Current mantra of id software, slowly being taken up by the rest of the gaming industry. Used to respond to the crazy notion put forward by the gaming community that a development team actually knows the release date of a just-announced product.

Unfortunately the phrase is linked to vaporware in many, though certainly not all, cases.

Also a phrase PR representatives and publishers seemingly do not understand.

(call me A.R., but ....)

The origin of this phrase, at least in the field of software (and in particular, game) development, is actually somewhat of a mystery.

The first time I ever heard (well, read, actually)the phrase, myself, was in the post-Doom, but pre-Duke Nukem 3D days; the latter half of '95, or so. This was on 3D Realms' website (well, Apogee Software's website, too, seeing as they're one and the same), regarding Duke Nukem 3D's release date. Now, as far as I know, this had been the stated release date for Duke3D since it was announced, in July of '94. I haven't been able to find a date for Quake's announcement, but I imagine it was a few months before the release of Doom II: Hell on Earth, which was October 10, 1994. So, if the phrase was also the "release date" for Quake, then we're still no closer to figuring out who coined it.


Well, how about this? The phrase "when it's done" is literally plastered all over 3D Realm's website, but does not not appear even once on id Software's. Of course, id's also doesn't talk about upcoming games, so even that doesn't really tell us anything!

oh well... there was probably a lot of cross-pollination between those two companies, back then, and it doesn't really matter all that much, anyway. However, I always like to see credit given whenever it is due, hence this writeup.

anyway, here's a relevant quote that I found while researching:

"If not originally coined by, then at least popularized id Software, when talking of their long awaited Quake back in the post-Doom 2 days" 1

And then a back and forth that I read on Slashdot once, a long, long time ago, paraphrased here, for your convenience: 2

  • I like id Software's motto, we release "when it's done" 2a
  • uhh.. I think you mean, "3D Realms", not "id Software" - id's motto is more like, we release "when it's Christmas" 2b
  • actually, no - Quake's release dates have always been "when it's done" 2c

So, who coined the phrase? "The world may never know..."

2a ain't open-source development held to a different by linux bigot () on Wednesday August 05, @12:39PM
2b Re: ain't open-source development held to a differ by Fredde ( on Wednesday August 05, @01:17PM
2c Re: ain't open-source development held to a differ by flip () on Saturday August 08, @01:40AM

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.