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 develop for one system:
- Dark Souls, the Spiritual Successor to the PS3 exclusive Demons Souls, was released on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and has now been ported to the PC.
- Digimon World 4 was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo Gamecube. The prior titles were only for PlayStation, and later ones were only for the Nintendo DS.
- Final Fantasy XIII was announced for the Xbox 360 midway through development after it had been originally announced for the PS3, at least for the overseas market.
- Final Fantasy XI is notable for being not only Multi-Platform, but the first MMORPG to cross the console-PC divide. It started on the PS2, got a PC version, and eventually got an Xbox 360 version by the third expansion, Treasures of Aht Urhgan.
- 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 bestselling 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.
- 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 exceptionsnote , but the subsequent games in the series (the hack 'n slash spinoff Metal Gear Rising and the two parter Metal Gear Solid V), were developed with multiple platforms in mind and debuted on both, PS and Xbox consoles.
- 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.
- 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 first two Pokemon 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 the once Nintendo-exclusive 2002 remake of the first game) 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.
- Super Street Fighter II, while originally an arcade game, had the distinction of being the first Street Fighter game to be ported to two consoles at the same time, being released for the SNES and Genesis. The original Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II Turbo were exclusives to the SNES, although the Genesis did end up getting a rebranded port of the latter titled Street Fighter II′: Special Champion Edition. This marked Capcom's shift from being primarily a Nintendo developer on home consoles to supporting multiple platforms (although the company did authorized licensed conversions of their games for the Genesis and TurboGrafx 16).
- 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
- Mass Effect, starting with ME2. ME1 was initially an Xbox 360 exclusive but was ported to the PC and PS3 later.
- 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.
- Temple Of Apshai
- Time Shift
- Tomb Raider
- Many Ubisoft properties:
- Most Blizzard titles.
- The Humble Indie Bundle releases have all canonically been on Mac, PC, and Linux, and the most recent Bundles have added Android to the list.