I was recently given two games to review that are new platform releases of previously platform-exclusive titles. Since I reviewed them both last time, the Evil Editor suggested I may like to take a look at the new versions. It seems to happen quite a lot these days, Blazing Angels
and Lost Planet
had similarly staggered releases; we'll be seeing a PlayStation 3 release of Bioshock
before Christmas and even "last generation" Grand Theft Auto
titles were released on Xbox some time after their original PlayStation 2 releases.
The games that were plonked down in front of me recently were Overlord: Raising Hell
on the PS3 (originally only on the Xbox 360) and the Wii version of Okami
, previously only available for the PS2 (my review here
This got me thinking, were Codemasters and Capcom just waiting for the user-base of the new platforms to reach a point where it was worth releasing the ported games? Or were they taking the time to produce quality ports to new hardware, taking advantage of the extra features provided. Or, indeed, were we seeing more evidence pointing towards the supposed end of the third-party exclusive?
, at least, it seems likely that Codemasters were waiting for the PS3's user-base to grow to a suitable size. The PS3 version of the game includes the Raising Hell
expansion pack as standard - this pack has been available on the 360 as downloadable content (DLC) since November 2007 with the original game coming out in June of the same year. However, there seems to have been little else done to the game engine. The issues I had with the 360 version
of the game are still present on the PS3.
, on the other hand, was surely destined for the Wii from its conception, even if developers Clover Studios didn't know about the console at the time. The game mechanic of the celestial brush seems such a fantastic fit with the Wii remote's pointer mode that you have to wonder why it took Capcom until now to get the game into Wii owners' hands. One reason, according to Internet scuttlebutt, is that due to the disbanding of Clover Studios, Capcom and new developers Ready at Dawn had some trouble locating assets for the original Okami
and also had to re-code a sizable portion of the game.
Both of these games, for their own reasons have had very wide intervals between their releases, over a year for Overlord
and nearly two for Okami
based on the Japanese release dates. However, neither added very much over the original releases. A changed control mechanic and some pre-bundled DLC aren't exactly going to set the world alight.
Much of the delay for both games could be put down to the porting process its self. A game developed with a single platform in mind is written very differently to one intended for multiple consoles from the start.
So, what are third-party platform-exclusive games (TPPEGs) all about? Why do seemingly intelligent developers and publishers nail their colours to the mast of a single console? What do the platform holders get out of them? Why do their days seem to be numbered? And most importantly; what do gamers get out of these games and what do we lose out on?