I just can’t understand it, readers: if you’re designing a game that’s built around player retention, why wouldn’t you add new Trophies to it? I suppose the easy answer is thus: Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone are two of the biggest games in the world and don’t actually have any gongs to unlock, but it still blows my brain a little bit that the developers don’t bother.
I know not everyone cares about PlayStation’s virtual pots, and that’s totally fine – but for a sizeable contingent of Sony faithfuls, they offer added incentive to play. With service-based games, like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege or Rocket League, you’re meant to play these titles forever – and yet many developers come up with a single set of trinkets and call it a day.
There are exceptions, as there always are: Minecraft, for example, just added an entire second set of Trophies to accommodate its latest Caves and Cliffs release. That’s boosted its overall total of gongs to 130, which perhaps reflects its 10-year lifespan. Warframe, as well, adds a couple of pots with each major update – added incentive to dig back in.
But then you’ve got games like Grand Theft Auto 5, which continued to add new Trophies up until 2017’s Doomsday Heist – and then just didn’t bother beyond that. It’s particularly egregious in the case of Rockstar’s sandbox, because the title has a built-in awards system which boasts Trophy-like artwork and tracks your achievements in game. The hard work is already done.
Fortnite does have Trophies, but they’re all related to the co-op mode Save the World, which as far as I understand has been effectively abandoned by Epic Games now. When the title was re-released on PS5, I expected it to introduce a new list of trinkets to reflect the release’s Battle Royale refocus – but nope, it’s still exclusively tied to the mode only a handful of people play.
Call of Duty: Warzone is even more baffling: download the release for free and you’ll actually end up with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Trophies, as the client is technically tethered to the Infinity Ward first-person shooter from 2019. I understand the developer rotates different modes in and out, making achievements a difficult thing to implement here – but surely there has to be a solution?
Marvel’s Avengers has no such excuse: this is a game that’s been boasting about the wealth of free single player content it’s been adding, yet it couldn’t add a single pot for playing as Kate Bishop or Hawkeye? In the case of those two characters, they actually got entirely new campaigns, but not a single Trophy to reflect that. We’ll see if Black Panther adds any gongs later in the month.
Some of the games on this list aren’t exactly hurting for players, and developers would argue that they enforce retention through their core gameplay loop. I do get and respect that. But at a time when Sony is flexible with the Trophy system, allowing developers to expand on their list of achievements and even create entirely new sets, I just can’t understand why you wouldn’t bother.
Trophies can, and are, used as a means to extend replayability and a reward for exploring new modes and features. I understand that they can be frustrating sometimes, but that’s the fault of the developers who don’t design fun achievements to unlock. If a game is built around player retention, I just can’t fathom why teams don’t put more time and energy into expanding its Trophy list and offering as many incentives to play as possible.
How do you feel about service-based games that don’t add Trophies? Are you more likely to return to a release if it adds extra gongs to unlock, or does it have little impact on your impulse to play? Let us know in the comments section below.