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Robert Tamayo

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Cutting Corners vs Wrapping it Up

Screw Attack was cut from Metroid Prime. Kraid was cut as well. For Metroid fans, these two things would have been amazing to see in the game, especially Screw Attack. When I played the game as a kid, I always felt like it would have been cool to see a 3D Screw Attack. I even anticipated finding it at some point in the game. But, when it never showed up, I didn't feel too disappointed. I felt like the game complete, polished, and perfect, even without it. It was a new Metroid game, in 3D, and I just thought excluding it was a deliberate decision by the game developers in the translation from 2D to 3D.

Last week, though, I found out that both Screw Attack and Kraid were cut from the game because there wasn't enough time left in development. Both were originally planned to be a part of the original Metroid Prime game, and both were cut because there simply wasn't enough time left to finish adding them to the game. The end result was not a failure -- the game was great. It's more likely that the game would have suffered had the developers rushed in a buggy Screw Attack or a mediocre boss battle. The decision here was not to cut corners. The decision was to wrap it up.

Don't Cut Corners, Just Wrap it Up


It often happens in software development that a project takes longer to finish toward the end of development than at the start. Usually this isn't due just to finding and fixing bugs, but to adding in last-minute features and enhancements. Sometimes they aren't actually last-minute features, but part of the original scope. I propose that it's better to just cut them out entirely. Don't cut corners trying to fit them in. Chances are they won't be missed, even by fans. Most people won't even know that they were cut. 

Don't waste time and energy adding these things to projects toward the end of development. At a certain point in time, you need to look at your product and decide that it's enough. Would that one little extra feature really make all the difference in the world? If it would, then chances are the product is not good. If you're 95% finished, then you're either 100% finished or the product is garbage.

Just wrap it up. Stop adding features, clean it up, and release it.

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