5 Very Different Reasons Games Were Delayed After Going Gold

By | October 30, 2020

CD Projekt Red recently delayed Cyberpunk 2077 for a third time, pushing the highly anticipated RPG from mid-November to December 10. Multiple delays for a game on this scale aren’t entirely unusual, especially in the case of Cyberpunk, which is being developed simultaneously for nine different platforms. What is unusual about this latest delay, however, is the fact that Cyberpunk had already gone gold.

“Going gold” is the industry term for when a release build of a game passes certification and can be printed onto physical discs. It’s often taken as a sign of confidence that a game will no longer be delayed, as it initiates the process of printing, packaging, and shipping copies to retailers. But going gold does not often mean development is complete; developers spend the next month or so making last-minute tweaks and improvements that are added as day one patches. Though historically rare, developers can run into trouble during that window and are forced to make one last delay, or in some cases, pull the plug altogether.

In light of the Cyberpunk news, we’ve compiled a list of five other games that got delayed (or canceled) after going gold. Click through the gallery below or continue scrolling for the full list.

Games Delayed After Going Gold

Thrill Kill

Thrill Kill, the controversial, adult-only fighting game for PS1, was scheduled to be released in October 1998. Developer Paradox (later known as Midway Los Angeles) had the full support of initial publisher Virgin Interactive, and the four-player fighter was on track to hit its target date — that is until August 1998, when EA acquired a number of Virgin’s studios and assets, including Thrill Kill.

At the time, Thrill Kill was “99% finished,” according to programmer David Ollman (via VG247), but EA couldn’t get past its violence. “Our whole executive team was involved in the decision to cancel the game, and we certainly evaluated it to see if there was something that we could do to make ourselves more comfortable with the content,” said EA’s then director of corporate communications Patricia Becker (via ZDNet). “The tone and the tenor of the game are just too violent.”

There was still hope for Thrill Kill after the cancellation, as those at Paradox thought EA may sell the rights to another publisher. Several companies, including Eidos Interactive, according to Variety, were interested in acquiring the property, but EA refused to sell.

“We don’t feel that the game’s content is appropriate regardless of who publishes it,” Becker told IGN. “Game companies have to accept responsibility for any game they publish… It was the tone and tenor of Thrill Kill. When you look at Mortal Kombat, you look at a fighting game, as opposed to a sadistic killing game. Thrill Kill is a killing game. The product did not meet our standards for appropriate content.”

Paradox would use the foundation of Thrill Kill to build another fighter, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, which is “roughly 70% identical [to Thrill Kill] on a technical level,” according to Ollman.

Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN.