), but the five-year development cycle was plagued by engine restrictions, inexperienced developers, and executive meddling. Instead of delaying the game, EA forced Bioware Montreal to finish the game in just 18 months. The game was released in 2017 and was heavily panned by fans, resulting in Bioware Montreal being shut down and the Mass Effect franchise being put on "indefinite hold".
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection was rushed for Christmas 2014. As a result, the game launched with horribly broken multiplayer and matchmaking, and in a game series which is known for its multiplayer gameplay, it didn't sit well with players of the game and obviously angered the fans of the series.
- Final Fantasy XV was rushed by Square Enix to coincide with a deadline, resulting in a rocky and buggy launch with plot holes. While Square is fixing the game by adding story content, bug fixes, and free content via patches, the disastrous launch resulted in controversial rants from people who hated FFXV on YouTube, despite the game becoming the greatest Final Fantasy game since VII, X and XII.
- Shadow Man: 2econd Coming was supposed to feature six Grigori Sephiroth, as was said during in-game cutscenes, instead of the four that the final product had, which the player as Mike/Shadow Man must defeat to face Asmodeus in the final confrontation. But due to the possible fact that Acclaim faced major financial trouble at the time of the game's production, and that they did not have much of the production budget left to finish the game, the two remaining Grigori Sepiroth, and also the bad ending that was supposed to be shown after you were defeated by Asmodeus for a game over, were all cut together (although the sound clip of the bad ending was still left intact in the game's files), and the game was rushed and left unfinished, which resulted in overwhelmingly negative reviews from fans of the previous game, calling it "The Worst Sequel to a Stellar Game", yet press reviews were still mixed.
- The 3DO version of DOOM was made in around ten weeks with Art Data Interactive‘s intention of releasing it in time for the Christmas season. There was only one programmer, Rebecca Heineman, who had just got off Wolfenstein 3D for the 3DO. Rebecca was hired, however, the person who contacted her gave the programmer the DOS PC version and expected her to slap that onto a CD and call it a day. For the programmer, porting DOOM over was a nightmare. The back of the game's box advertises a fullscreen mode, but it can only be accessed via a cheat code. This seems bad enough, but the screen doesn't even go to the left and right sides. The game is also notorious for its poor framerate. When you cheat until you get to the game's credits, the DOS prompt shows up at the end even on the 32X! This is why DOOM for the 3DO sucks.
- In Super Mario World ROM hacks, the equivalent of this is C3 Rushing, where hacks are rushed to be released during the semiannual C3 competition. Mario Endgame is an example of this.
- Super Mario World itself wasn't safe from this. It had quite a bit of planned content that was cut out because of time constraints related to the Super Famicom's launch. Even with the planned content cut out, it still became one of the best games of all time.
- LittleBigPlanet 3, while still a good game, was rushed out by Sony for Black Friday. This caused the game's launch to be extremely bad, with many game breaking glitches, such as broken multiplayer on PS4.
- Minecraft: Bedrock Edition was rushed out by Microsoft and Mojang for Minecon Earth, as well as Christmas and the launch of the Xbox One X. Therefore, it turned out to be a complete downgrade of the original Xbox One version of the game.
- Knack was planned to be a mascot character for the PlayStation 4 similar to Crash Bandicoot for the PlayStation 1, but Sony rushed to the game so it could be a launch title, resulting in the game being very unbalanced and repetitive with little substance.
- According to the developers, this was the reason Mass Effect 3's original ending was terrible, as EA wanted Mass Effect 3 to be released quickly. The irony of this was that the March 2012 release date was after a delay, as it was originally supposed to be released in 2011, implying that even a delay couldn't save the game from the poorly made ending.
- The infamous Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was rushed out to release before Activision's license to publish Tony Hawk games expired. Therefore, not only was it filled with bugs and glitches, but the physical game... isn't even the physical game. It's simply the game's demo shoved onto a Blu-Ray disc, and the famous 7.7GB day-one update that had to be installed was the full game.
- There's noticeable evidence that The Sims 4 was rushed out when it was first released on the PC on September 2014. Features that were baseline in previous games in the franchise were inexplicably removed. There were also quite a bit of bugs on release, some of which were game-breaking. Thankfully, these issues have been fixed.
- Metal Gear (NES) was rushed out and released for the Christmas season of 1987. This was despite it was released five months apart from the original Metal Gear on the MSX. There were some bugs and inconsistencies that were introduced in the NES port. Hideo Kojima was not involved in this port, and expressed regret for it.
- Final Fantasy for the NES was also rushed out for Christmas of 1987. Multiple bugs were there, related to stat calculation and other unusual glitches. The North American release attempted to fix some of the bugs.
- Mega Man X6 was released around the 2001 holiday season, and it's quite evident: there are a lot of bugs, some levels are impossible if you choose the wrong armor/character, there's a lot of grammar errors in the English translation, and the controls and gameplay are overall worse than the previous entry.
- Fallout 76 shown infamy since its B.E.T.A showing due to the fact that it was rushed to the market, thanks to the fact Bethesda Softworks thought that an intentionally incomplete multiplayer spinoff Fallout title can help them with their financial problem from their many recent single player titles underperforming financially. To date, it had since kept getting them into scandal after scandal from post-launch for months. In a recent interview, Todd Howard admitted that the launch was going to be rough, but Bethesda launched it anyway!
- Battlefield 4 was rushed out to release in time for the launch of the 8th Generation of consoles, which resulted the game being riddled with glitches at launch.
- Dragon Age II was rushed for an early 2011 release after Electronic Arts wanted BioWare to release the game in early 2011. There are a lot of reused maps, content doesn't seem as good as Dragon Age: Origins, game glitches and crashes were common.
- It was supposed that in Fable III the part were the player becomes the king or queen of Albion and have to deal with with The Darkness was the second half of the game but it was almost completely reduced.
- Remember that Fable II and III only have 2 years of difference of release date.
- Might and Magic IX was rushed out because of the original developer, New World Computing, went bankrupt in early 2002. 3DO tried to salvage what was left of it, but the overall product was an incomplete game with unfinished plot points, multiple bugs and game balance problems were among the problems.
- Even Mega Man 2 was a victim of this. It had four months of game development, starting in August 1988 and the game was released a day before Christmas. Some minor issues with late-game bosses notwithstanding, it turned out to be one of the best games on the NES.
- Much like its predecessor, Final Fantasy II had a lot of issues, such as the ultimate spell, Ultima, deals pathetic amount of damage, even at maximum level! There were a lot of programming errors and bugs in the Famicom original. Square wisely avoided making this mistake with Final Fantasy III, giving it decent time until it was released during the Spring of 1990.
- Xaviant, the developer of The Culling, deliberately abandoned the game barely two months after it escaped Steam Early Access hell in order to develop The Culling 2. The game received a sudden announcement on July 10, 2018, before being released in its broken state shortly thereafter.
- Phoenix Games did this to all of their games to make a quick buck and give them an advantage over the larger competitors. The result is some of the worst games ever made.
- The Austrian game publisher JoWooD Entertainment were not well received in western regions due to the fact they forced developers to release games before they were completely finished, which resulted in them being broken and buggy, and then providing poor support in patching/fixing these games afterward.
- The Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 06 was rushed so it could be released at the console's launch.
- Gran Turismo 2 was rushed to meet the Christmas 1999 deadline, which led to 100% completion being impossible in early copies of the game.
- Need for Speed: Carbon was rushed because EA wanted to have a Need for Speed game released every November, which led to certain cars not being fully completed, making them either being cut or only playable in Quick Race Mode. Furthermore, additional content such as a final race against Nikki were to be included.
- Need for Speed: Undercover was rushed due to Black Box being split into three teams, and EA wanting a Need for Speed game being released every late quarter of each year, which led to the game having a number of issues on top of certain cars being unfinished and cut.
- Despite Metal Slug 5 receiving positive reviews from critics and players, it was heavily criticized for being rushed and how much great hidden potential should have. Because of the rushing development, many content in the game has been cut in the final release. This will soon be fixed in the unofficial remake, Metal Slug 5 Elite, and was fixed in Mr.Beacon00's Metal Slug 5 Remake. Some of these unused content will end appearing in Metal Slug Defense and its sequel, Metal Slug Attack (Particularly the Stone Turtle and the leader of the Ptolemaic Army that was seen in one cutscene before Mission 2).
- Sonic Forces - Despite its four-year development cycle, the game only took a year to develop due to Sonic Team mostly focusing on the Hedgehog Engine 2.
- NHL 15 was rushed to be released for the 2014-15 NHL Season, which led to missing features on the 8th-generation versions, and the 7th generation versions were just mostly a re-skin of NHL 14.
- Balan Wonderworld was rushed due to Square Enix's unwillingness to delay development of the game, the game was released in an unacceptable condition, bearing in mind that the game lacked polish and the developers took strange design decisions that resulted in a worse experience and a great feeling of junk. The game's director, Yuji Naka even went as far as to sue Square Enix for rushing the game's development. Even if the game wasn't rushed, it still would have been bad because most of the game's problems were baked into its core concept.
- Cyberpunk 2077 was notorious for being filled with glitches and game breaking bugs, and despite the delays, was still rushed for the holiday season, which as a result, destroyed the reputation of CD Project Red. To this day, the game is yet to be fixed, with the exception of the passable PC port.
- Fantasia was rushed by Sega for the 1991 holiday season and to be released to tie in with the 1991 VHS release of the film. Poor music, gameplay and controls, along with very poor reception contributed to the copies of the game being recalled.
- Spider-Man 2 (DS) was rushed for the 2004 holiday season and to be released as a Nintendo DS launch title.
- Enter the Matrix was rushed for the release for The Matrix Reloaded.
- Pokémon Sword and Shield were rushed because Game Freak was also developing Little Town Hero at the time, which resulted in some of the games' problems, such as the unpolished graphics (for the most part), lack of National Dex (which would remain the case for future mainline games) and little to no post-game content, though this was seemed to be fixed with the DLCs.
- Crash Twinsanity was rushed because Traveller's Tales Oxford spent too much time in the planning process of the game's already troubled development, which nearly got the game cancelled when Vivendi Universal forced the developers to finish the game in a year.
- Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 originally scheduled for Spring 2016 release, but it was rushed to February 2016 just to release only 3 months before Blizzard launched their new IP at the time, Overwatch.
- SiN was rushed to November, in order to release before Half-Life. As a result, it has a ton of bugs and glitches, long loading times and terrible vehicle controls.
- Madden NFL 21 was rushed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before the start of the 2020 NFL Season. At launch, players noticed many glitches, such as slow menus, long loading times, missing or rainbow textures. Soon after the game's release, the hashtag "#NFLdropEA" was trending on Twitter, with users calling for the NFL to opt-out of its exclusive rights deal with EA Sports.
- Driver 3 was rushed by Atari to June of 2004 in order to release before Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which resulted in the game having numerous bugs and glitches. 2 months before release, Atari also paid Future Publishing to have their respective console magazines giving the game a 9/10 rating, which led to the Driv3rgate scandal when the game was released to negative reviews.
- Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition was rushed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Grand Theft Auto III, which resulted in the compilation being riddled with bugs and glitches at launch, to the point where Rockstar Games temporarily delisted the games to fix them and issued an apology, stating that the game remasters "did not launch in a state that meets (their) own standards of quality, or the standards (their) fans have come to expect.", despite releasing it in such a state anyway.
- Twilight Frontier often rushes their fighting games and without patches, they don't look good.
- Two games had similar fates because they were rushed for the 2004 holiday season: Halo 2 and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. They both suffered from a troubled production and were behind schedule during the summer. While they had a lot of planned features and story cut out because of time constraints, nonetheless, both still turned out to be solid games.
- Battlefield 2042 was so rushed at launch, even the BETA was broken.
- FNAF: Security Breach had multiple game breaking bugs and optimization issues at its rushed launch, albeit not as bad as the above mention Battlefield game.
- Osomatsu-kun: Hachamecha Gekijō, despite its heavy development cycle, was rushed in Christmas of 1988 in order to be released during the TV show's launch.
- Sonic Origins was rushed by Sega to coincide with the 31st anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, was released on June 23, the exact same day when the original Sonic game on the Sega Genesis first launched, forcing Headcannon to work extra hard on the remasters. As a result of the mixed rushed date, crunching, and meddling at the same time, the compilation was riddled with bugs and technical issues that weren't present in the original games or even the previous mobile remasters, and Simon "Stealth" Thomley at Headcannon expressed his and the team's unhappiness with how the remaster compilation turned out.
- Gran Turismo 7 felt rushed because according to , the game was supposed to be released in 2023 but Sony forced Polyphony Digital to release it in March 2022. Which explains the major issues with Multiplayer, additional content missing at launch that was added later and the bugs present since the release of the game.
- Sony, within its 989 Sports division, was infamous for rushing many of its sports games during the early years of the PlayStation 2. One of them was NFL GameDay 2001.
- Mobile games often get rushed for little to no reason at all, to the point where the game takes at least a week or even a few days to develop.
- Despite no set release time for these games, it is still evident, due to them suffering from countless bugs and glitches, or even crashing frequently.
- Most of these games are asset flips, which further speeds up the development process.
- Some mobile games nowadays are notorious for being based on Internet trends and memes (especially simplistic games like the hyper casual genre). Because of this, the games are always rushed in order to be released just before the trend/meme dies down, in an attempt to get people to download the game. These types of games are always rife with advertisements and sometimes microtransactions.
- Unlike rushed console/PC games that eventually get patched after several reports, most mobile games never get fixed at all (due to them dedicating their time to marketing the game) and users just end up playing the day one version of the game.
- The Sega Saturn was launched four months earlier than it was supposed to in North America in order to give the system an advantage over the PlayStation. None of the developers making games for the system were informed of this decision, resulting in the Saturn having only eight launch games in North America and major retailers refused to sell the console since they believed Sega had screwed them over. The launch titles for the Saturn also had to be rushed to meet the new release date. Ironically, the PlayStation outsold the Saturn's four early months in a single day. Despite the downsides of rushing the Sega Saturn and failed horribly selling wise, it was surprisingly a good console, despite its downsides, as it has become noteworthy on Awesome Games Wiki, and therefore is the only rushed console that proved that "Sometimes, a rushed console isn’t always bad. Sure, it has its flaws, but its good qualities is what saves it from being truly bad."
- The Virtual Boy was rushed for many reasons, but mostly because Nintendo wanted to start focusing on the Nintendo 64. The Virtual Boy was released far before the creator, Gunpei Yokoi, felt it was ready. The system flopped heavily for its poor design and was discontinued in less than a year.
- The Xbox 360 was released only four years after the original Xbox to get a head start in the 7th generation. Original models became infamous for the Red Ring of Death issue. Around 61% of units sold were defective with the error and this caused Microsoft to lose a ton of money repairing and replacing the consoles. Microsoft mostly fixed the issue with the S/E model, even though they also have the Red Ring of Death, it's much harder (impossible on E model) to get.
- The Epic Games Store was announced and released during The Game Awards 2018 and is to be a competitor to Steam. But however, due to the launcher releasing at The Game Awards 2018, the Epic Store was somewhat rushed for Christmas 2018. And as such, the Epic Store universally panned by PC gamers when the platform came out due to lacking features, a DRM system, and being inferior to Steam and other platforms such as Blizzard's Battle.net, and how the store handles exclusivity deals, with Metro Exodus stirring up controversy when Deep Silver's parent company Koch Media signed the exclusive.
- The PlayStation Classic was released on December 2018 as a cash-in on Nintendo's NES and SNES Classic Edition consoles. It had noticeable hardware issues, such as games not running properly, emulation problems, and one game didn't even work (Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six), not to mention, there wasn't any time to get proper licenses from publishers to have more popular games for the system.
- Google Stadia was released in 2019 as a "Founder's Edition" only for an expensive $130 while the free version was released the next year, however the Founder's edition lacked most of the promised features and the streaming technology is very unreliable and the game library severely lacking.
- The PC Engine SuperGrafx was announced to be released in 1990 in Japan as the successor to the PC Engine with the name PC Engine 2 but because the Super Famicom and the Neo Geo were on the horizon it was instead released as a minor upgrade of the PC Engine released on December 1989. The console was soon discontinued and NEC would focus on the PC Engine and the upcoming PC-FX.
Why This Practice Is Forever Bad
- It can cause the game to be unfinished missing a lot of content, very buggy and riddled with glitches.
- It can cause hardware to fail, and be overpriced or laggy.
- Some mobile developers perpetrate this practice in the worst way possible. They build up the game from pre-made assets with little to no changes, add predatory monetization, all in the span of a short time, and then spend the rest (and even most) of their time falsely advertising it. And they never bother to improve or fix the game.
- Some rushed games are smaller compared to those that aren't rushed.
- Those who do this practice take advantage of the "games as a service" as quoted "Release Now, Fix Later" model.
- Overall, it's a bad influence to developers and hardware manufacturers as of result in the stressful time for crunch time, the creatives' and publishers' executive meddling against devs' visions, and not trustworthy to the development hell competition.
- Nowadays since the seventh generation, rushing development isn't much of a problem, seeing as there are patches and updates to help fix bugs and other issues resulting from the rushed development.
- There are some great rushed games like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Super Mario World.