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Christmas Rushed is the practice of rushing a product's development in order to coincide with a major holiday shopping rush (like Christmas, naturally). It often happens to highly hyped products, products made by big-name developers, or products that are part of a Cash Cow Franchise or tie into something already currently successful.
It can also apply to any product that is rushed for release by a certain date, or in time for a certain event (such as the deadline for an award nomination or convention appearance). Whatever the case, the fact that the product was rushed often leads to a poorly made product. The Problem with Licensed Games and Porting Disaster usually occurs due to this, as the developers are rushed to have the game released at the same time as the licensed property's premiere/launch/kickoff.
This can often lead to Development Hell. Arguably worse are those products that do manage to be released on time, since it's often obvious that they're rush jobs.
- Generally a Comic Book Adaptation will be prepared to coincide with the release of a film; as a result, they have to work with earlier drafts of the movie rather than the final cut. Marvel Comics' adaptation of Star Wars, for example, included Jabba the Hut, looking much different from his appearance two films later.
- Mentioned in The Last Starfighter, a movie about an alien race who recruits pilots through video games:
Rylan Bursar: "Return the money, Centauri."
Centauri: "Return the money! Are you delirious? Do you know how long it took to invent the games? To merchandise them? To get them in the stores by Christmas?"
- Last Action Hero was rushed to open for the 1993 big summer movie season, to the point that post-production on the film was only finished a few weeks before its initial release.
- Cloverfield had to be rushed into production (which started in August 2007) to be ready in time for its stone-set date of January 18th, 2008 (the trailer, which was released a month earlier, came out while the film was still in pre-production).
- Steven Spielberg rushed Munich into production and post-production in just five months so he could open it in time for Oscar qualifying. Though the film was a box-office disappointment (due to advertising not being ready until two weeks before opening), it did get some Oscar nominations.
- Oliver Stone had to rush the production of W. (which began development in late 2007 and began filming in April 2008) so he and Lionsgate could have it out before the 2008 election (the original plan was to release it in January 2009 to get more post-production work done but Lionsgate was wanting Oscar nominations so it was moved up).
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was timed to be released in 2007 on Christmas Day, and had an appropriately-themed marketing campaign ("This Christmas, there will be no peace on earth."). In addition, the film was Not Screened for Critics, and debuted to negative reviews and box office apathy.
- The Beatles' Rubber Soul album (according to The Other Wiki, anyway) was rush-produced for Christmas 1965. The lack of quality is debatable, because this is the Beatles we are talking about, but many fans consider Rubber Soul to be one of their "lesser" works. "Lesser" for the Beatles, that is.
- Beatles for Sale's title mockingly hints at the fact that it was also rushed, to the point that the band had to fall back on a few covers after the all-original A Hard Day's Night.
- Something which is lampshaded in the liner notes, as explained in Suspiciously Specific Denial.
- Companies that manufacture board games and role-playing games often have to rush to get them out in time for major conventions such as GenCon and Origins Game Fair.
- The mother of all "Don't Miss Christmas" marketing has to be the 1977 Star Wars Early Bird Certificate, which was basically a cardboard display and a ticket with the promise of getting Star Wars action figures. Surprisingly, this was averted and worked: it allowed time to develop quality action figures, and Star Wars was so blindingly popular that no one seemed to mind.
- ET the Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is a famous example; the game was made in only six weeks so it could be released on time for the holidays and tie in with the then-popular movie, leading to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
- It is presumed that this is why Natsume's translation of Harvest Moon 64 was released at the end of November, with so many on-screen typos in the in-game English-language text.
- Knights of the Old Republic II suffered this fate, with a horrible ending that tied up very few loose ends capping off a game that could have been Legendary Good. LucasArts just needed it to be out by Christmas, and damn the players' satisfaction with the game.
- Even with the rush, it didn't reach Europe until February.
- And the worst part about this example is that LucasArts specifically told Obsidian they couldn't restore the cut content in a patch.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 was rushed: A.) for a Christmas release, and B.) to mark it as the 15th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. The result was an Obvious Beta, widely considered the worst entry in the entire Sonic franchise.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was also rushed, causing the loss of five planned Zones (one, Genocide City, was turned into a third act for Metropolis Zone). Despite that, it wound up on the opposite end of the spectrum and is considered one of the best Sonic games produced.
- The same also goes for its sequel, Sonic 3, where the developers were simply too ambitious for both their time limits and the limitations of the system they were making the game for, so the game had to be split into two, the first part being released on February 2nd, 1994, or "Hedgehog Day", and the second part, Sonic & Knuckles, released eight months later, allowing players to combine the two parts to play the two back-to-back as Sonic 3 and Knuckles.
- And Sonic Spinball, which was a holdover for until Sonic The Hedgehog 3 got released.
- Enter the Matrix was rushed so that the release would coincide with The Matrix Reloaded.
- Word of God is that Epic Mickey was rushed to reach store shelves by the 2010 holiday season, which explains a few of the game's rougher edges. Even with the rush, it missed the "Black Friday" after-Thanksgiving shopping weekend.
- Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly is an Obvious Beta because of this.
- SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny is considered to be Summer Holiday Rushed as it is severely lacking in modes and unlockable items. It even advertised itself as a simpler version of Soul Calibur 4 for players new to the game, which is a way of the makers admitting they couldn't make it as good as they wanted to.
- An odd example occurs with the Call of Duty series, as Activision orders their various studios to have games ready by Veterans Day.
- Car Tycoon was literally Christmas Rushed for Christmas 2001. It ended up not simply having a few bugs, but being borderline unplayable, something that even two bugfixes couldn't repair. For example, the cars sold by the competing companies clogged the streets so it became impossible to even deliver new cars to the stores because the number of cars in the game, their lifespan, and the overall length of the streets were badly balanced.
- Golden Sun Dark Dawn's questionable writing quality is blamed by several fans on the game being Christmas Rushed. This is supported by the later-released European version clearing up several awkward comments compared to the American version.
- World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion, despite Blizzard's insistence otherwise, is a case of this.
- Mario Kart 7 was released as an emergency to improve the catalogue of the Nintendo 3DS for Christmas 2011. (so much that they had to request a company which Nintendo frequently gave tight deadlines on their own games to complete it)
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was rushed out the door to catch the Christmas rush, forcing the developers to cut out several levels to make the release on time.
- Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness was in Development Hell for a while, and then ironically rushed out for the Christmas season, which was one of the reasons the game had a ton of cut content and bugs up the wazoo.
- DOOM (Sega 32X): This port of the iconic 1993 game, DOOM, was rushed out the door for the 1994 holiday season: the music was worse than the PC version, some animations were missing, such as Doomguy's determined face in the HUD when you would use a weapon overtime, some geometry cuts were made, and the final episode from DOOM, Inferno, was missing due to the rush.