Another major game delay has rocked the industry. How should we respond?
On August 11th, 2020 Microsoft and 343 Industries sent shockwaves through the gaming world by announcing that upcoming Xbox Series X launch title, Halo: Infinite, would not be launching with the new console, but instead would be delayed until 2021. 343 studio head, Chris Lee stated, “The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year.” He went on, “We know this will be disappointing to many of you and we all share in that sentiment”. The gaming industry is no stranger to game delays. Indeed, many of the great games we’ve already enjoyed this year such as Final Fantasy VII Remake and Ghost of Tsushima saw their own respective delays. This particular delay, however, carried more impact, partly due to the fact that it was meant to be a console launch game (harkening back to Halo glory days) and partly due to Halo’s massive brand name. You toss in the fact that Halo: Infinite has been in the oven for quite a while and there’s argument to be made that this is the most significant video game delay in history.
The disappointing reaction that Lee noted is an understandable and valid feeling. We had hopes or expectations that something was going to happen and then it didn’t. What we do with that disappointment is another matter. A natural outcome might be to get angry, frustrated, or cynical over the issue. As a Christian, though, we should guard against such results. When speaking about church unity, Paul exhorts in Ephesians 4:2 to walk “with patience, bearing with one another in love”. While we’re certainly not dealing with the body of Christ with game delays, the same spirit should carry over to this and every situation.
Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 says “Better is the end of a thing than it’s beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of the fools”. When thinking about stalwarts of the faith who displayed incredible patience, one fantastic example is Joseph. This is a man who was belittled by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongly accused and tossed into prison, yet remains faithful and trusts that he will be used by God. Joseph had every right to be upset and angry with his circumstances and still displayed unbelievable patience knowing that God was ultimately good. Despite his situation, Joseph lived the life of the Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 man by seeing that, through patience, the end would be better than the beginning.
If Joseph can not only endure such long injustice, but do so with a right attitude, then I have high hopes that we can overcome the simple inconvenience of a video game delay. This is obviously an extreme example comparatively, and I know most readers have properly processed the news of Halo’s delay. Yet we still need reminding that there are vastly more important things in this life than video games. Allow this delay to work patience in us as God slowly sanctifies and draws us closer to Him. More importantly, examine yourself and the reaction you had to this (or any) game delay. To invoke the parable of the sower, are you, as good soil, “bearing fruit with patience”?
Nintendo legend Shigeru Myamoto famously once said, “A delayed game is eventually good. A bad game is bad forever.” His sentiment here is that if you release a game in a bad state, you will always regret it. 343 Industries has one shot at a first impression, and Halo is important enough to Microsoft that they will take the time and effort to make sure that first impression is a strong one. Making major video games in 2020 is hard! Let’s all show a little bit of patience and grace toward 343 and Microsoft for not only making a bold and difficult decision, but also bettering the game in the process.