You gotta love retail listings. Today’s release date leak comes from an Amazon listing of The Art of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The art book produced by Dark Horse is coming March 21, 2017. But a blurb on the product page also indicates the game is releasing the same day.

Mass Effect Andromeda art book

Nice, I’ll take both.

Too Soon?

We haven’t seen much of Mass Effect Andromeda, have we? Outside of behind-the-scenes footage, the only gameplay I’ve seen was the tech video from last month.

We can expect a huge media blowout on N7 day (November 7th).

That gives us about five months between the big reveal and the release date leaked by the art book. It feels sudden compared to games in recent years, but there has been a distinct shift in narrowing the time between reveal and release date.

Take Fallout 4 for example. Bethesda revealed it at E3 2015 and launched the game that November. A five/six-month gap. Even publishers notorious for early reveals (cough, Ubisoft, cough) are changing their ways. It felt like we heard about Watch Dogs for three or four years before release. Watch Dogs 2? Revealed around E3 and coming in November.

EA is no different. Hell, they’re one of the best at not having a ton of time pass between reveal and release date.

Battlefield 1? May reveal, October release date.

Titanfall 2? Teaser trailer in April followed by first gameplay trailer in June. October release date.

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Why the shift is good

The shift is good for all parties. Developers don’t have to worry about building demos to present at several major conferences. Publishers can focus on a tighter marketing window. And we don’t have to wait that long between the first footage and getting our hands on the final game.

But the biggest side effect of shorter reveal to release windows? It tempers hype. For developers and gamers. Look at No Man’s Sky? I know, I know. It’s the favorite game to hate on right now.

The first trailer came out in 2013. That’s nearly three years of gamers hyping the game up. It was destined to fail. A shorter reveal to release cycle would have tempered these expectations for everyone. First of all, the developers would have shown a game that is more realistic to what they are releasing. Second, gamers would not have had enough time to generate the insane hype that ultimately surrounded the game.

Ubisoft saw this same issue with the first Watch Dogs. The early reveals looked incredible, but then the final game released and everyone was screaming graphic downgrades.

Waiting to reveal a game closer to release shows everyone a much more realistic picture of what the final game will look like. When we saw Battlefield 1 in May, we knew it was going to look pretty much like that at release. And DICE proved what Frostbite could do with Star Wars Battlefront.

A November reveal for Mass Effect: Andromeda and a March release date might seem fast, but it isn’t. Not anymore. More publishers are moving away from announcing their games too soon. And we have Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 as evidence EA prefers to wait until closer to a game’s release date.

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