Lunchtime Discussion: Reformatting

Surprisingly not about hard-disks.

This topic goes hand in hand with the concept of reinvigorating series, something we talked about just last week. What I’m talking about here is where a game, something we know and love or something tiny and unknown, switches it’s format completely. I don’t mean something like Tekken switching from a Sony exclusive to a multi-platform title, it’s more along the lines of Sonic moving from a normal retail game to a episodic title with the release of Sonic 4.

Now of course I could go on and on about series in the vein of Sonic that have switched in a similar way (Bionic Commando: Rearmed springs to mind immediately), but there are two other groups that might be worth focusing on more. The first consists of games like Super Meat Boy and N+, which are both fantastic console titles but were also absolutely amazing Flash titles long before they ever made it onto the boxes under your TV.

Titles that make this move seem highly logical to me, in fact it’s a quick and simple way of testing what mechanics do and don’t work before you actually invest the money in debug units for consoles and the other costs attached even when developing for the downloadable service on consoles. On top of that you already have fans to take with you when you do move to a console, ensuring an early flurry of sales.

The second type is the increased crossover between handhelds and home consoles this generation. I mean a few short years ago it would be ludcicrous to consider games like Assassin’s Creed or God of War making the jump over to handhelds, but now it seems to be happening more and more regularly. Perhaps this is purely because of the increased capability of handheld consoles, but I think the ubiquity certainly helps.

Then of course you’ve got that odd market that you could consider a subset of handhelds in the form of smart phones, although perhaps it’s fairer to say the two are cousins. With Assassin’s Creed getting a title for Windows Phone 7 and games like FIFA and Need For Speed making the jump to a variety of mobile operating systems it seems that increasingly games that are already popular are widening their net into areas that few had considered a possibility before.

So what are your thoughts on this movement? Is more formats better? Do you like to see Flash games making it onto home consoles? Is it a bit odd having FIFA on your mobile phone?

Now to spring a surprise on you, there is an ulterior motive for selecting this topic today. We’ll be taking a break from these discussions over the Christmas break (don’t worry, we’ve got a whole heap of special content coming your way), and when we return we’ll be doing some reformatting of our own. Also make sure you keep your eye out for a special Christmas Discussion.

9 Comments

  1. I’d like to see more cross-over between formats

    Assassin’s Creed & Resistance had some cross-over between PS3 & PSP and obviously Windows Phone 7 features Xbox Live & tighter integration is certain as soon as the devs have had more time to get things in action.

    …but I’d like to see EA allow you with something like FIFA to continue your season from PS3 to iPhone to PSP, you used to be able to export your game saves from PS2 to PSP to continue manager career mode and then import your progress back, but this has stopped with the PS3, seriously… progress… WTF?

    As far as Flash games go I haven’t got a problem with it, some of them are awesome, like http://www.playauditorium.com I’m just hoping Auditorium HD appears soon, the US have had it for about a month now and we’re still in limbo between the devs & SCEE’s structure

    • Had forgotten about Auditorium, great title

  2. I think it’s a great idea if handled sensibly. Ramping a Flash game up into a PSN/mobile title means features can be added (including co-op locally, etc). Equally, and inversely, if a full-blown title needs dumbing down a smidge (for a mobile device) then no problem. The essence of a game can be maintained and it’s a great segway for people to get from one platform to another with a loyalty to a particular franchise.

    Obviously if they get the above wrong, developers can churn out some really cheap-looking tat.

  3. Tomb raider. Didn’t like it at all as a t.p. Style game, love it as a isometric top down whatsit on the psn

  4. I’ve just never been into the whole gaming on my phone thing. But that’s probably because I haven’t got a iphone … yet!

    But Sony are deffinetly missing out with integrating games over the PSP and PS3 platforms.

  5. i would love for it to happen more!

  6. I really liked the new Prince of Persia.. but wasn’t impressed with “Forgotten Sands” I didn’t play it but I’ve always wondered why it would go back to the Sands of Time Trilogy which seemed silly.

  7. To be honest I can’t really think of any games that I play after they switch format from consoles to phones. They are usually expensive and poor imitations. On the reverse though, I think mobiles and flash content are a great way for small developers to get new ideas out there. Things like Flight Control would have never existed if it wasn’t for iPhone.

  8. Your reformatting?….why don’t I like the sound of that….
    I like gaming on my iPhone but only really timewasters or games unique to the platform, playing serious like splinter cell and AC does seems weird. Especially with the touch screen joystick. Although think the psp2 would benefit a lot by having major compatibility with ps3 more so than psp did with ps2. This could be one of the benefits of playing on it, rather than your smartphone..

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