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 (as well as Vice City and San Andreas) was originally a PS2 game that 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 was released simultaneously for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, after seven numbered games on Nintendo systems and a Genesis compilation of the first three.
- Likewise, Mega Man X4 also had a simultaneous PS and Saturn release, after the first three X games debuted on the SNES, although X3 also had PS/Saturn release exclusive to Japan. Subsequent X games were released exclusively for PS consoles.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was released simultaneously for the PS3 and Xbox 360 (except in Japan, where they got only the PS3 version). The series has been traditionally a PlayStation mainstay since the original Metal Gear Solid, with only some of the games getting ports or remakes for competing platforms.note
- Ninja Gaiden 3 (the Team Ninja version) was released simultaneously for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012. Its two predecessors, Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II, were originally released for the Xbox and Xbox 360 respectively, and then subsequently remade on the PS3 under the Sigma banner.
- 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 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 started on the original PlayStation with the first three numbered entries, with the Dreamcast getting an oddly named sequel in the form of Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, before briefly moving on to the Nintendo GameCube with a full-on remake of the original game, RE0 and RE4 (only the last one got ported to non-Nintendo platforms).
- 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.
- Splinter Cell was originally an Xbox exclusive for a while before ported to PC , PS2 and GC. The sequels were all multiplatform releases though.
- Super Street Fighter II, while originally an arcade game, had the distinction 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 third-party for Nintendo consoles to supporting multiple platforms (previous Capcom games that were released on the Genesis and TurboGrafx 16 were usually licensed versions produced by Sega and NEC respectively).
- Tekken 6 was exempt from the series' Sony leash and allowed to be released on the Xbox360 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 since Deadly Alliance (when the series started skipping arcade releases)
- 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.
- 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.