Colin Campbell over at Business Week interviews Cliff Bleszinski, the creator of the wildly successful Gears of War. It's a worthwhile inside look at how game designers coordinate their efforts with their original vision to deliver a killer product on time.
There are many games - some of them might even be good games - that have spent years in the development process, eating up resources, consuming margins, edging forward at rate of snails. Epic recognized that there would be a window of opportunity for a shooting game, reasonably early in the life-cycle of Xbox 360. Making the game truly great was as important as making it to market prior to the 2006 Holiday Season. It's hard to calculate what the game might have lost had it taken six more months to create. In this case, a 'when it's ready' attitude could be seen as self-indulgent and perverse.
Bleszinski says, "The key is to have a general set of rules about what the game and property are going to be, so you're not iterating and spinning your wheels infinitely and spending ten years to make a game.