Delaying a game may incur additional costs and fan ire, but in the end it's important for a developer to recognize when a game needs additional incubation time for quality purposes, Tom Clancy's The Division managing director David Polfeldt told The Examiner.
According to Polfeldt, it is "tremendously important" that developers and publishers know when to take a hit and delay a game. He said that Ubisoft's stock shares fell 25 percent the day the company announced its highly-anticipated open-world hacking game Watch Dogs had been delayed from October 2013 into 2014.
"It takes so much courage to live through that day and still think that was a good decision," he said. "So for us in the development [side], that's an important message that ultimately the management will back up the goals that we have, which is the game has to be great.
"That's ultimately the end goal and then it's a million times better if it's on time, but if there is a choice between time and quality, then quality will win," he added. "If you look at Ubisoft you see a lot of people who have been in the company for over 20 years and that's not very common today in corporate landscapes. But I do think that one of the reasons is people believe that ultimately this company has a very positive agenda about putting out good entertainment products and we're willing to back it up, we're will to take a few hits and some larger risks to make sure quality is very high."
Polfeldt added that internally, Ubisoft developers are constantly pushing the quality bar, studying similar games being produced by other development companies and seeking to iterate and innovate in as many ways as possible. He said that in development, there is never a situation in which a team is told to "just get it done" and delays for quality will always win out over holding a product a team is unhappy with to its deadline.
"I've never heard that in an internal [meeting], often we come back with a sense of just being challenged all the time, doesn't matter what we do or how good it is, there's always a question of, ‘Okay great, but what if? Or could you push that further?'" he said. "That's an inspiring environment to me. I have to say I look forward to going to work everyday, and part of that reason is I know they will ask me to outperform myself as often as possible."
Watch Dogs is currently slated to launch on May 27 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A Wii U version will come later this year. Tom Clancy's The Division is also on track for a 2014 release for PS4, PC and Xbox One.