The 10 most painful game delays of 2019

Polygon begins each year with a list of our most anticipated games that are schedule to arrive within the next 12 months. Look out for our 2020 list on Jan. 1, in fact.

But each year, a bunch of those games are delayed.

Here’s a selection of games we’d hoped to see in 2019, but which were delayed to 2020. Almost in every case, the developer or publisher put the delay down to a desire for better quality, and with crunch a serious issue in game development, we’re willing to be patient. We like to think of game delays as being a bit like the needle of a vaccine shot; short-term pain, but long-term benefit.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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A new Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch was first announced in November 2018, with a scheduled release some time in 2019. During E3, Nintendo announced that the game would be called Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but that it was being delayed to March 20, 2020. Nintendo’s deputy general manager Yoshiaki Koizumi said the company wanted to “ensure the game is the best it can be.”

In New Horizons, a player-created character buys a vacation package from Animal Crossing regular Tom Nook, and arrives on a pretty island. The player then creates a community on the island, inviting friends to settle, while trading, making use of resources and crafting items.

It looks to have more personalization options than the last game in the series, New Leaf, which came out on the 3DS back in 2012. Players can customize skin tone, as well as gender neutral hairstyles.

Doom Eternal

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Offering a quite different kind of experience, but out on the same day as New Horizons, Doom Eternal was originally due out in November 2019. Back in October, publisher Bethesda and developer id Software pushed the game out to March 20, promising that it “will live up to our standards of speed and polish.”

First announced in 2018, the game is a follow-up to 2016’s Doom, and is set in an apocalyptic Earth, where demons are on the loose. It’s coming out on Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Babylon’s Fall

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PlatinumGames is best known for the Bayonetta series as well as highly-regarded action games like Nier: Automata and Vanquish. The company and publishing partner Square Enix announced Babylon’s Fall in 2018, with a 2019 release window, but didn’t show us much of the game.

Babylon’s Fall was a significant no-show at this year’s E3 but a trailer was launched earlier this month, which showed Platinum’s signature style of high-action combat in an epic setting. It hasn’t been officially confirmed for 2020, but Square Enix promises a lot more information in the summer, likely meaning a big showing at E3.

Skull & Bones

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Back in May, Ubisoft announced that its open-world pirate adventure Skull & Bones, wouldn’t be coming out until the spring of 2020. This was the second full-year delay for the high seas combat adventure, following its first showing at E3 in 2017.

Skull & Bones will be familiar to anyone who played Ubisoft’s ship-to-ship combat sections in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (2013). Players steer warships and galleons using the wind to their advantage, and firing off broadsides. And yes, it will include multiplayer battles, called “Hunting Grounds.”

Ubisoft said that the game is a “new IP” which needs time for “evolutions of creative vision.” It’s coming out on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Atomic Heart

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Back in 2018, when Moscow-based developer Mundfish released its first full trailer for Atomic Heart, first-person shooter fans took note.

Set in an alternate-universe Soviet Union of the 1960s-70 the game has a witty BioShock / Fallout / Metro feel about it, combining undead enemies, clown-robots, and a tentacle creature. It was scheduled to come out in 2018, and subsequently delayed to 2019.

In January, Mundfush released a 10-minute gameplay demo. The game is coming out on PlayStation 4. Windows PC, and Xbox One. Its Steam page says release date is “TBA” but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for 2020.

Spelunky 2

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In August, Spelunky 2 developer Derek Yu broke the bad news that the much anticipated Spelunky 2 was delayed. Yu did not commit to a 2020 release date, but wrote on Twitter: “Development is still going well and we’re not far off target, but the density and detail of the game is demanding more time.”

Announced in 2017, Spelunky 2 is the follow-up to 2011 indie smash Spelunky, in which players navigate a series of randomized locales, including temples, caves, and tombs. Pretty and visually vibrant, Spelunky is one of the best games of the past decade. It’s coming out on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

Dreams

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Media Molecule’s game-building tool/story game Dreams was first shown as a demo back in 2013, with an official announcement following two years later. It’s been repeatedly delayed since 2016. In April this year, a limited version of the game was made available in early access and has yielded some remarkable user-made stories.

Dreams is similar to Media Molecule’s much-loved LittleBigPlanet series; it’s as much about creating as it is about playing. Along with a single-player campaign, Dreams offers an expansive suite of level-creation tools for budding game designers. But where the LittleBigPlanet games were limited to a side-scrolling 2.5D perspective, Dreams on PlayStation 4 plays out in full 3D, which increases the complexity of player-created levels. The full release is slated for Feb. 14.

Biomutant

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Originally announced in 2017 for release the next year, THQ Nordic’s Biomutant is a third-person open-world action game. It features a variety of strange creatures who are adept at martial arts. It’s being developed by Stockholm-based Experiment 101. That studio was founded by former Avalanche Studios creative director Stefan Ljungqvist, best known for the Just Cause games.

Biomutant was pegged for a 2019 release, but now looks likely to show up next year, according to a recent financial report from the publisher’s parent company.

Sable

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When indie studio Shedworks premiered Sable at E3 2018’s PC Gaming Show, the general reaction was positive. The game’s first trailer had the look of a smart graphic novel, with a pleasing color palette and stark lines.

Players assume the role of a young explorer named Sable, who finds themselves on a foreign planet. The landscape is a pretty, stark desert, with just a few structures dotting the landscape. Originally scheduled for release in 2019, it was pushed back earlier this year and is now due out in 2020.

Psychonauts 2

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Announced in 2015, Psychonauts 2 was originally due in 2018 and subsequently expected sometime in 2019. But then developer Double Fine Productions announced another delay, this time to 2020.

“We know it’s always disappointing when you have to wait a bit longer, but we also know that you are an amazing, supportive bunch, who … want the game to be as good as possible,” the company said in a statement.

The colorful sequel to 2005 cult favorite, Psychonauts 2 will once again put players in charge of kid-character Raz, who uses psychic powers to delve into the minds of others. It will be an Xbox Game Pass title, but is also coming to Windows PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Look out for Polygon’s big preview of the most anticipated games of 2020, coming soon.

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