Internal Steam release dates have apparently been leaked via the Steam API, providing insight on when we can expect some of the most anticipated games to come out in 2022 and beyond.
There are countless cool games that are coming out in the coming months and years, but not all of them have made their release dates public. Even then, there's always a level of uncertainty. Games can end up delayed due to trademark disputes, a need for more development time, or with no official public explanation whatsoever. Now, it appears that the Steam API has let loose a massive torrent of information: the internal Steam release dates for pretty much every game on the platform have been made public.
These Steam Release Dates Are Not Set In Stone
Users at the SteamDB Discord have highlighted an interesting new database entry via the Steam API: "Store API Release Date." This tidbit shows the hidden release date that developers have set for their games.
Here are some of the more notable games and their associated internal release dates. Disclaimer: these dates are not guarantees that the game will actually launch at these listed times for reasons we'll detail shortly.
|Game||Internal Release Date|
|Dwarf Fortress Release Date||30 September 2022 – 23:00:00 UTC|
|Dune: Spice Wars Release Date||26 April 2022 – 13:00:00 UTC|
|Frostpunk 2 Release Date||2 January 2024 – 00:00:00 UTC|
|Kerbal Space Program 2 Release Date||31 December 2021 – 16:00:00 UTC|
|My Time at Sandrock Release Date||30 December 2022 – 18:00:00 UTC|
|Nobody - The Turnaround Release Date||1 November 2022 – 23:00:00 UTC|
|Party Animals Release Date||30 December 2022 – 13:00:00 UTC|
|Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection Release Date||15 July 2022 – 21:00:00 UTC|
|Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Release Date||29 December 2023 – 17:00:00 UTC|
|Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Release Date||30 December 2022 – 22:00:00 UTC|
Behind the scenes, Steam requires developers to set a secret release date. This does not have to be made public as shown in Steam Partner documentation, allowing developers to set a custom string for the release date field that you'll see on a Steam Store page. Dwarf Fortress, for example, shows "time is subjective" as its release date on its Steam Store page rather than a specific date.
In my estimation, the publication of these release dates via the Steam API may have been an accident. These dates were subsequently recorded by SteamDB, a website that tracks behind-the-scenes changes via the Steam API.
So, are these dates accurate? It's difficult to tell. In some cases, an end-of-the-year release date (such as with My Time at Sandrock or Warhammer 40,000: Darktide) is almost certainly a placeholder. (Remember, Steam requires that developers set an internal release date before publishing a Steam Store page.) This is most evident with some of the more absurd cases such as Hollow Knight: Silksong which has an internal Steam release date of February 28, 2028. (I'm no psychic, but I'm pretty sure we won't have to wait 6 years for that game to come out.)
Other games, however, have release dates that may be a little closer to reality, such as Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection (July 15, 2022) and Dune: Spice Wars (April 26, 2022). Nobody - The Turnaround is also a good candidate for a potential real release date as opposed to a placeholder.
Critically, Valve will not allow a developer to automatically change its release date once it gets within 10 days of the date set by the developer. Otherwise, a dev can change this date at any time. Essentially, that means that none of the dates longer than 10 days away are guaranteed. Even if there are less than 10 days remaining, Valve will allow developers to change the date by contacting them.
Ultimately, this leak of internal Steam release dates gives us a rough idea of when developers think their games might come out. Figuring out which release dates are real and which ones are placeholders, however, is a mystery that cannot ever be solved -- at least until a developer makes an official announcement.