Your new favorite game is coming out. You’ve scrimped and saved to pre-order what you’re sure will be a masterpiece so it can download while you slumber. Maybe you’ve even updated your graphics card (if you can even get your hands on a new one). Maybe you’ve even decided to take off work (aka Gamer’s Leave) to spend some time with your new loved one (the game). Maybe the game you’ve been anticipating for years was originally going to come out on April 16th 2020, 14 days after your birthday, so you planned to have that day be your real celebration and were going to make yourself a creme brulee with Keanu Reeves’ face burned into it. You go on Twitter. The devs have an announcement. If it contains any of the following phrases, abandon all hope ye who play here. We’re breaking down the three phrases every gamer dreads seeing.

"Organizational changes" What it means: Somebody got fired. Or the crunch caused someone to choose between their job and their marriage so they had to quit. Or the toxic work culture got so bad they felt unsafe or just plain old about to lose their damn mind. Regardless of the reason, they’re replacing someone who had been shepherding the game towards readiness, with someone who probably has no idea what the rest of the development team has been doing. The incoming person will face a steep learning curve, a ton of frustrating onboarding, and odds are more than a little headbutting. What it actually means: The game is getting delayed.

“Release/Launch Window” What it means: Any statement that involves the term release or launch window after the game’s original release date has been announced is bad news. The term "window" is interesting (aka absolute BS), because when games announce a release date, they announce an actual date. Sure, at first a developer will say “coming Spring of 20whatever”, but as the clock ticks down they’ll announce an actual day when the game will be theoretically playable. Devs only mean one kind of window if they’re using this in an announcement: an escape window to get them off the hook. What it actually means: The game is getting delayed.

“Playtesting” What it means: This game is so full of bugs right now it’s like that potato sack man from The Nightmare Before Christmas. If an announcement says they need more time to “playtest”, you can bet your sweet rupees that it ain’t ready. With the sprawl of modern Triple A games, playtests consist of hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work by play testers. Citing the need for more playtesting is a valid concern, but not a good sign for your download queue. What it actually means: The game is getting delayed.

 

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