• The Pros and Cons of Long Term Game Support

    Serious Sam Fusion 2017, a remaster of both a 2009 and 2010 game (and soon a 2011 game) which were remakes of a 2001 and 2002 game respectively.

    Yearly sequels and rehashes are most common in the gaming industry today, and once the newest game is released these studios tend to completely ignore all past ones.

    But some game studios set a different example. A few game studios care more about their games and continue updating them over time, not only fixing bugs and adding content but also upgrading the engine to keep up with modern standards. It is these examples that we will be focusing on. This type of game support is very common in MMOs, which is almost a separate industry as MMO players tend to care very little about graphical fidelity. So in this article we focus primarily on games other than MMOs that have similar long term support.

    Before getting on with the pros and cons, let us first list the most prominent games we will be using as examples. These are not the only games with long term support, but they are rather popular and well known examples and none are "Pay To Win" games.

    • Arma 3: Tactical shooter/military simulator released in 2013. Since its release, it now has over double the content mostly via paid DLC, and then even more with mods. It has been ported from a 32-bit engine to 64-bit, the sound system has been upgraded, its lighting system was remade, it has been rebalanced constantly.

    • Natural Selection 2: A tactical PvP shooter and strategy game combined, released in 2012 on a highly modified Source engine. That engine has been upgraded considerably since then, as it now has a DX11 renderer (it shipped with DX9 and OpenGL only) and greatly improved visuals. The amount of content it had at launch has since been more than doubled (maps, structures) mostly via patches (so there was no charge), and its balance is constantly changed based on user feedback. Many other new features have been added, like new tutorials, UI changes, much more. Basically every aspect of the game has been improved since launch.

    • No More Room in Hell: A free game which you can download from Steam. The game released in 2013 and since then has many new maps, weapons/items, and some engine upgrades (not as significant as Arma 3 engine upgrades though as they rely on Valve's Source engine updates).

    • PAYDAY 2: A very popular co-op FPS released in 2013. The amount of content has been much more than doubled since launch, as the devs have added a new class (complete with its own unique ability tree), new missions, new weapons and items, new characters, and many new features. Much of this content was released for free, much wasn't. They have also made some engine upgrades and are currently in the process of updating all of its animations.

    • Serious Sam Fusion 2017: This game is currently in beta, and its upgrades are not a series of patches and/or DLCs like the above games. It is a separate installation and a separate product; owners of Serious Sam HD on Steam get Fusion 2017 for free, but people who don't own them on Steam will currently have to buy both Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter and Fusion 2017. I suspect once this is out of beta they will sell a complete version that includes Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter, and Serious Sam 3: BFE all combined into Fusion 2017 without needing to buy the 3 games separately.

    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition: Like Serious Sam Fusion 2017, this is not the result of patches and DLC, but a separate release. Owners of the original Skyrim on PC get Special Edition for free. People without the original have to buy Special Edition separately. Special Edition is the same game as the original but ported to a newer 64-bit version of Creation (Gamebryo) engine, which mostly leads to stability improvements but also better lighting. It retains partial compatibility with mods for the original, but it is impossible to achieve full compatibility without modders updating their mods.

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Charcharo's Avatar
      Charcharo -
      If only more developers were like Croteam... and I think whilst hard, this isnt an impossible wish. Their pro-consumer and pro-gaming level is so high I think we should use them as the scale of comparison for all other games.
    1. Jester's Avatar
      Jester -
      It also helps that the publisher they work with, Devolver Digital, seems to be equally pro PC gaming.
    1. Charcharo's Avatar
      Charcharo -
      its a sad irony that they arent a larger publisher ...