People here often complain about waiting a long time for a game to get released. After all, seven years is a long time to wait for Final Fantasy Versus 13 or The Last Guardian. Versus was announced before the PS3 launched while The Last Guardian was announced shortly after. Both games have been in development since 2005. Of course the wait for Duke Nukem Forever was even longer - nearly 15 years. The result of all that work - not a lot. At least the game was eventually released, which may be more than either Versus or The Last Guardian can say. Of course while 15 years may seem like a long time, the record for longest in development movie is double that - 31 years for The Thief and the Cobbler. That animated movie was eventually taken by debtors away from its creator and completely ruined in an attempt to make it appeal to family audiences. The director, who worked on the film from 1964 to 1992, never worked in the film industry again, and the rest of us lost a chance to see what many who had seen it called the greatest animated film of all time. 31 years seems like a hell of a long time, and it has been for The Overcoat, a film that began production in 1981 and is still in production today. The film began its life as one of many animated films that were made in the Soviet Union at the Soyuzmultfilm. Because its films never had to make a profit, and were financed entirely by the Soviet government, the artists were allowed to make whatever they wished with an unlimited budget and no oversight from businessmen. The result was some of the greatest animated films in history, almost none of which are known to Americans. The Overcoat was directed by Yuriy Norshteyn, whose previous film, Tale of Tales, has numerous times been voted the best animated film of all time by animators from all around the world. Suffice to say that anticipation over his next project was huge. But as the Soviet Union neared collapse, his production house was shutdown. He continued work, animating every frame of the proposed 60 minute film himself. Now in 2012, 31 years later, he has only 30 minutes of the film complete. Born in 1941, it is predicted that Yuriy Norshteyn will likely die before he completes the film. His fans of course still wait patiently for the day when they will see the next great film from the greatest of Russian animators. In just a couple weeks, when the year turns over to 2013, The Overcoat will have been in production for 32 years, breaking the record set by Thief and the Cobbler.
So before you go complaining that 7 years is a long time, think about waiting over 4x that long for something that in the end may never be released. That is the fate for Soviet animation fans. For many of us, we were not even born when The Overcoat began production. To put it in perspective, the NES was released in 1985. The video game crash that ended Atari occurred in 1983. When this film started development, the big games were things like Pac Man and Space Invaders. Imagine a game being announced then and still be in production today. Pretty crazy, right?