In mid-January, rumors were circulating that Eutechnyx was on the verge of delaying one of the most anticipated games of the year, NASCAR 2011: The Game. The rumors ended up being true.
While this created quite a bit of buzz on message boards, most of the reaction was of a positive nature. Even though no one wants to wait for an anticipated title, gamers seem to appreciate a company that understands that the quality of a title is the top priority. And the Eutechnyx developers have understood from day one that NASCAR fans (and racing fans in general) know a ton about their beloved sport, and they understand its most intricate details. In other words, the developers realize they need to deliver or fear the wrath of the knowledgeable fans.
I had a chance to sit down with Gregg Baker, the community leader at Eutechnyx, and talk about the decision to delay the game as well as the reasoning behind it.
Operation Sports: Gregg, who had the ultimate say in the decision to delay NASCAR 11?
Gregg Baker: As a development studio we always want to produce the best games possible, and while NASCAR The Game 2011 is in a shippable state right now, we just wanted more time to fine tune and polish it.
OS: What was the time frame in which Eutechnyx felt like a delay could be very possible?
GB: It’s a tough one to really say, as a game is developed it’s never easy to predict how many bugs or issues will appear towards the end as you get closer to mastering. Sometimes you can fix one issue and it causes another five. We made the call about a couple weeks before it was due to be mastered as we really didn’t want to have to make our gamers wait for the game any longer!
OS: It seems a lot of gamers are open to a company delaying a game for the purpose of quality. What were some of the issues that caused said delay?
GB: It’s a pretty big deal to delay any game, but I think gamers realize that when studios rush out a game to a deadline it generally doesn’t meet their expectations. So it was a no-brainer for us. We wanted the game to look as good as possible and felt the short delay would make sure we hit our level of standards.
GB: There were a couple more features we wanted to include -- these will be confirmed closer to release date. But also it gives us more time to test for bugs, tweak gameplay and just generally ensure we provide a better experience to all our paying customers.
OS: Were there certain areas of the game that were just not ready to go, or did the overall game just need final touches administered as a whole?
GB: I don’t think there was any one thing in particular that needed drastic changing, more a number of minor tweaks. The game will really feel the benefit of these small changes, and we are confident people will love it!
OS: With the delay now confirmed, will the 2011 season DLC now be included on the disc, or are you still planning on the add-on distribution?
GB: At this point we are still considering doing it as an update, but there is time for this plan to change.
OS: Is there anything that you couldn’t include in this year’s game that you really wanted to, and even with the delay, just did not have the time?
GB: Now that would be telling! I guess people are going to have to wait until the game ships and then we can confirm what will be in next year’s.
OS: If you could get one message out to the fans (and there are many of them) that are eagerly awaiting this game, what would it be?
GB: I think it would have to be “thank you!” So far we have been blown away by the response from the community and NTG fans. They have been very supportive and incredibly passionate about the game. No one likes to delay a game, so when we did it we were overwhelmed by the positive reaction we generally received from the fans of the game. So we really thank them all for their patience and understanding, and we can’t wait for them to pick up NASCAR The Game for the first time!
As you can see, the developers in this case really do care about the product. They want to deliver the best possible game; and they want to create a great gaming experience right out of the box. In this day and age of "push the title out and we can patch it later," Eutechnyx decided to take a different route, and for that the company should be commended. Look for NASCAR 11 to hit retail shelves on March 29 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.