Cheaper, full fledged games may become the norm in the future if everyone learns from Naughty Dog and Sony.
The Uncharted series is easily Sony’s and PlayStation’s biggest gaming franchise ever since the PS3 days. It’s literally a given that whatever comes out from Naughty Dog will be of high quality. Naughty Dog have utilized the potential of PlayStation to its fullest, polished their gameplay mechanics to a sheen, and most importantly, they have managed to tell stories that resonate with the players.
2016’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is undoubtedly one of this generation’s greatest games. With a fitting conclusion to Nathan Drake’s tale backed up by some of the best visuals in the business and captivating gameplay, Naughty Dog came close to surprassing their efforts with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Uncharted 4 was meant to be the end of Nathan Drake’s story but not an end to the series.
"However, the interesting thing here is that Sony is taking a flagship series – the flagship series they have, arguably – putting out a new, full fledged adventure (purportedly, the new game is over 10 hours long, which would make it longer than the original Uncharted game; it also apparently has the largest level in series history), and selling it for just $40."
Last year, Sony announced Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a standalone expansion pack that features Chloe and Nadine. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily on board with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. A full fledged new adventure in the series coming just a year after A Thief’s End seems like too much – Uncharted is the kind of series that is best enjoyed as a novelty and in small doses, and it simply doesn’t feel like enough time has passed since A Thief’s End for The Lost Legacy to feel special or exciting. But that is just me though. I haven’t had hands on time with the game so I don’t know how the final game will shape up.
Regardless, I am expecting The Lost Legacy to have shiny visuals and enhanced gameplay mechanics from Uncharted 4, something that is a given from Naughty Dog. However, Naughty Dog and Sony are doing something unexpected witht the title and I feel it requires attention to be called to it- selling a full fledged new game for just $40, something deemed to be all but impossible in the context of the modern AAA market.
Now, to be clear, this is not anything new, not for the big publishers, not for any of the first parties, not even for Sony- games such as Donkey Kong Country Returns or Puppeteer have been sold as lower priced titles previously, after all, and they were really great games, too. However, the interesting thing here is that Sony is taking a flagship series – the flagship series they have, arguably – putting out a new, full fledged adventure (purportedly, the new game is over 10 hours long, which would make it longer than the original Uncharted game; it also apparently has the largest level in series history), and selling it for just $40. That would be like if a new Zelda or Gears of War game was sold for $40- it seems unlikely that something like that would happen.
"Each game being $60 these days is a bit cost prohibitive and developers should charge their games according to the value their offer with $60 being the cap of course."
And yet, here we are. Now, of course, we possibly know why this is happening- The Lost Legacy is using the same engine as Uncharted 4, meaning very little new development legwork is actually required. But still, Sony and Naughty Dog could easily have gotten away with justifying a $60 charge- they chose to not go that route. I think that is commendable, in the end.
Whether or not this is a trend that is actually followed is something that remains to be seen- but I have a good feeling about it. After all, Sony has always been all too happy to experiment with variable pricing, while Nintendo’s Switch is a system that lends itself to (and indeed, already has) multiple price points for games at retail. Hopefully, this is the kind of thing we can see more of going forward. Each game being $60 these days is a bit cost prohibitive and developers should charge their games according to the value their offer with $60 being the cap of course. Naughty Dog and Sony have taken the initiative and we hope other developers follow too.
Note: GamingBolt’s Pramath Parijat also contributed to this article.