"Awesome takes time," the ever-ebullient Dax Ginn recently told a group of reporters in explaining why his studio's new Batman game, the first from Rocksteady since 2011, is no longer scheduled for a late-2014 release.
If this news sounds a wee bit familiar, it's because a whole bunch of games seem to be slipping to 2015. The Witcher 3 just did. The Order: 1886. Mad Max. The Division. Even Valve's Steam Machines seem to be slipping.
In an era of annual Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed games, this might seem a bit weird, but those mega-franchises tend to rotate development studios, a change even the Arkham games appeared to switch to to enable a 2013 release of the WB Montreal-developed Batman: Arkham Origins.
We at Kotaku first saw Arkham Knight running in March. The game is set in a big open-world swath of Gotham City. The game's creators, playing on a PC build, appeared to be able to glide and drive through large sections of it at will. There were framerate hitches, which is common in unfinished games. Those seemed to be getting resolved when we saw the game again in May. But Rocksteady apparently needs more time.
"Now Batman: Arkham Knight is totally awesome," Ginn told us in May, under embargo. "The thing about awesome, though, is awesome takes time. And totally awesome takes a lot of time. So in collaboration with our colleagues at Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics, we have decided to extend the development time of Batman: Arkham Knight. Now, the very simple reason for doing this is to ensure we are delivering the awesome level of quality that Batman fans and gamers expect from this, the final episode and the epic conclusion to the Rocksteady Arkham trilogy. The Dark Knight will face his ultimate challenge in Batman: Arkham Knight now to be released in 2015."
Arkham Knight wasn't just one of the biggest games planned for the fall of 2014. It was also one of the first major third-party games to be announced to be only shipping for new-gen hardware. No PS3. No Xbox 360. Just PS4, Xbox One and PC.
For those dying for a Batman game this year, Lego Batman 3 is still slated for a fall release.
Sorry, folks, but 2015 is the new 2014. You'll have to tide yourself over with a smaller slate of games this fall than expected. Hopefully there'll be some greats in the mix.