May 17, 2018 // 10 a.m.
In separate, but coincidentally-timed, announcements, Shenmue 3, Metro Exodus, Phoenix Point, and an unspecified game from Take-Two Interactive believed to be Borderlands 3 have all been delayed until at least 2019.
The crowd-funded third entry in Sega's Japan-'em-up Shenmue franchise, which had previously been a big draw for the company's ill-fated Dreamcast console, Yu Suzuki's Shenmue 3 was originally scheduled to launch in December last year. Despite - or, arguably, because of - raising more than three times the project's original $2 million funding goal, that deadline flew by with no launch - and now publisher Deep Silver has announced the game is being pushed back to an unspecified date in 2019 to allow time to 'polish the quality of the game even further, to the high standards it deserves and release the product in the best possible timeframe.'
'To all of our backers, we are very sorry for the delay. After much discussion with our partners, Deep Silver, we have concluded that extending the release will allow us to deliver Shenmue III at its best,' added series creator Suzuki of the delay. 'We promise to use this time to improve the quality of Shenmue III. We cannot thank you enough for your enduring support.'
Shenmue 3 is far from alone in being pushed back, however. Julian Gollop, interviewed back in April, has confirmed that his XCOM-inspired Phoenix Point - Gollop having created the original UFO: Enemy Unknown XCOM title in 1994 with his brother Nick - has also been pushed back, to June 2019.
The delays don't end there, however: 4A Games has joined Suzuki and Gollop in pushing Metro Exodus, the latest entry in its first-person post-apocalyptic franchise, to the first quarter of 2019. 'The development of Metro Exodus is progressing well; we are all really excited by what we are seeing,' 4A Games claims in a joint statement with publisher Deep Silver, the same company behind Shenmue 3. 'We want everyone to be able to experience what is the most ambitious Metro game to date at its absolute best and therefore we have taken the decision to move the release date to Q1 2019. We know that this will be disappointing news for fans that had hoped to play the game this year, but also know that you will appreciate the results that this additional development time and new release date will bring.'
Last, but by no means least, Take Two Interactive chief executive Strauss Zelnick warned investors that 'the highly-anticipated title from one of 2K's biggest franchises, which had been planned for release during the current fiscal year, is now planned for launch during fiscal 2020 to allow for additional development time,' during the company's earnings call this week. While Zelnick didn't state the specific game being delayed, signs point to Gearbox Software's Borderlands 3 - and a push to the company's 2020 financial year means it may not see the light of day until early 2020.