Yesterday, developer Hideki Kamiya hosted an “apology stream” announcing, and subsequently apologizing for, a delay on the company’s upcoming shoot-em-up, Sol Cresta. The stream was, all things considered, kind of a weird vibe.
Sol Cresta is slated to be the first title in Platinum Games’ “Neo-Classic Arcade Series” and was intended to release in early December. It has since, like many of creative director Kamiya’s games, been delayed to an unknown date. This is par for the course for Kamiya, who, in a recent interview with VideoGamesChronicle, admitted that only one of his games had actually been released according to schedule.
The announcement included one of Kamiya’s colleagues reading a brief letter, allegedly from a fan, that I cannot for the life of me determine the tone of. It tells the story of a young man heartbroken by the delay of Viewtiful Joe, who has become similarly crushed by the delay of Sol Cresta. This is either a grim indictment of the state of gamers and their emotional stability or a phenomenally executed shitpost. It ends with a desperate plea to the game’s developers, ”Why do games get delayed?” To which, per the translator, Kamiya responds, “...Yeah.” Kamiya then goes on to explain the game’s delay, attributing it to a change in the game’s scope during development.
The Neo-Classic Arcade Series intends to modernize arcade classics in every sense of the word, from fresh coats of paint to wholly new systems and design ideas. Sol Cresta has allegedly grown in accordance with this vision, and the game’s initial target date can’t be hit. This is obviously a passion project for the famously odd and enthused Kamiya, so a delay isn’t particularly surprising. Combine this with the grim reality that we are still living in a global pandemic and that, much to the chagrin of soulless shareholders, affects people’s ability to live and work.
More interesting to me than the delay itself is the announcement’s framing as an “apology stream.” Gamers can be a notoriously entitled group of people, ones who take minor delays to upcoming releases as a deeply personal affront. Developers, to counteract this, are often put in the very awkward position—familiar to anyone who knows the trenches of retail hell—of having to apologize for stupid bullshit that isn’t actually their fault. This stream, intentional shitpost or otherwise, drew explicit attention to this reality—and boy is it a bad look for people who lose their shit over delays.
It isn’t a life-saving drug. It’s a video game. Be normal about it.