505 Games has addressed the backlash to Control's next-gen upgrade policy in a new statement that commits to its previous announcement.
Control developer Remedy came under fire when it emerged you will not get a free upgrade to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game - even if you own the base game and its expansions already.
A new "Ultimate Edition" package version of Control launches for PC via Steam on 27th August, and then the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 10th September.
You need this new version of the game to then get a free upgrade to the Ultimate Edition when it launches on PS5 and Xbox Series X a few months later.
The Ultimate Edition includes Control and its two expansions. That's it.
This announcement met with a negative reaction from Control owners, who pointed out other publishers are offering free next-gen upgrades without issue.
Now, 505 Games has stepped in, insisting it explored all avenues before coming to its decision.
"We spent several months exploring all of our launch options for Control Ultimate Edition and no decision was taken lightly," 505 said in a post on the Control website.
"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.
"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. We understand that is not what you want to hear."
Essentially, 505 isn't changing its policy on this, which means the only version of Control available on PS5 and Xbox Series X will be Control Ultimate Edition. The original base game, expansion packs and season pass will not be sold separately on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.
505 points out if you have the Control base game, the expansion packs or the season pass on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you can play Control on PS5 and Xbox Series X through backwards compatibility. This will get you an "enhanced experience", 505 said, but it didn't clarify what exactly that means.
The whole thing begs the question: what's the difference between the Control base game plus season pass, and this new Control Ultimate Edition? On the face of it, there is no difference. But 505 addressed this question:
"The objective of Control Ultimate Edition was not to release new exclusive content on the next-gen platforms, but to offer the full Control gameplay experience to new Control players in a single, easy-to-find product. The PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X versions of Control contain the same content as the current-gen game, though they do take full advantage of the power and features provided by these new consoles.
"The upgrade path that we are offering is only possible when upgrading from the same version of the game. As we are only doing additional development on Control Ultimate Edition on the next-gen platforms, we are unfortunately unable to offer an upgrade path to all existing Control players. We understand how this might upset a number of players but you will still be able to play the 2019 edition of Control and each expansion on the new platforms."
505 concluded its statement by apologising, acknowledging some will be left upset.
"To bring Control to next generation consoles in any form, we had to make some difficult decisions and those came in the form of creating the simplified Control Ultimate Edition product plan we have today.
"That we took a while in responding does not mean we have not been listening. We are sorry we couldn't meet everyone's expectations and we hope you will continue to support Control. We thank you for your support thus far."