Two of Microsoft's biggest exclusives for 2017 are no longer launching within the 2017 window. Scalebound was cancelled and Crackdown 3 was delayed into 2018. A lot of gamers have been giving grief to Microsoft over the delays, and Microsoft finally gave an honest response regarding the Crackdown 3 delay.
I think in the past we have made the mistake of announcing some exclusives a little bit too early. We're trying to learn from that mistake and do better, so we have a bit that's in development now that we're not talking about. We're in this for the long haul, and we want to make sure that not just in the spring of 2018, but in the summer, and in the fall, and the spring of 2019 that we'll have great, unique, fun experiences for Xbox gamers.
Previous to that specific quote, Loftis explained to Polygon that the choice to delay Crackdown 3 was difficult, but it was done so that Sumo Digital and CloudGine could focus more on improving the quality of the three main game modes.
Loftis says the decision to delay the game was also tough because it was already announced. Essentially, the game was announced three years too early.
In the world of game development, though, these sort of situations pop up. There's a choice of either canceling the project altogether or delaying it until the game gets good.
Famed Nintendo creative director, Shigeru Miyamoto, always believed that eventually a game is made good by delaying it. If you rush a game, however, it will forever be bad. There are a ton of games that fit into the latter category, which were either pushed out too soon, or lacked proper QA testing, or didn't have all of the modes fleshed out before release.
But at the end of the day, delaying a game so that it can live up to the hype is an extremely important thing both for the game's brand and for the platform's worth.
Exclusives make or break a game console's desirability on the market, and Microsoft has had a difficult time trying to secure second or third party exclusives, or develop first-party exclusives in-house. Crackdown is one of the only few exclusive titles Microsoft has on the horizon for the Xbox game consoles, so the studio definitely had to delay it to make it good.
Some footage from the San Diego Comic-Con didn't look all that promising, and so instead of throwing out a half-finished game this fall, Microsoft wisely delayed it into early 2018.
The question now is if another six months or so will be enough to turn Crackdown 3 into a high-octane, intense, fun third-person shooter? We've seen a number of middling games hit the market that greatly underwhelm recently, such as Agents of Mayhem, so Microsoft will definitely want to avoid that kind of response from the gaming community.