It’s been nearly a year of next-gen gaming and things are starting to settle down as we are getting used to what the consoles can provide to games and our gaming experiences. So it’s about time that Sony and Microsoft begin to look at new ways to amp up gamers and hype up what their consoles can do outside of the core console itself. It seems that whilst Microsoft continues to invest and grow the Game Pass subscription service, Sony is doubling down on its exclusive games and studios.
In 2017, Naughty Dog (one of Sonys top studios and regularly seen as one of the greatest gaming studios of recent times) launched ‘The Lost Legacy’, a semi spin-off of its overwhelmingly successful ‘Uncharted’ series. Originally the game started as a DLC for Uncharted 4, however, Naughty Dog decided to increase its size and spin it off as its own separate game. Rightly so in my eyes, this was an awesome piece of gaming, taking the best of Uncharted and placing it in new *character* hands. It allowed for a pint-size epic, only 7-10 hours long but just as visually stunning as the previous Uncharteds and with the epic scenes we had come to expect of the ‘Uncharted’ franchise. It allowed casual gamers to get involved, whilst its slightly cheaper price point (maybe only £10) brought new people to the genre, studio and game series. It was an awesome way of expanding a game world we loved, without rebooting it or ruining the main characters story arc.
Well in my eyes, it appears Sony saw the love and success ‘The Lost Legacy’ received and are applying this same tactic in new ways. The PS5 launched with what I consider to be one of the finest pieces of game creation this side of the millennium, ‘Spider-Man: Miles Morales’. Yes, a game that was smaller, more expensive and far shorter in size than its 2018 PS4 ‘original’. But it also showed off everything the PS5 could do, gave us a sensation story that wasn’t full of filler, as well as a beautiful game world filled with loved and well-designed characters. I found it sensational, and it was the latest example of Sonys ability to create games for all.
Recently, Sony has been expanding on this tactic. The latest idea of theirs has been what I’m calling ‘.5 sequels’ – Sony actually calls them ‘Directors Cuts’. In the last month and a half two of their most successful PS4 games have received ‘Director’s Cuts’, ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ and ‘Death Stranding’. Heck, even ‘Uncharted 4’ and ‘The Lost Legacy’ are getting full 2022 remasters (although with no additional content, just quality of life improvements). These new ‘Directors Cuts’ haven’t necessarily gone down well with the games original creators (Hideo Kojima thought ‘Directors Plus’ would have been a better name), but what they have done is brought more people to the games, to the Sony console environment and to the new features that the PS5 has provided. If you already had either of these games, you just need to invest a further £30 to get what is essentially a remastered game for the PS5, but also with around 0.5 worth of new content and improvements. It may not be a whole new game, but with ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ you do get a whole new expansion island, whilst in ‘Death Stranding’ you get a huge range of new content and quality of life improvements. It makes upgrading to these new ‘1.5’ games a little more irresistible and the games themselves an even larger achievement.
These ‘.5 sequels’ (as I am calling them) might not be full games, that revolutionary or anything new really, but they have been easy ways for all players to expand their time in worlds they love, with new characters and experiences that make their gaming experience that bit more unique. It will be interesting to see what other ‘Directors Cuts’ Sony has planned for the next 12 months.