Going for gold.
The “gold” disc, in video game terms, doesn’t refer to a sales record like in the music industry. (PlayStation used to have something similar to the music industry’s gold and platinum records, the “platinum” range, for games that had sold over 400,000 copies worldwide.)
In video game terms, a title “going gold” refers to a stage in the development process. A game has “gone gold” when the build that’s used for the boxed, retail version has been finalised. That doesn’t mean development on the game has finished – hello, enormous day one patches – but it should (hopefully) mean the game is content-complete, and everything left to do constitutes tweaks, fixes, and optimisation.
We’re approaching an unusually early autumn blockbuster period this year. You could almost argue that, as releases have been brought forward to try and avoid the inevitable crush of AAA titles, it’s a blockbuster late summer. But in any case, as we approach that release window, big-name video games are all going gold around the same time.
First to break cover was Remedy’s Control, which releases later this month, on August 27, 2019:
Our latest, @ControlRemedy has gone gold! A lot of passion and hard work poured into it! Thank you, brilliant @remedygames team directed by @MikaelKasurinen! Thank you, dear @505_Games. Thank you our talented actors all! Thank YOU our supporters for sharing the excitment with us! pic.twitter.com/EnMEiqyL0E
— Sam Lake (@SamLakeRMD) July 24, 2019
Remedy’s supernatural action-adventure, Control, looks like it’s going to be something else. Yes, we’re all very sad that we’re not getting Alan Wake 2, but if Control is as good as initial impressions would indicate – and its mixed-media approach isn’t as overworked and finicky as Quantum Break’s – then we’re all going to be very happy indeed in a few weeks.
Then followed Borderlands 3, which releases on 13 September 2019:
— Gearbox Official (@GearboxOfficial) July 31, 2019
Which was followed up by an unusually tame tweet from Gearbox head honcho Randy Pitchford, explaining the significance:
The moment a build of a game is validated for reproduction and distribution is the moment we developers could consider ourselves finished. An earlier age had us burn an image of the final build onto a disc – usually colored gold. We called that moment “Going Gold.” We did it! https://t.co/TvBN3AQdVj
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) August 1, 2019
Borderlands 3 is looking and playing great, but also, it was one of the least memorable things we played at E3 2019. Perhaps it’s because it was exactly what we expected from a Borderlands sequel, or perhaps it was because the game’s killer feature – playing it in co-op with your friends and family – was disabled on the show floor. Either way, it’s still going to be a huge, silly, shooty barrel of nonsense, and we’re very here for that.
And speaking of games that are better with another, Gears 5 – which releases on September 10, 2019, but Xbox Ultimate Game Pass players can get it four days earlier – went gold just a couple of days ago:
— Xbox Wire (@XboxWire) August 9, 2019
It’s always nice to accompany the “gone gold” shot with a photo of the assembled studio, but when you’re the size of the Coalition? It becomes logistically more difficult to fit everyone on. Still, it shows a lack of ego among Rod Fergusson and the studio heads that is refreshing, and heaps praise exactly where it is deserved: the hardworking people who make video games.
We are, of course, very excited that Control, Borderlands 3, and Gears 5 have gone gold. We just would’ve liked it if they’d spread the releases out a little bit more. September is going to be a busy month.