Last week, Remedy Entertainment made headlines when they announced that Control Ultimate Edition, a complete package featuring their 2019 supernatural third-person action-adventure game and two expansions, would be coming to both current and next-gen consoles later this year. Along with this news came the revelation that owners of the original version of the game would have to pay $39.99 to upgrade to the Ultimate Edition if they wanted to play it on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X this Fall. This obviously angered many fans as several other upcoming titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 are set to get free next-gen upgrades for those who purchase these games on PS4 or Xbox One on their respective release dates.
As expected, Remedy received a ton of backlash over this decision and felt the need to release a detailed explanation via their blog earlier today. Before I share my thoughts on how they could have handled this situation better, here’s the cliff notes version of the statements that were made on their website.
The only version of Control available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be Control Ultimate Edition. The original base game, Expansion Packs and Season Pass will not be sold separately on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. However, if you have the Control base game, the Expansion Packs, or the Season Pass on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One in your collection, you will still be able to play 100% of your game and enjoy an enhanced experience through backwards compatibility.
The objective of Control Ultimate Edition was not to release new exclusive content on the next-gen platforms but to offer the full Control gameplay experience to new Control players in a single, easy-to-find product. The PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X versions of Control contain the same content as the current-gen game, though they do take full advantage of the power and features provided by these new consoles. The upgrade path that we are offering is only possible when upgrading from the same version of the game.
As we are only doing additional development on Control Ultimate Edition on the next-gen platforms, we are unfortunately unable to offer an upgrade path to all existing Control players. We understand how this might upset a number of players but you will still be able to play the 2019 edition of Control and each Expansion on the new platforms. We had to make some difficult decisions and those came in the form of creating the simplified Control Ultimate Edition product plan we have today. We are sorry we couldn’t meet everyone’s expectations and we hope you will continue to support Control. We thank you for your support thus far.
Around this time last year, I reviewed Control and while I did enjoy what the game had to offer, I stated in my review that the game had performance issues, crashes, and frame rate drops on the base PS4 model. Days later, I visited a friend who purchased the game on his maxed-out PC, and even though it ran better, there were still some hiccups present here and there. While patch updates would eventually be released to try and correct some problems, the truth of the matter is that the ambitious nature of a game like this feels like it was designed especially for enhanced hardware. For this reason, many would argue that they feel they are owed The Ultimate Edition as an apology for the way the original game ran on PS4 and Xbox One.
While I certainly can understand the point of view of anyone who feels they were ripped off, I would say that a large majority of us aren’t game developers and therefore can’t fully grasp what technical challenges the developers go through just to make a game compatible from one console generation to the next. It is worth noting that Control came out a little over a year before these new consoles were revealed and therefore the upgrade path might not be easy when compared to a game like Watch Dogs: Legion which is set to launch with the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Still, on the flip side of things and as a show of support to their fans, Remedy and 505 Games could have offered Control Ultimate Edition at a discounted price of $14.99 or $19.99 to those who already purchased the original game. This strategy obviously wouldn’t have made everyone happy but it definitely could have gone a long way towards convincing some players to pick up the upgrade while also keeping the investors happy to see some additional profit from sales.
Another main talking point that could have improved the overall perception of this explanation would have been if Remedy released a side-by-side comparison trailer of both the original version of Control and the Ultimate Edition to drive the selling point home as to why you should buy this game. Simply saying that the Ultimate Edition will take full advantage of the power of next-gen consoles isn’t enough especially when you are asking consumers to pay full price for your product. The secrecy behind this messaging could be tied to the fact that Sony and Microsoft still haven’t revealed additional details and pricing for their next-gen consoles. For this reason, there is most likely more information under a strict NDA and until one company makes a move, some developers will have their hands tied on what they can and can’t say. Hopefully, Remedy does have a plan to eventually show a comparison trailer because it will only help them to sell this product even more.
Do you think Remedy could have handled the Control Ultimate Edition explanation better? Do you agree or disagree with any of the points I made in this article? Feel free to let us know your thoughts on these topics and more in the comments section below.