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Let’s Talk About the PlayStation Classic

Almost everything behind the reveal of the PlayStation Classic was raising red flags

Sony finally unveiled its full lineup of games for the PlayStation Classic, and it’s probably more of a lukewarm reveal than what most people were hoping for. Plenty of iconic franchises and entries are missing from the lineup in both the Japanese and English versions of the console. Big names like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon are completely absent, third-party choices seem odd or limited, and even Sony seems to have ignored some of their more prolific entries, like Hot Shots Golf. To top it off, the PlayStation Classic emulates the original console’s controller, which lacks the dual analog sticks that are now standard for every Sony console.

It honestly feels less iconic without the analog sticks than with them.

I personally find one of the biggest issues with the console is the lack of Crash and Spyro. Crash, in particular, was THE mascot for Sony at the time, so much so that he was the tie-in character for a line of Pizza Hut promotions. He was the PlayStation’s answer to Mario, complete with a cart racer and a party game. I think the main problem is that neither of these franchises are currently owned by Sony; instead, they ended up in the hands of Activision following several buyouts and IP acquisitions. Chances are that Sony didn’t have the time to get through all the licensing tape to get any of the Crash or Spyro games, and even if they did, Activision would probably be reluctant to hand them over with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy coming out this year, and the Crash N. Sane Trilogy from 2017.

Other exclusions are a bit easier to understand. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a highly requested and talked about game online, but there’s so much licensing crap to go through that it would have probably taken an eternity to get the rights to all the music and characters. The same could be said for Gran Turismo, which uses a lot of real-world cars.

Know what racing game wouldn’t have car license issues?

Remasters and ports are the name of the game for why plenty of other titles were probably skipped or axed. Parappa has an HD port on the PS4, I already talked about the aforementioned Crash and Spyro remakes, and Symphony of the Night just received a PS4 port this past week. I doubt Konami or other companies want to release things that they feel would be “competing with themselves,” even if that mindset is a bit misguided here. The novelty of having the iconic games of a generation all on one box isn’t the same as the one you have when you want to buy an HD remake of something.

There are also a few odd inclusions and exclusions. Revelations: Persona is a weird choice for an ATLUS representative in the West. It’s honestly one of weakest localizations ATLUS has ever done, and is more a reflection of the late-90s localization mindset than anything else. The cast and setting were heavily altered to reflect a more “Western” feel, and content was gutted — including a full second quest that adds plenty of hours of gameplay. In general, it’s considered a weaker RPG, and the worst of the mainline Persona games. In Japan, Persona is an aged precursor to many of ATLUS’ modern RPGs, so it makes sense for the Japanese Classic because of its impact on JPRGs in its home country, but outside of Japan, Persona 2 is almost universally considered the superior game. Better localization, improved gameplay, and it operated as a standalone title, despite being the second half of a two-part game.

Another odd NA exclusion is Parasite Eve. It’s a cult classic horror RPG from Square, and something that was never officially released in Europe. The Japanese version of the Classic comes with it, along with a nice selection of other Square titles, but the Western version got an arguably inferior port of Rainbow Six instead.

Almost everything behind the reveal of the PlayStation Classic was raising red flags. It was announced only a few months before its supposed launch, we were only given five of the titles appearing on the machine, and now the last twenty have trickled in only a month before it launches. It kind of feels like Sony decided to jump on the nostalgia train for this holiday season, but did so only a few months before said holiday season was about to start. It’s actually a little discomforting knowing that only five games had potentially been secured when the mini-console was announced, as if Sony expected to ride the rose-tinted wave of PlayStation love without taking the time to invest and track down the games that would get people excited.

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What are your thoughts on the PlayStation Classic now that we have the full game list? Is there anything you wish had made the cut? Or are you okay with the games that Sony announced?

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