Sunday, March 24, 2013

Trophies May Be Coming to Older Games

It's been kind of a thing floating around the internet for a few days, but I'm just now getting to it because I completely forgot about it last night.  There's a patent that's been recently filed by Sony that I'm linking to IGN for since Joystiq hasn't made a thing about it from what I can tell, and while it's kind of patent-y in "what is this even", it's a fairly simple process.  Basically, so says the patent, games can be patched in a way that doesn't call for re-certification because the game hasn't actually been altered in any way except that it adds triggers for trophies.  So basically, the process would just require a person or few people to sit down, come up with a list, make the appropriate triggers and submit them to be implemented.  Nice and simple and, most importantly, cheap.

So why should we care?  Well, the vagueness is sort of the key here - it just says 'games', not 'PS3 games', though I suspect this could be utilized in those handfuls of PS3 games that remain trophy-less to this day (Valkyria Chronicles, anyone?).  Which means any game you can play on a system that supports trophies (PS3 and Vita, really.  Until the PS4) would, theoretically, be able to have trophies attached to it.  Which means that copy of Metal Gear Solid you have in your download list might just offer you a shiny silver trophy for unlocking the Tuxedo, or Final Fantasy VII might have a gold up its sleeve for someone who collects every type of materia.  Things of that sort.  For people like myself who use trophies as a sort of benchmark, or an incentive to replay some games and wring some full enjoyment out of them, well, this is quite a boon.

It is, ultimately, hard to tell just how involved these types of deals would be because they are sort of unprecedented in most cases.  While there are -some- PS2 that have trophy lists now (thanks to HD-ification), these might be the exceptions and not the rule.  Who knows if any PS2 Classic that might get support via this method will be 'allowed' the full trophy list, though I don't see why they wouldn't.  It's a fact that makes some people a little annoyed, but Platinums move games.  $10 for a good game that will get you a Platinum trophy?  For most people, it might just be the little extra incentive to tip them over the edge into picking up some older games that they've been meaning to grab.  For others, it might just mean that they're suddenly buying up a bunch of older games for the specific goal of getting trophies in it.  Either way, they games start selling more and that's all that anyone really cares about.

I can't deny that the prospect of  playing the Playstation One version of Chrono Trigger for trophies is almost delicious - a game that I've literally 100%'d multiple times through my lifetime, yet with nothing really to show for it aside from my memories.  Which is, I believe one of the stumbling points that I think I cover every time I talk about trophies, but it's always relevant to the conversation nonetheless.  It's not like achievements/trophies suddenly phased into existence to make people go on fetch quests and this and that in the multi-hour task of 100%'ing a game, or playing it in a way that might not be intuitive at first.  This has existed since the beginning of games - just that before this generation, your only recourse was to inform those who didn't know about these little things, these easter eggs and such, or discuss your 'stories' of getting them with people who had similarly done so.  For all intents and purposes, nothing has changed - you just now get a thing that gives you points or a shiny trophy when you do it on top of the story that comes with it.

There's a completely possible chance, however, that nothing will come of any of this, though.  It is, after all, just a patent, and even if it were something that were made possible, it requires -some- work on the developers and/or IP Holders.  While it's minimal work and I doubt there's a big cost associated with it, it -is- work nonetheless, and on games that have been out for a decade or better in most cases - a lot of devs just won't see a point in doing it.  There's all sorts of wondering to do if they actually -do- this as well, since it's hard to tell just how the actual lists will be added in and handled, as I mentioned, and whether or not there will be 'guidelines' for them as there are for PS3/Vita games.  Still, it is something worth mentioning and could be very interesting to see how it's utilized, if at all.

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