When I was a little boy, little I know about videogame development, how much math and physics were involved in the process, how time consuming it was and much more.
When I grow up I understood developers not only needed a great idea to develop, but also two key factos that are shaping how development has changed in the last decade or so: money and time.
Back in the day when a release date was set and development was almost finished there were two options
- Complete the game in time and think about sequels/expansions with unused ideas
- Delay the game with adjustment or new content
Then this two-way diagram has been broke because online functionality, hard disk storage, DLC and tech in general helped developers to fix on the go issues and add content.
The problem is that what came from this is not wrong or a strange demon, a well planned and developed DLC is awesome, a fix from a weird bug is clearly welcomed, but what really is clear to me is that the fear of failure has completely vanished. Developing a game is not tied to its release, there is a backdoor now, that can be used for money and fixing.
Gone are the days of deadlines, so developers can concentrate on other aspects and overlook certain mistakes. I am not saying every developer acts this way, and there are a lot of good examples, but we definetely live in a gaming era where problems can be fixed once a game hits retail, or digital stores even better.
This vanishing fear of failure had an impact on budget and contents, since when a game is well received, an incredible amount of fear is triggered so to invest money in sequels and added content instead of new idea, where the amount of failure is higher.
Stress is a good thing when controlled, it makes you think, it makes you smarter, when a developing environment is not challenging enough, it really may happen so just relax and when a different challenge approaches the stakes are simply too high.