Bad news if, like me, your response to dry January was going to be supping pre-mixed Aldi pina coladas at your desk while your monitor beamed sun-kissed beaches into your daylight-starved eyeballs. Caribbean management'n'despotism sim Tropico 6 has just suffered its second delay, missing the January release date it was eyeing, after failing to appear in 2018. Expect it in March now.
The reason? It just didn't make the grade in its current state, reckons the boss of publisher Kalypso - this particular getaway was looking a little more Ryanair than Virgin Atlantic. So he claims, "Tropico 6 is good, but not very good, or outstanding. Yet."
(The total bastard in me came very close to running "Tropico 6 is not very good, says its own publisher" as a headline).
The open letter about the delay from Simon Hellwig, MD of Kalypso Media Group, is unusually frank, as these things go - you couldn't catch Ian Blizzard or Susan Ubisoft talking like this, y'know?
"Over the holidays, I have played Tropico 6 for many hours and really liked what I saw. But, in my humble opinion, it is not enough to like a game – I want to love it! And Tropico 6 is good, but not very good, or outstanding. Yet.
"Combining my own opinion and the response we had from thousands of dedicated beta players around the world, Kalypso has decided to postpone the release of the game for another couple of months to March 29, 2019."
Which is admirable, and I'd always much rather this sort of approach than doggedly sticking to a release date because you've already paid for all the adverts to come out on a particular day, as we've seen happen a few times, particularly for big multi-platform stuff. MENTIONING NO NAMES.
What has me flapping my hands in mild panic is that two months really isn't long, at least when it comes to addressing the kind of fundamental design stuff that, in my experience of playing thousands of games oh god I'm so old, often makes the difference between 'good' and 'very good'.
Hellwig describes the focus of the extra time as being on adding "more icing on the Tropican cake" and to "add as many of the community requests for enhanced features and gameplay as possible into the release version of the game."
They're also planning further refinement of the stuff he's happier with already: "Features like pathfinding, a challenging multiplayer and the comprehensive simulation not only of each individual Tropican, but of the whole economy, are already implemented well, but could benefit from more balancing, testing and enhancement to meet our very high quality standards for Tropico 6."
I mean, I hope what this means is a perhaps overly-dramatic way of admitting that T6 needs more polish, and not that something is rotten in the state of Tropico. This is developer Limbic Entertainment's first time holding the Tropico reins (the last few having been made by Haemimont, who are currently sitting in a tree with Paradox for Surviving Mars), so it's good to hear they've not been forced to rush things.
By way of amends for the delay, Kalypso are saying that the game's first chunk of DLC will be given out free to anyone who pre-orders Tropico 6 by the end of this Thursday, Jan 10 (including those who have already pre-ordered). I'm not convinced that saying "our game is not outstanding yet" is the surest-fire way to round up the pre-orders, but it's certainly balm for those who have already forked out.
I'm always game for a visit to club Tropico-ana, anyway, and I'm happy to wait if it means a better game. I just hope they have enough time to make such dreams come true.