With Sony set to introduce a new PlayStation Plus service in June that will have classic PS1, PS2 and PS3 games on it, it appears that the company has shifted course on how it feels about backward compatibility. In the past, it’s simply forgotten the value of its older games, but now, with the success of Xbox Game Pass and its vast library of old and new favorites, it appears to have suddenly adopted a “let’s save the old school” mentality.
With that, the company has apparently created a new Preservation team, one that is devoted to making sure its history isn’t forgotten. Garrett Fredley, a software engineer, recently posted an update on Linkedin explaining his role in the project.
“Today is my first day as a Senior Build Engineer for PlayStation, working as one of their initial hires for the newly created Preservation team! Let’s go and ensure our industry’s history isn’t forgotten!” he noted.
And that leads to an interesting question. Why don’t all companies have a team like this?
Nintendo Can Sure Use Them
Right now, one of the companies that could certainly use a preservation team is Nintendo. We’re talking about a company that, within a matter of days, will shut down the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShop services for good. That means hundreds of games that aren’t available in digital form will be gone. Forever. Like the relics of old on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 that have expired licenses. (Looking at you, arcade port of Marvel’s X-Men.)
Can’t Nintendo make more of an effort to preserve these, especially with its Nintendo Switch Online service suddenly opening doors on forgotten platforms? While it obviously can’t get access to all of these games, it can make more of an effort to save the ones that are clearly fan favorites (Persona, anyone?), or at the very least good ones that detail how good an era of a system truly is.
Likewise, it could embrace that Wii U mentality as well and release more Wii U ports to Switch. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker immediately comes to mind; and an improved port of StarFox Zero wouldn’t be a bad thing either (if it had the right control options). Obviously Nintendo has fuel in the tank for Switch for years to come, but it shouldn’t forget its history.
Obviously Nintendo has love for its franchises, as we’ve seen from its fierce protection of properties over cancelled fan projects. (We still miss Metroid 2.) So why can’t it be just as fierce to preserve some of these favorites? It just doesn’t make that much sense.
And when’s the last time we saw a good Punch-Out!! game? Honestly.
Microsoft’s On the Ball
Though the company appears to be done with backward compatibility, Microsoft has done an amazing job with its program, in an attempt to keep many of its classics burning brightly on the Xbox Series consoles. Did we need Max Payne 3 and 50 Cent: Blood On the Sand? Heck yes we did. Do we love going back to Pure and Split/Second any time we want? You bet. Do we wish Blur had joined this party at some point? Absolutely.
That said, it wouldn’t hurt to have some sort of team devoted to refreshing older favorites, or, at the very least, finding a way around problems that prevent some games from reaching backward compatibility status. There are a ton of Xbox games that can still come to the service, and, hey, it’d never hurt to revitalize Game Room for a new audience to enjoy, just as they did on Xbox 360.
As For Sony, We’ll See
That leaves us with Sony, who seem devoted to saving some of these classics for a new generation to enjoy. While we’re still not certain which favorites from the past will resurface on PlayStation Plus, it’s nice to know they’re putting up some sort of program that will at least look at some of these classics.
The real thing it needs to do now, though, is bring third parties into the fold. Convince Square Enix that both the classic Tomb Raider games and the Legacy of Kain adventures need to live again. Give Konami the reigns to re-release the classic Castlevania PS2 games, and Gradius V for good measure. (Ooh, Contra: Shattered Soldier as well!) If it’s serious about preserving these classics, it needs to go all out and make sure a wide variety are protected, and not their own.
Plus, forgotten franchises need to stay on the board too. We’re talking about Jak and Daxter, which hasn’t been touched in years. The forgotten MotorStorm games. Hell, can we give Tearaway another chance at living again?
Ball’s in your court, Sony. Let’s see what you can do for us!