'Control' publisher doubles down on limited next-gen upgrades

"Every avenue we pursued, there was some form of blocker."

Remedy Entertainment

Control is an atmospheric stunner of a game, so it's no surprise that publisher 505 Games wants to introduce it to new players in the form of an Ultimate Edition. Even better, 505 decided to offer a complimentary next-gen upgrade, so people who own the PS4 or Xbox One versions of the Ultimate Edition could claim versions of the game optimized for the PS5 and Xbox Series X for free. Problem is, fans who have already shelled out for the base game and its expansions are being left out, and 505 Games just doubled down on that stance in a new blog post.

"While it is challenging bringing any game to next gen platforms, we quickly realised it was even more difficult to upgrade our current user base to next gen with full parity across platforms with our year-old game," the post reads. "Every avenue we pursued, there was some form of blocker and those blockers meant that at least one group of players ended up being left out of the upgrade for various reasons. As of today, we can’t offer an upgrade to everyone, and leaving any one group out feels unfair."

505 declined to elaborate on what those "blockers" are, but the thrust of 505's argument is straightforward. In the company's words, the upgrade path on offer "is only possible when upgrading from the same version of the game," which makes some degree of practical sense. The Ultimate Edition includes the core game, plus all post-launch fixes, patches and expansions — 505 naturally wouldn't want to make some of that material available gratis to people who only own current-gen versions of the core game. And since additional development is only happening for next-gen versions of the Ultimate Edition, there's no direct upgrade path for owners of the core version of Control. (505 also confirmed today that the Ultimate Edition will be the only version of the game available for PS5 and Xbox Series X.)

Despite the fact that "no decision was taken lightly," finding a conciliatory solution doesn't seem that difficult. By 505's admission, the whole point of Control Ultimate Edition is to give new players the full Control experience in a single title. Rather than risk alienating existing fans -- especially those who already bought the core game and spent $25 for the season pass -- why not cut them some deals? Since 505 admits there won't be "new exclusive content" for next-gen platforms, why not make the Ultimate Edition available for free to season pass holders? Or offer a discounted rate on the Ultimate Edition to people who already own the core game? 505 seems to have its mind firmly made up, but who knows -- garnering goodwill sometimes does more for the bottom line than forcing sales.