Game Delays Are Always Better Than Rushed Releases, Says Gabe Newell

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"Late Is For A While. Suck Is Forever!"

Story Highlights
  • Half-Life just turned 25.
  • Reflecting on the game, Valve recalled that it was delayed for a year before being released.
  • Gabe Newell believes that game delays are better than releasing a poor product.

Valve is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Half-Life, which was released on 19 November 1998. As an icon of first-person shooters, this series played an important role in the current popularity of the genre.

However, Half-Life’s development was not completely smooth. Gabe Newell from Valve recently recalled that it was delayed for a year before it was ready. The Valve president believes this was the right call and that delays are better than poor releases.

Why it matters: This lesson is more important than ever today since the number of broken games has reached new highs in recent years.

YouTube video

Valve released an hour-long documentary on the 25th anniversary of Half-Life, talking about the early stages and the development of the game. The co-founder discussed that the studio was on a rough schedule and had to delay the game back in 1997. He said:

“We told them we’re not gonna ship this.”

Half-Life was then delayed for a year despite Valve’s existing commitments. The studio was so dedicated to delivering the best game possible that it had no intention of putting out a broken product. Gabe Newell added:

“Late is just for a little while. Suck is forever.”

The president noted that Valve could have figured something out to get the game out within its previous release window. However, the studio hoped to set a precedent and release a complete game with Half-Life.

We also agree with this opinion since we have seen many titles that were unplayable at release recently. While a game like Cyberpunk 2077 may have made a comeback in 2023, it was widely lambasted in 2020 due to launch issues.

Half-Life 3

Other points discussed in the documentary include Gabe Newell’s outlook on realism in games. While some are opposed to unrealistic elements in games, the veteran developer believes this imagination and separation from reality is key to all games.

No Half-Life discussion is complete without fans bringing up Half-Life 3. While the third game has not been announced on the anniversary, an RTX remaster for the second game is in development.

Half-Life is also free on Steam to celebrate this anniversary, leading to a massive spike in its player base.

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