So, I recently bought BlazBlue Continuum Extend Limited Edition, and glancing around at some of the comments and reviews about it one thing that keeps coming up is that the Extend isn’t, in fact, a new game, but pretty much the old game with some new stuff tossed in. Okay, okay, a LOT of new stuff. They completely rebalanced the characters, added a few new gameplay modes, added a few new story elements, and some other goodies. They also added in some of the characters that you previously had to pay for as DLC. So, for someone like me who has just discovered this, this is a wonderful thing and fully worth the price of a new game. But what about people who bought the previous version and the DLC? Is it worth them paying the full price for a new game to get a game that basically they already paid for? But since the movesets and the balance has been changed, they’re going to have to get it if they want to play on-line or in tournaments. So they get the honour of paying full price for the game, full price for the DLC, and then full price for the Extend version, since the company — at least, as far as I’ve heard — isn’t putting out the rebalancing as a patch.
But then I think about this a bit more, and then I realize that I’ve seen this happen before. And no, I’m not thinking about fighting games from Capcom — Marvel versus Capcom 3, I’m looking at you here — but am instead thinking about Persona 3. I bought the original version of Persona 3 and after ignoring it for over 6 months, I played it and it became my favouritist game ever. And then not too long after, the announcement came in for Persona 3: FES, which would include the full version of Persona 3: The Journey, the expansion The Answer, and a few new S-links and scenes. And I think I ran out to pre-order it, without too much of a second thought. I didn’t mind it then, so why is this a problem?
Well, one difference is that if I recall correctly FES was slightly LESS expensive than a normal game, so it wasn’t quite full price. But I think it was close enough that it doesn’t really make a difference to the discussion. It also didn’t have a multiplayer option and, as an RPG, is totally unsuited for tournaments, so there’s that. And there was no DLC for it, which meant that I was simply getting another copy of the game without having to count the cost of DLC in my determination.
Ultimately, I think that for RPGs this sort of "Expansion with some enhancements to the original" is a great idea, and one well-worth pursuing. I would have loved if this had been done to Persona 4 or other RPGs. Unfortunately, where this is being done is with fighting games, where it doesn’t work as well for two broad reasons. The first is that fighting games tend to be more of a multiplayer than a solo experience, and so if one person updates everyone else does as well, so it’s harder to sit on the version you have if it’s good enough for you. The second is that because the story and game mode elements take second place to the actual fighting in fighting games — duh! — it’s harder to find extras that really make you think that it’s worth getting the new version that don’t completely change the game experience, because the elements that most people notice are, well, in the fighting part itself. You can always add on — well, perhaps not ALWAYS — something to the story of an RPG, but you can’t do that to a fighting game.
It’s interesting, then, which group seems the most interested in enhancing and re-releasing the same game as a semi-new game.