If you buy a major late-2013 release, such as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty Ghosts for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 with the intention of upgrading to a next-gen version, buyer beware: you won't be able to take some of your in-game progress with you.
While Sony, Microsoft, various game publishers and even some retailers have been trumpeting various upgrade deals — some of which can fetch you the next-gen version of a game for just $US10 more — anyone thinking of doing this should be aware that their save files won't be shifting over, not in their entirety.
Players of the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 versions of Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty Ghosts, which launch on October 29 and November 5, will be able to upgrade to next-gen versions at the launch of the PlayStation 4 (November 15) and Xbox One (November 22). And they'll see their multiplayer progress carry over. But reps for the game's publishers at EA and Activision have confirmed to Kotaku that progress in the games' singleplayer campaigns will not carry over. Anyone who goes for an upgrade will be starting those campaigns — admittedly not the main draw of these fall first-person-shooters — from scratch.
The single-player campaign of Assassin's Creed games is more of a draw, but save progress for the single-player of October 29's Assassin's Creed IV won't carry over either, a Ubisoft rep confirmed to Kotaku. That rep did not yet respond to a follow-up about whether multiplayer progress will carry over. If/when they do we'll let you know.
A rep for Ubisoft's Watch Dogs, which has also been featured by Sony's upgrade promotions, was not able to ascertain by the writing of this post whether the save progress in that game would carry over. Given that the PS4 version of that game will launch alongside the PS4 on November 15 and will be out for current-gen, PC and Wii U systems on November 19, it's less likely that day-one purchasers would be faced with a choice of buying a current-gen version and then pondering an upgrade. For those not getting a next-gen console at launch, however, any lack of save-transfer could be an issue. If we get word one way or the other, we'll let you know.
There is little or no precedent for cross-generational save file transfers, so the inability to move one's progress from, say, the PS3 version of ACIV to a PS4 one may seem obvious. Nevertheless, there will certainly also be those who've plunged 10 hours into the current-gen version of the game who will stand in front of a PS4 on a store shelf, size up the machine's launch-day lack of backwards compatibility, and sigh at the prospect of having to start the game all over again or keep their PS3 handy to play more of it. Can't the PS4 version be told how far in you are? It seems that it's not that simple.