It's like it leaped to several systems.
"Coming this summer — on every platform ever made."
Any software program, particularly a Video Game
, that is simultaneously developed and (usually) simultaneously released for more than one system.
Functionally, multiplatform games differ from port in that the game was written with the other systems in mind even during initial development.
The time and effort to make a multiplatform game is not as great as some assume. Some developers have stated that it raises the cost only about 10 percent. This can vary quite a bit depending on how different the systems in question are. For instance, the Xbox
and PC versions of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
are quite similar; the iPhone and PS3
versions of The Force Unleashed
are quite a bit different.
This really became popular with developers during the 2000s
. Even though the PlayStation 2
was in the lead, games on the Xbox
, and Windows still sold well enough to ensure an even bigger profit than on the PS2 alone for very little extra development. This was even carried to the point of the wildly popular Game Boy Advance
receiving "ports" of set-top titles! The fact that the Xbox and its successor
are functionally small PCs running an embedded version of Windows doesn't hurt either.
With the cost of video game development being even higher with "high definition systems", this trope is more popular than ever. Series that used to be at least timed-exclusive are now going multi-platform. Nowadays, however, the priorities have shifted — as the PS3
and Xbox 360
concentrate more on graphics than the Wii
, and the Wii's controls are non-standard compared to the other systems, the result is usually one version of a game for PS3
and Xbox 360
, sometimes called PS360note
, and another version which is released on the Wii (and occasionally on PS2 as well, hence also the term WiiS2). That said, however, graphics card technology that was state of the art at the time the Xbox 360 and the PS3
were released is actually somewhat dated now; the latest high-end graphics cards can leave them both in the dust, but only a relatively small number of games actually take full advantage of this, as developers understandably want as many potential customers as possible. Some PC gamers call this pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator
, others see anything that means they can go longer between expensive hardware upgrades as a good thing.
On the PC side of things, some games are literally multiplatform, with the versions for different platforms (say, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux) all on the same physical media (sometimes called a "hybrid" release.) This is Older Than the NES
in PC-land; in the days of 5.25" floppy disks, some games were released with a version for one computer (for example, the Commodore 64
) on one side, and a version for another (Apple ][
, IBM PC
, or Atari 8-bit
) on the other. Obviously, this sort of thing doesn't fly in console-land, due to dictatorial fiat console companies have over developers (possibly carried over from the days of carts
, when it was physically impossible.)
Keep in mind the difference between this and a port.
If a game was made for one system first, any version past that is a port or remake, like Tetris
It also doesn't count if the series has many different versions on each system
, like Dance Dance Revolution
or the Tales Series
Compare Cash Cow Franchise
. Contrast with Reformulated Game
, where completely different versions of the same game title is released across multiple platforms.
Releases among series that usually or previously develop for one system:
- Dark Souls, the Spiritual Successor to the PS3 exclusive Demon's Souls, launched on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 and has since been ported to the PC.
- Digimon World 4 was released for the PS2, Xbox and GameCube. The earlier titles were only for the original PlayStation, and later ones were only for the Nintendo DS.
- Final Fantasy:
- Grand Theft Auto IV debuted simultaneously on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The first two GTA games were originally PC games that got ported to the original PlayStation, while Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and San Andreas were first released on the PS2 and eventually got ported to the Xbox and PC.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was developed for the GameCube, but the game was delayed to the point where Nintendo realized they could release it on the Wii at the same time and have a launch game for that system. This succeeded, as the combined sales of both versions have made it the second best-selling game in the series. The two versions of Twilight Princess have one very noticeable difference: they're mirrored. In previous titles, Link wielded his sword with his left-hand, which was carried over to the GameCube version, but because more people are right-handed than left-, Nintendo flipped the Wii version to make it easier for people to control. That means they flipped the entire game, so maps have to likewise be flipped if you want to use them between versions.
- Mass Effect was originally released as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2007, with a PC port following year. The sequel followed suit with a simultaneous Xbox 360 and PC launch in 2010, only to get a PS3 version the year after with some of the downloadable content from the previous versions already included on-disc. The third game would debut on all three aforementioned platforms (and the Wii U) in 2012, which led to the original game finally getting a PS3 port as part of a bundle with the sequels, as well as a digital download on PSN.
- Mega Man 8 and Mega Man X4 were both given simultaneous releases on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn after most of the prior games in their respective sub-series were released primarily for NES and Super NES (although Mega Man X3 did have a PS and Saturn release in Japan). Subsequent games in the X series would be released for the PlayStation and then the PS2, while the classic series would take a decade long hiatus until the release of Mega Man 9 and 10 for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360.
- The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for the PS3 and Xbox 360 (a compilation that includes Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, as well as Peace Walker) marked the turning point when the series started getting consistent multiplatform releases. Prior titles since the original Metal Gear Solid were released exclusively for PlayStation consoles with only a few exceptions.note Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was developed simultaneously for the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well, as was Metal Gear Solid V, which was being developed during a generation transition and ended up launching on the newer PS4 and Xbox One too.
- The Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series was exclusive to PlayStation brand platforms for the longest time... until Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, which was released for the Xbox 360 in addition to the PS3. Every new entry in the series since then had been released for both platforms.
- The Team Ninja versions of Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II were originally released exclusively for the Xbox and Xbox 360 respectively, although both games were eventually ported to the PS3 (and later on, the PS Vita) in the form of the Sigma versions. Ninja Gaiden 3 on the other hand, was released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 from the get go.
- Persona 5 will be released simultaneously on the PS4 and PS3, narrowly missing out on the latter.
- The first two Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games (though technically different games, were the same in almost every way) were released for the GBA and the DS.
- Resident Evil 5 was released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 simultaneously, making it the first installment in the series to debut on two platforms. The series got its start on the original PlayStation, where it had its first three numbered entries, before getting an oddly-named sequel on the Dreamcast in the form of Resident Evil: Code: Veronica and briefly becoming a GameCube exclusive for Resident Evil 4, though all five games (along with Resident Evil 0 and the remake of the original Resident Evil, which were exclusive to the GameCube and Wii for many years) eventually got ports on multiple platforms (including PC).
- Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny is the only Rune Factory game to be multi-platform (on the Wii and the PS3; previous titles had been for the DS or Wii only) and the first Harvest Moon or Rune Factory to have a simultaneous multi-platform release.
- Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin, a feudal-themed spinoff of the Yakuza series, was produced during a console generation transition and ended up being released as a launch title for PS4 in addition to the PS3. Ryu Ga Gotoku 0 also got a dual release for PS4 and PS3.
- Shadow Complex was originally an Xbox 360-exclusive download title, but its remastered re-release is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
- Street Fighter II was initially exclusive to the Super NES when the original World Warrior release was ported to 16-bit consoles in 1992, although the PC Engine and the Genesis eventually got their ports of the subsequent release titled Champion Edition the following year. The Genesis version in particular was dubbed Special Champion Edition, which was released a month after Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES and featured roughly the same content.note Super Street Fighter II (the fourth edition) got a simultaneous release on SNES and Genesis in 1994.
- Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U became the first installment in the Smash series to be released for two different systems, namely the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U.
- Tekken 6 was exempt from the series' Sony leash and allowed to be released on the Xbox 360 as well as the PS3.
Titles or series notable for being Multi-Platform:
- Most licensed games
- Another World
- Anarchy Reigns
- Asura's Wrath
- Call of Duty
- Dragon Age
- The Elder Scrolls, starting with Morrowind
- Guitar Hero
- LEGO Adaptation Game
- Lollipop Chainsaw
- Madden NFL
- Medal of Honor
- Mortal Kombat
- Naev, an open-source freeware game available for PC, Mac, and most Linux distros.
- Need for Speed
- Nobunaga's Ambition (but only in Japan)
- Rock Band
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms (but sometimes only in Japan)
- Sonic the Hedgehog, after Sega's hardware division imploded.
- Pillars of Eternity, a Kickstarter-funded RPG by Obsidian that will be compatible with PC, Mac, and Linux, and released on both GOG and Steam.
- Puyo Puyo, even before Sega's hardware division imploded.
- Rick Dangerous was developed concurrently for all major British computers (except for the Acorn Archimedes, which received a port several years later), as well as its sequel. Though the Atari ST and Amiga were the lead platforms, the screen width was deliberately limited the ZX Spectrum's lower resolution and the character sprites were sized to fit the Commodore 64.
- Rise of the Robots
- Temple Of Apshai
- Time Shift
- Tomb Raider
- Many Ubisoft properties:
- Most Blizzard titles.
- The Humble Indie Bundle releases have all been on Mac, PC, and Linux, and the most recent Bundles have added Android to the list.