To those who wait


The PlayS­ta­tion Europe Twit­ter ac­count re­cently an­nounced that Hori­zon Zero Dawn would be re­leased in the ter­ri­tory two days early. Within sec­onds, some wag had replied: “So a day later than the rest of the world, then.”

A day? We used to wait months for the lo­cal­i­sa­tion of the lat­est big thing from Ja­pan – and by the time it fi­nally ar­rived, it would be bor­dered and run­ning 17.5 per cent slower. Frus­trat­ing, sure, but when a long-awaited game fi­nally ar­rived on lo­cal shop shelves, it meant some­thing.

It’s a feel­ing that’s some­what ab­sent from the mod­ern game in­dus­try, with its si­mul­ta­ne­ous – or, in Hori­zon’s case, as good as si­mul­ta­ne­ous – world­wide re­leases. Nowa­days the clos­est we get to that tan­ta­lis­ing an­tic­i­pa­tion is ham­mer­ing F5 on a web­page while wait­ing for a dis­patch con­fir­ma­tion, or curs­ing our con­sole’s down­load speed.

Un­til this month. It has been nine years since Fu­mito Ueda be­gan work on The Last Guardian (p106). We have spent most of that pe­riod un­der the grim im­pres­sion that we’d never get to play it; that Ueda or Sony would de­cide it was never go­ing to hap­pen, and put it in the bin. But it is here, and the phrase ‘worth the wait’ has rarely felt so apt. In­deed, the wait might have made it even bet­ter, the long­ing, the an­tic­i­pa­tion, only in­ten­si­fy­ing over time.

Fi­nal Fan­tasy XV (p110) has been just as long in the mak­ing, with an even more trou­bled ges­ta­tion, see­ing changes of name, game, and even those mak­ing it. The wait has been painful, and the re­sults can be too. But would you rather have FFXV and The Last Guardian, or Dead Ris­ing 4 (p114), a game made to a dead­line and a fixed tem­plate that of­fers lit­tle be­yond punc­tu­al­ity? If you like, Sony, de­lay

Hori­zon again. We’re get­ting a taste for wait­ing.

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