Well, it’s done now. The Gravity Rush 2 servers have been shut down, and a big chunk of content has been lost.
I’ve been rushing to sample the game’s online modes over the last few days: on Monday night I finally got to the city Jirga Para Lhao and played a few online treasure hunts. These are fun little missions where other users post a photo of a treasure chest, and you have to work out where it is in the city based on the photo. I found these missions compelling – you have to study the photo carefully, trying to position yourself to line up with details in the background, and looking out for architectural details that match the pic.
Your reward is Dusty tokens, a currency that unlocks things like extra poses, costumes and talismans, which are modifiers you can equip to give you special abilities. You can (could) also get Dusty tokens for beating challenges set by other players, or getting likes for the photos you can share. The top unlock, for 6,000 Dusty tokens, is a talisman that gives you unlimited gravity abilities. But now that the servers have been switched off, there’s no way to get these unlockables. And so far, Sony hasn’t announced a patch that would enable access to them on single player.
But more than that, I was surprised by how much the online stuff added to the game experience. It may be peripheral, but the online content really helps to generate a sense of community. I loved seeing the creative photos other players have posted. Now any photos I take will simply languish on my hard drive.
Most of all, I’m annoyed at Sony for cutting the online content just a year and a half after the game’s release. By all accounts, the game didn’t sell as well as Sony wanted, but the fans of Gravity Rush 2 are dedicated, and hundreds of thousands of people bought the game. And of course, there are people who only discovered it late, like myself, and people who picked it up in recent PSN sales. It seems shocking to me that Sony would gut the game like this after such a short time, especially as new players keep joining the game. I mean, how much can it cost to keep the servers going?
It’s certainly soured my opinion of the company, as I’m sure it has for many Gravity Rush 2 players. For the sake of good PR relations at the very least, the cost of keeping the servers alive would have been worth it. With this and the recent Fortnite cross play debacle, Sony has scored two spectacular and unforced own goals.