As part of their coverage at DICE, Gamasutra published an article about Amir Rao’s talk regarding game ports, and why multi-platform developing should be a careful process. He highlights Plants vs Zombies as the prime example of how a game could work on different platforms when a team goes out of their way to consider their audience per platform aside from the basic game mechanics. It’s a good example: I, myself have bought Plants vs Zombies at least three times already.
Ports can be nice sometimes, especially when the nostalgia factor is high. But if developers don’t have a team re-working their game to suit the new platform, it’s pointless. I haven’t played any of the Final Fantasy ports that have landed on iOS, but I haven’t really heard good things about those, either. Meanwhile, playing the iOS port of The Secret of Monkey Island is actually pretty fun and suited for the platform. It always makes a world of a difference when a game is re-tooled to feel just right.
Rao (Bastion) emphasizes that rather than simultaneously releasing a new game across several platforms for the short-term success, studios should instead put forth more effort into truly understanding each individual platform’s interface to give their audience exactly what they want from the game. I have to agree that it’s a fab business model, because ports are often slap-dash, shoddy, or just ill-fit for the new platform. Another example of a fantastic port job that managed to enhance the game from the original is Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Though Square Enix has had their shortcomings lately, you’ve got to give them credit for that particular release.
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