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Editorial   

Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus is coming to the PS3 This Fall...

...wait, what? Someone surely misspelled PS4.

Over the past few days, Sony has been teasing a big announcement via a series of tweeted images and cryptic messages. “When Worlds Collide, Heroes Will Return” we were told in the last cryptic message – a message that I may add, also linked Insomniac Games with whatever was to be announced.  Worlds colliding…could fans finally be treated to that long clamored for Jak and Ratchet crossover game? Nope, but what was finally revealed wasn’t too shabby either, as Ratchet and Clank will be returning in Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus on Sony’s PlayStation 3 later this fall.

Wait a second, that can't be right...

Just as surprising as it was to see that a proper, more traditional entry in the Ratchet and Clank series was finally coming out after the mixed bag, non-traditional entries All4One and Full Frontal Assault, is the fact that it’s not seeing a release on Sony’s next generation PlayStation.  There are many, myself included, that would consider a mainline Ratchet and Clank game a system seller, so not making this a launch title may be considered somewhat perplexing on Sony’s part.

To be fair, this isn’t the first time that Sony has released a major title on old hardware with the new stuff just on the horizon or even already out.  God of War 2 was (in)famously released on the PlayStation 2 after the PlayStation 3 had hit the streets nearly half a year earlier. Into the Nexus will likely release before the PlayStation 4 debuts, so it’s not as odd as God of War’s release, but it’s still surprising when you consider that the switch in generation will be different than the last because one feature present in the first gen PS3s won’t be available for the first gen PS4s.

Backwards compatibility.

God of War 2 may have been a late release for the PS2, but folks who had already traded in their PS2s or had never owned one in the first place were covered.  On first generation PS3 hardware, backwards compatibility was possible, so it wasn’t that big of a deal for those that had already made the transition.

The PS4, on the other hand, will lack backwards compatibility (at least in any form we currently recognize) and Into the Nexus will not be playable on the new hardware.  So while God of War’s release on the PS2 wouldn’t have hampered sales of the PS4, Sony is now giving gamers a reason to hold onto their PS3s a bit longer; fewer old system trade-ins mean fewer new systems sold at or near launch.

So the question remains, why would Sony risk cannibalizing sales of the PS4 and by releasing the game – a game I may add that is likely more tempting than any PS4 launch exclusive at this point – on old hardware?

There are three possible reasons that I can imagine.  The first has to do with Insomniac’s other game in development, Sunset Overdrive, an Xbox One exclusive title.  It is completely possible that Microsoft’s agreement with Insomniac Games includes a clause that demands Sunset Overdrive be Insomniac Games first release on next generation hardware for a specified period of time.  Since Into the Nexus could possibly launch ahead of Sunset Overdrive, or at least within the launch window of that title, Insomniac would be in breach of contract if it came out on the PS4 instead of the PS3.

Another reason could come down to Insomniac’s desire to not cannibalize their own potential sales.  There is little to no overlap in potential audiences for Sunset Overdrive and Into the Nexus since the former comes out on the Xbox One and the latter comes out on the PS3.  Being exclusive titles, it could be damaging for sales if two EXCLUSIVE games came out on competing hardware at the same time.

The last reason comes down to simple project planning.  Into the Nexus has likely been in production for a while, and may have been originally scheduled to come out much earlier than this holiday season (heck, the last two games may have been place holders while the true sequel failed to meet deadlines).   Spending the money to port it from the PS3 to the PS4 may not be worth it, especially since the install base of the PS3 is much larger than that of a system that will have only just launched.

Of course there are any number of reasons that Ratchet and Clank’s next adventure is landing on the PS3 and not the PS4, and this decision was likely made by people much smarter, and better paid, than me (at least I hope so). 

But what do you all think?  Why do you think Sony is electing to publish Into the Nexus on the PS3 as opposed to the PS4?  Are you excited for a mainline Ratchet and Clank game? Add to the discussion by sounding off in the comments section below!


 

Comments

transmet2033

07/11/2013 at 02:16 PM

Damn you Sony!!!   There are plenty of games that I have missed over the past year since my ps3 died.  This is the game that finally makes me regret not replacing it.  Gaikai better work, and it better have this game on it...

Chris Yarger Community Manager

07/11/2013 at 02:51 PM

Seeing how new I am to the Ratchet and Clank series, I find the release onto PS3 to be a fairly awesome deal now that I'm trying to play catch up on all of the old exclusives I have missed. I have a lot of catching up to do in the Ratchet and Clank series though.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/11/2013 at 04:27 PM

I really don't get this expectation of backwards compatibility. The only home console I've ever owned with 100% backwards compatibility is my Wii, and I've never used that feature. The PlayStation 2 was the first high profile backwards compatible system (the 7800 was pretty much DOA), and it had some issues with a decent amount of games. The PS3 has been without that feature for most of its lifespan, and MS dropped the emulation on the 360 really early on, as well.

Besides Nintendo, a company that dances to the beat of their own drum, this is how it's always been. There will be some great games for current gen for at least the next year before it becomes a wasteland filled with sports and kids games, and it would be a great idea for people to hold onto them for now. I understand if you need to trade in your current stuff to afford new systems, but this shouldn't come as a surprise to people.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

07/11/2013 at 05:04 PM

The absense of BC doesn't surprise me - nor is it something I demand.  It's only relevant in this particular instance where people who upgraded to the PS3 could still play God of War 2 because those original models had BC, where that won't be the case this go around.

And let's face it.  Most people don't hold onto older consoles once they buy the new.  They either sell it, give it away, or trade up.  Only collectors and horders hold on to the old like that.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/11/2013 at 05:24 PM

I guess I'm a hoarder, then.

The PS3 will probably get boxed up in January, and the 360 will stay in active status until they well runs dry.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

07/11/2013 at 05:56 PM

As am I.  But that's why we write about games. Or something like that.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

07/11/2013 at 04:44 PM

Seeing that this is a budget title ($29.99), I'm going to assume that this exists to wrap up the "Future" saga of Ratchet and Clank and bridge to the next saga that will begin on PS4. Its only a hunch, but thats what it sounds like based on what I've read so far. That said, it not being able to be played on PS4 (yet, we still have to see how the cloud stuff works) kinda sucks but we'll see. I'm excited none-the-less, it looks really good.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

07/11/2013 at 05:05 PM

I thought about that after I posted this, and I think you're right.  They're referring to this as an "epilogue" to the future series.  This would be a good way to make some quick cash.  Sell a small game that bridges that series to the next PS4 series.

KnightDriver

07/12/2013 at 04:33 PM

The main reason is likely that the game was in development before they got a PS4 dev kit. I wonder though because Assassin's Creed 4 is coming out for both current and new gen systems. You would think they'd do the same with Ratchet & Clank. In any case, I am happy because I can play this without buying new hardware.

MotDrum

07/14/2013 at 03:39 PM

I think this also supports Sony's claims of having long life cycles for its consoles. Didn't they announce like 10 years for the PS3? As evidenced by God of War, and now Ratchet and Clank, this is something they actually commit on.

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