Content of the article: "Internal Release Dates, Blog Posts, DLC announcements and you. A breakdown of what’s going on recently"
The yesterday at work I was getting pretty annoyed with all of the fuss over the DLC, and posted a pretty ranty, angry post that honestly didn't really accomplish anything besides reddit messaging me to tell me I got into some exclusive club for the most controversial posts of the day across the entire site. So yay for that.
But with many people seemingly confused about what's going on, I can understand why people are upset, but I think this stems from a lot of people on this sub not really understanding the process of software development and what goes on behind the scenes at complex software companies like CA and other game devs. As someone with experience in that field, and with experience modding the game and going through similar issues, I'll try to explain what exactly is happening with the DLC and these release date shenanigans.
Internal Release Dates
So the first thing to understand about software development is: release dates are merely a suggestion. Or for professional companies (looking at you indie early access devs) Internal Release Dates that is. Most professional software companies will only announce a public, concrete, set-in-stone release date once they are almost at the end of development and assured that their product will be releasing on time. This is because the very nature of software development prevents you from knowing when something will be ready far in advance. Bugs, development issues, and other unforeseen consequences (once lost two weeks of work because a coworker's PC caught fire) can and 100% will push back any release date you try setting months in advance.
This is why companies prefer to not publicly show release dates until they know a product is going to be ready by that time. These timeframes vary from studio to studio, some of the largest AAA studios can manage concrete release dates months in advance, because they have the manpower and resources to reliably deliver in that timeframe. But as a general rule of thumb, the smaller the team, the smaller that window becomes.
Don't trust any vague timeframes
CA has consistently stuck to a 2-week release date for all of their DLC. This is their standard, and it's the time-frame where they feel they have a 100% chance of releasing the DLC after it's announcement. Any timeframe given before then should be taken with a fucking dump truck worth of salt. Because who knows what the hell could happen to delay the release. Especially in these COVID times with many working from home and many falling ill. Maybe a VA for one of the LL's caught corona and couldn't voice their lines. Maybe the implementation of a new WE faction mechanic caused a massive issue just as they were finishing implementing it and they have to rebuild it from scratch. Maybe the Beastmen living in the woods of Horsham are holding the devs hostage until they finish replacing the WE half of the DLC with a Beastmen overhaul. Who knows.
And I'm going to have to shift some blame onto the community here for CA announcing these releases so early. It's no secret that many, many people on this sub and Total War's other media sites constantly ask for DLC release dates. "Just give us an estimate, just tell us if it will be coming before X month, just tell us ANYTHING". Well as they say, you reap what you sow. You asked for a release date, and they gave you a vague estimation of their current internal release date. "Soon". And now people are angry at them for giving them what they wanted in the first place.
What's currently going on
I think it's become obvious that their internal release date has since shifted from then. With the way Grace has been slowly updating us halfway through each week, I think the announcement is actually just over the horizon… but issues keep pushing it back. AKA the team tells Grace last week: "hey we might be good to announce this week, lets see how it looks on Wednesday". Then on Wednesday: "oh fuck grace fuck fuck fuck we broke everything tell them not this week". When you think of it from a insider perspective like this, Grace's comments and seeming lack of communication make much more sense. CA seems to be close to that "we'll be 100% ready to release" in 2 weeks mark, but issues keep delaying them from getting to that point week after week now.
So the moral of the story here is: Just be patient. Don't ask for release dates and try to force CA into making vague statements that they'll come to regret in a few months. Don't assume when anything is coming out until you get that concrete, set in stone Day/Month/Year release time. Otherwise you're just setting yourselves up for disappointment.
EDIT: And also please stop flooding/shitting on all other Total War game's announcements just because the Warhammer DLC isn't out yet. Seriously Troy just had a bunch of really cool, important updates this week but all of the discussions and posts about them are being flooded with "WHO CARES WARHAMMER DLC WHEN". It's immature and childish, especially considering that Troy is made by a completely different studio.
- I seriously doubt the game will be delayed a third time. There is a pattern emerging
- IMO, Release Dates Are Stupid
- It’s okay to be upset about Shadowlands being delayed, just don’t complain to Blizzard for making the right decision.
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