The Year Without a PC Port Wishlist

Christmas has pretty much always been my favorite holiday, especially when I was a child. I was a greedy little boy while I was growing up: one of my favorite holiday traditions was always writing up my list to Santa on my computer. Sure, some years I’d get overzealous and start thinking about it as early as August, but I’d always have a lot of fun just writing the list itself. I’d always try to sort things in the order I wanted them, but that was actually part of the fun for me: one week I’d really want some action figures, the next some new video game caught my eye. The downside to starting a list that early is that as time goes on, new items catch your eye. Even the greed of a child has its limits, so I would often have to pare down my list, trimming the items I could “do without”. (Gotta love child logic, am I right?) In a sense, I think those PC ports lists I wrote for a long time were the evolution of that favored Yule tradition, but eventually I got tired of doing them. Too much wishing, not enough getting. I’ve taken a hiatus on them and now, it’s been over a year. Instead of making an entirely new one, why not look over my previous works and analyze them a little? This year, I’ll be recounting my 5 favorite success stories, my top 10 most wanted and the game on each list I’d consider the most important (excluding those on the aforementioned lists) plus a brand-new one for good measure!

Before we get started (fittingly enough, with my favorite success stories), I’d like to start with some recent successes as well. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was released on PS4 earlier this month and it will also be hitting both the Xbox One and Steam in March. Meanwhile, Garou: Mark of the Wolves was also recently released on PlayStation consoles via CodeMystics, but surprise, surprise: an entirely different port hit Steam soon after, from the good folks at DotEmu. In fact, it was such a surprise, I actually had to change a list entry because of it. The DotEmu port is less fancy than the CodeMystics port, but apparently, not only does the Steam version have a more solid netcode, but it’s also getting immediate bugfixes to iron out some of its bizarre glitches. Funny how that works. I expected that to be the last bit of news I got on the PC end of things, but I was wrong: The Legend of Dark Witch 2, another game I’d been salivating over the prospect of seeing a PC port is announced to be hitting Steam sometime during “Q4 2016”. One last big surprise for me.

You’ll also remember that this past April, I did an “April Fools’ Day” article, revolving around 10 PC games I’d like to see receive console ports. Well, like many of my jokes, this one ended up biting me in the ass. During the PlayStation Experience, Ys Origin (the only PC-exclusive Ys game) was announced to be hitting both PlayStation 4 and, amazingly enough, the Vita on February 21, 2017 with the port being handled by the good people over at DotEmu who are utilizing XSEED’s English translation and coming up with original French, Italian, German and Spanish translations as well. (As an aside, DotEmu’s also bringing a favorite of mine – the NeoGeo classic Windjammers – to the same platforms. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a PC port down the line!) You’d think that would be enough, but the world wasn’t done having fun at my expense: soon after, it was revealed that the indie platformer Kero Blaster would also be coming to the PS4, thanks to its publisher Playism. They’ll also be bringing Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight to PS4, though release windows for both titles have not been announced. Continue reading

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Common Cents

Previously on this blog, I’ve bemoaned the fact that most video game releases during the seventh generation fit into two categories: downloadable games that range from $10-$20 and everything with a physical release sold for $60 (or $50, in the case of Wii games). At this point in time, things have definitely gotten more diverse, with some low-profile disc-based games at $30 or $40 and even some more expensive physical re-releases of popular downloadable games, usually priced at $30. However, there have been some older releases that were definitely overpriced.

That’s pretty much the point of this article: looking back at games from last generation that were definitely overpriced at $50 or $60 and discussing just how much they should have cost on release. To determine better launch prices for the following games, I’m going to mainly be looking at the content of the game, the launch prices of similar games and their current MSRP, as well as some other factors. By taking this information into account, I hope to justify cheaper prices for the following games, at least from a logical standpoint. Who knows, maybe this information could trickle to some actual publishers and have some effect on the pricing of future games. I doubt it, but hey, a man can dream, right?

Shadows of the Damned/Lollipop Chainsaw/Killer is Dead – $40

Let me make something perfectly clear: I love Suda Goichi’s games. Ever since I rented the original No More Heroes on the Wii, I’ve followed the majority of Grasshopper Manufacture’s work, with a few exceptions. However, I’ve got to say: they’re just not $60 affairs. Most of these games are short and in many cases, they just don’t match up with the expectations of AAA games that typical associate with the $60 price point. Considering Killer is Dead was recently re-released on Steam for a whopping $20, it seems possible that Suda51’s next major release, Lily Bergamo on the PS4, could sell at a more reasonable price point.

Sonic Generations – $40

Again, I liked the console and PC versions of Sonic Generations. While I feel that Sonic Colors marked the end of Sonic’s Dark Age, Sonic Generations is one of the few games in the series released after the so-called “Genesis era” that was met with positive reception. Of course, that was mostly due to its reliance on nostalgia. That’s not really a bad thing, but it’s kind of a cheap trick. Regardless, as with the last entry (entries?), the main argument for releasing this at a cheaper price would be the length: despite all of the side missions, the main campaign is kind of short. Fortunately, the price dropped fairly quickly. Sonic Lost World launched at the same price Generations did: $50. It’s pretty likely Sonic Boom will launch at the same price on Wii U.

Street Fighter IV/Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds – $40

Do I honestly need to explain this one? The initial releases for these two fighters launched at $60 each. Meanwhile, every future release of the game released for $40 and came with more content than the original versions. More importantly, these games didn’t really have much in the way of extra content, especially compared to fighting games from other companies, especially Netherrealm’s recent games. Capcom shouldn’t really be able to justify selling a fighting game for $60 unless they pile on the extras in future games. Granted, fighting game development doesn’t come cheap, but releasing first-run games at full price with only a few game modes and then releasing an expansion at a much cheaper price point is not going to win the favor of most customers.

Nintendo Land – $30

Nintendo Land was generally considered an over-glorified tech demo at the time it was announced and it never really ditched that reputation. I honestly probably wouldn’t have ever picked it up if it hadn’t have been a pack-in title for the Deluxe Wii U package. It ended up being a fun game though, but it definitely wasn’t worth the $60 it launched at. Fortunately, these days it’s selling for a much more reasonable $30 as an individual title, which is far more reasonable. It seems like the major reason it was sold at $60 during the Wii U’s launch was due to the fact that it was a bundle game, so it was a way to perpetuate an artificially inflated value. Considering it dropped to $30 after it was dropped from the Deluxe Wii U bundles, I’d consider that confirmation of that theory.

Catherine – $40

There’s a recurring theme here: all of these games are ones I’ve owned in some form and enjoyed to some degree. Catherine is no exception, it was truly an awesome puzzle game with an intriguing story. Unfortunately, despite the multiplayer mode and multiple endings allowing for extensive replay value, the game itself just doesn’t really warrant such a hefty price tag. I guess the bonus items that came with first-run copies of the game justified the high price initially, but it’s still kind of a weak point. There should have been some bare-bones copies at $40 on day one.

Yearly Releases (Madden, Call of Duty, etc.) – $40

Yeah, this is really more of a category than a specific title. It’s pretty obvious though: yearly release titles just generally fit the same kind of expansion pack role that later incarnations of Capcom fighting games do, except in this case, each new game is full price, every time. Offering customers the ability to upgrade (like Capcom’s upgrades for Super Street Fighter 4) for a small fee would be better overall for games like Madden, but even just releasing the new games in the series at a budget price point would probably be a workable solution as well.

Re-Releases/Collections (MGS HD, The Orange Box, etc.) – $30/$40

Last entry on the list and it’s another category, so I’m using two price points for this one. Re-releasing old games at a full $60 price point is totally immoral, unless the game’s been totally rebuilt from the ground up. Simply porting old games to new platforms and optimizing them for higher-definition output isn’t really an excuse for charging full price, especially when the port is defective (looking at you, Konami).

In the end, I guess this whole article is meant to reiterate what I’ve been saying for a while now: $60 price points are still way too prevalent in the video game industry. Despite the fact that pricing is far more diverse at this point (at least with the previous gen systems), having a wider range of price points would allow for more diversity in game budgets. Not every game needs to be a AAA title and there’s definitely a market for games of all sizes. Many publishers are beginning to realize that, but there are still many in the dark. Last generation, poor budgeting killed several developers and publishers. Unless there are some major changes in the way the industry does business at large, I can see the same thing happening on a much grander scale this generation.

10 Games I Want Ported to PC

If there’s one thing console gamers have grown accustomed to over the past few generations, it’s been backwards compatibility. Sure, it wasn’t always perfect and it’s only been implemented well in few cases, but it’s still something that was taken for granted. Unfortunately, to those of us who like playing our old games on our classic systems, whether to save physical space or for ease of use, it seems like the days of backward compatibility being a killer app are nearing an end. Neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One are capable of playing their predecessors’ games natively: though Sony has recently announced their “PlayStation Now” streaming service and Microsoft has offered the insulting suggestion to “just hook your 360 into your Xbox One”. While the Wii U is still capable of playing disc-based and digital Wii games via an on-board emulator, we lost the ability to play GameCube games in the process and the Wii U’s Virtual Console library is pathetically small compared to the original, both in terms of game libraries and consoles supported. Worse yet, we’re even beginning to see various licensed titles get pulled off of digital distribution platforms, bringing the future viability of such games into question. Couple that with the several games from previous generations that have been lost to the ages for one reason or another and it’s clear that there are some problems with the way the industry has been heading.

Of course, there is another option. Compared to dedicated video game consoles, PCs have a much higher rate of backwards compatibility with older programs on newer OSes. While not always a perfect solution, in cases where games no longer function properly on newer computers, either official or community-led initiatives have been spearheaded to fix these games. With such emulation software as DOSBox and SCUMMVM, classic PC games that once seemed to be lost to future gamers forever were playable once again. Furthermore, in a stunning reversal of the negative opinion regarding DRM, specific ones, including Valve’s Steam, allow users to be able to download previously-purchased games on newer machines, regardless of whether they remain on the marketplace or not, much like the case with XBLA and PSN. Couple this with the fact that many companies have started doing late PC ports of games from the previous generation and it seems like there’s a new avenue for these games to maintain their existence for years to come.

Of course, in order to keep this list fair, I’ve decided to implement a few rules. First of all, I’m only going to look at third-party games for the most part (Microsoft being the exception, due to the fact that they’ve released previous console exclusives on PC down the line anyway), and there will be a significant lean towards companies that have already released games on PC. The games can’t have been released any earlier than the seventh (PS3/X360/Wii) generation, though this means that eighth-gen games are fair game as well. There will be only one game per company on this list, to make things fair and more challenging. Finally, games from the same series that were released on the same platform CAN be packaged together. So with that, let’s get started!

Lollipop Chainsaw – WB Games/Grasshopper Manufacture (360/PS3)

I thought this game didn’t get enough love from the mainstream gaming media, which dismissed it for its shallow story, simple arcade-style gameplay and short length. But they were just blind to the truth of the matter: it was a great little throwback to the hack-and-slash games of old and it didn’t bother taking itself seriously. Sure, the game didn’t perform as well as WB probably expected, but I’d love to see a PC port anyway. Just don’t have High Voltage Software handle the port: MK9 and Injustice’s ports were fairly buggy at launch and still suffer from lingering issues at present.

MegaMan 9/10 – Capcom (Wii/360/PS3)

This should have been a really obvious pick to anyone who saw my MegaMan wishlist last month. Considering they’re both fairly small games, it only seems fair to put them together in a double-pack, hopefully with all of the DLC included in the base package. Though that last bit seems fairly unlikely, as long as Capcom prices these games reasonably, I could see myself buying it again.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Namco Bandai (AC/360/PS3/WiiU)

People have been harassing Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada about putting an entry of the World’s most popular fighting game on PCs, but until fairly recently, he’s said he hasn’t seen much of a point, despite being an avid PC gamer himself. Given the recent successes of other fighting games on the platform, however, he has softened his view on releasing a Namco fighter on PC. While the free-to-play Tekken Revolution seems like the most likely choice, especially given Namco Bandai’s previous F2P releases on PC, I’d prefer it if we got the previous game in the series: Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Both games were built on the same engine, but TTT2 is pretty much the complete package, including various match types, a fuller roster and even a customizable character mode. I would absolutely love to see this game hit PCs with an excellent port.

Bayonetta – Sega/Platinum Games (360/PS3)

Well, considering the fact that Kamiya’s been talking about porting the original Bayonetta to the Wii U, it only seems fair that they should also consider a PC port as well. After all, with the recent PC release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on PC via Steam, Platinum Games will finally have one of their titles on the platform. Given the fact that Sega’s incredibly pro-PC, it seems likely that they would sign off on a PC port as well. Just use the 360 version as a base for both ports, okay Platinum?

UPDATE (1/24/2014): There’s even a petition to get Bayonetta (as well as VF5 and Vanquish) ported to PC.

The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match/2002 Unlimited Match – SNK Playmore (360)

These two games were actually rumored to be coming to Steam for some time. When King of Fighters 13 was found listed on Steam’s backend, there were also listings for ’98 Ultimate Match and 2002 Unlimited Match as well. Considering both of these games were released on the Xbox 360, KoF13 Steam Edition used the 360 version as part of its base and SNK Playmore has expressed interest in releasing more games on PC, these two seem like an obvious pick. Use that awesome netcode from KoF13’s PC version though.

Double Dragon Neon* – Majesco (360/PS3)

Well, technically, this shouldn’t even be on here anymore, considering it’s already been confirmed to be coming out on Steam sometime this year. With the addition of Online Co-Op, I’m eagerly anticipating this game’s release. Still, I came up with this list last month before the recent announcement. So, as I don’t feel like coming up with a last-minute replacement, DD Neon remains on my list. Can’t wait for this one to hit.

Catherine – Atlus (360/PS3)

One of my favorite puzzle games of the past few years, Catherine meshed amazing gameplay with elements from the visual novel and dating sim genres in order to deliver a much more interactive and engrossing story, similar to what they’ve done to JRPGs in the Persona series. Considering that Atlus was recently bought out by Sega, seeing this classic ported to PC may be a lot more plausible than ever, but Atlus has had a few releases on PC themselves, including Rock of Ages and God Mode.

Guilty Gear Xrd – Arc System Works (AC/PS3/PS4)

Okay, I’ll be clear up front with this one. Arc System Works doesn’t exactly have the best history with supporting PC gaming, but they did manage to get an early version of Guilty Gear XX and the original Blazblue on PC, problematic as both of these ports ended up being. Both games were woefully out-of-date upon release, Blazblue didn’t even hit PC until after the second game had hit consoles. Still, there have been some rumblings over online petitions for getting the game on Wii U and PC, as Arc System Works has already all but deconfirmed releases on either Xbox. So I’m hoping that if ASW manages to pull through this time, they manage to give the game some real support.

Konami’s “ReBirth” Games (Castlevania: The Adventure/Contra/Gradius) – Konami (Wii)

I love me some classic Konami games. While I’ve only played Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth, I loved the game so much. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like these games got enough love, being exclusive to WiiWare. Maybe if they were re-released on a platform with much more lasting appeal, they might perform better.

Killer Instinct (2013) – Microsoft Studios (XBO)

You know how I made a big deal about making an inclusion for Microsoft in this article? Yeah, this is why. Considering the fact that Microsoft has a history of porting their first-party Xbox games to PC and Phil Spencer’s recent proclamation that Microsoft Game Studios is going to begin focusing on bringing core gaming experiences to PC, this pretty much seems like a slam dunk. Now, I’m not going to expect anything in the near future, because clearly the Xbox One still needs some time to grow a userbase. But hopefully, maybe by the time the as-of-yet pseudo-confirmed Season 2 wraps up, Microsoft will see it fitting to consider a PC port.

All of those games hitting PC at some point in the future would be a nice little birthday surprise for yours truly. While many of these games may have little chance of actually receiving PC ports down the line (with one glaring exception), it was actually pretty fun to speculate about games I’d like to see revived on the platform. To be honest, this isn’t the only list I’ve written on the subject thus far, so I’ve decided to turn this into a recurring segment. What crazy choices do I have in store for Part 2? You’ll just have to wait until March to see.