This post is a part of Blaugust 2016!
I’ve noticed a trend starting with games — many of these are indies, but some of them are not. A developer creates their initial game, sometimes with a Kickstarter to support the develpoment. They actually release this game out of early access, most usually to Steam.
Then about a year later, they take down the “classic” version and replace it with a totally new and updated version. Or, they split the game into two pieces and re-brand each game as its own. I’m not talking about a large update, a Game of the Year version, or DLC –this is a completely new version of the same game, often with added features, renamed slightly different.
Let me list a few that I know of that have done this:
- Divinity: Original Sin (classic) and (enhanced)
- H1Z1 – (King of the Hill) and (Just Survive)
- ARK: Survival Evolved split off into an MOBA called Survival of the Fittest
- Godus also split their game into two games and re-branded as Godus Wars, but this was mostly to try to dodge the massive negative feedback the old game earned (it didn’t work)
- Ori and the Blind Forest re-released a Definitive Edition, but the classic is no longer available
- Kingdom just re-released as Kingdom: New Lands
- Hero Generations is soon re-releasing as Hero Generations: ReGen
I’m sure there are plenty more, but these are the ones I can think of right off the top of my head.
So, why am I thinking about this?
Well, because I just learned last night that Kingdom: New Lands existed. I enjoyed the original Kingdom, and the game wasn’t that old. I was a little boggled at why so many large features weren’t just bundled into the original game as a big patch.
Do developers really feel they need to re-release and re-brand their games in order to drum up attention and excitement, thereby earning more sales on a game that’s already been released for a while? (Most likely?) Or is there really something so different about the new version of the game that they were technically unable to replace the “classic” version with the “enhanced” version on Steam? (Not sure, but that doesn’t make sense to me.)
In the case of splitting games into two different games, this generally seems to be in the case of developers who are chasing after the idea that they can make the competitive part of their game into an eSport. This was the case with both H1Z1 and ARK.
Now, with just about every game on that list, if you owned the original version, the devs rewarded your loyalty by giving you the new version for free. This is a really nice gesture. I know that when I learned that Kingdom: New Lands existed, the first thing I wondered was “Will I have to buy it again to get the new features?” Thankfully, I did not. The new game was already in my Steam library. Way to go!
Now, this is not the case for the upcoming re-release of Hero Generations: Re-Gen. In fact, this is the only game on that list that I own (I haven’t purchased Ori yet) that is doing this. You do have to buy the new version if you own the old one, but they’re discounting it to something like 67% off.
I’m not too happy about that. You see, I backed Hero Generations as a Kickstarter. The game that we got was fun, but felt extremely limited and incomplete. It was never an Early Access game, but it felt like it should have been. The dev released it, took up feedback, and instead of building the game that I backed and paid for, that development went into a NEW version that I need to pay for again.
This is not the way to treat your early buyers and folks that put their money and support into your vision. Especially when you’re an unknown indie and this is the first time I’ve even heard of you. Unless the cost of the new game with the discount is very very minimal, I don’t see myself putting more money into this development. I’m not the only one who feels this way.
So what do you think about this trend? Has this effected any games you’ve backed or purchased? Do you feel this is generally a good thing, or do you think re-releasing is unnecessary?