Remake is a dirty word isn’t it… I think game publishers and developers prefer the term “remaster”. To remake something is to, by definition, make it from the same materials you made the original from whereas to remaster is to re-design from the ground up, utilizing new hardware to make older, more nostalgic, experiences even better!
So let’s get real for a second here, whatever developers and publishers want to call it, this is eventually going to be bad for this generation. Yes, there is such a thing as a successful remaster, but in my mind it has to follow one of two of these criteria. Firstly, if a game is released just before the next gen consoles are released, they may have a case for a remaster. I feel like Grand Theft Auto was a successful remaster on the next gen consoles and followed this idea. What GTA also did is add a few little things here and there that only new hardware could support.
That brings me onto the second situation where a next gen port is acceptable. If a developer feels like they can offer a new and improved experience to an existing game with the newer hardware I feel this can be mutually beneficial too. On the low end of this spectrum, I feel like 1080p HD and 60 frames per second upgrades to fan favourite games are good enough reasons to warrant this but when I hear people say a game is getting remastered, it needs to have some content that couldn’t be implemented on last gen due to limitations. It should blow the roof off the last gen version and generally feel fresh and like a new experience.
Now this is all well and good for developers who have something new to offer, but recently we are seeing more and more remakes of games that bring nothing new to the table apart from some higher resolution textures and this is just not good enough. Do you remember the days of the transition from PS1 to PS2? I do. I also remember the ability to play PS1 games on the PS2 for no extra fee. The reason I specify “no extra fee” is that some developers feel like it is perfectly fine to scam us out of that backwards compatibility by making us buy these “next gen upgrades”. It’s ludicrous that this practice is still happening well into year 2 of these consoles launches. Will we continue to see 2009 games remastered with touched up graphics into 2016? I certainly hope not.
The reason I mentioned that last point is that I got riled up when I heard about God of War 3 getting a remaster. This game will have to pull something special out of the bag for me to even accept that this is not a cash grab “anniversary” game. God of War 3 came out in 2010 and the company behind it, SCE Santa Monica Studio have decided to bring this out once more as a remaster… 5 years later!
As I’m writing this, I’m questioning whether I’m being hypocritical in allowing 343 to remaster and re-release Halo in The Master Chief Collection but not SCE Santa Monica with God of War. I came to the conclusion that the reason I’m okay with 343’s practice is that they are giving us a bundle of 4 games. 4 campaigns, the best of 4 multiplayers (hopefully they’ll come through on that soon) and other modes such as Spartan Ops whereas God of War 3 will be remastered as a singular game. I’m not going to speculate on any added content as it was rumoured that Sony rushed to get GoW out as soon as possible and they possibly had to cut levels, which may be present in the remake. Either way, in my eyes, collections of games are fine, if they offer content from all games in that series to be enjoyed in higher resolutions with better framerate etc. But I find it hard to see a reason for devs to make ports of an old game for the sake of it. It’s bad business practice.
These consoles are not being given room to breathe and thrive. They are instead being weighed down by old games that developers want to make a quick buck from. It is, sometimes, the equivalent of being sold day one DLC, or DLC items that clearly were in the game post launch, that were cut out to sell at a later date. Developers are relying too heavily on these games to turn extra profit to keep the studio running.
Recently we’ve seen online petitions to bring back old Call of Duty’s like Black Ops 2 and, more notably, Modern Warfare 2. I nearly got caught up in this hype train as I used to be a big fan of the series, and these 2 games in particular. But I’ve since seen sense and realised that if this happens, it’ll just draw more attention to these problems and we’ll see even more cash grab remakes.
Gamers aren’t fully accepting the new generation as they want games from old consoles to be brought forward. It’s sad to see so many people not embracing the new hardware, and living in hopes that their favourite game comes back, rather than looking forward to new releases and technically better products.
I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with it if they were done in moderation, but with 15 games since 2013 having been remastered and released or announced, they are saturating the market and flooding the developers looking to really build this console into something awesome! A console generation will never move forward unless it stops clinging on and breaks away from the past! It sounds like a war cry doesn’t it. Well that’s because I’m passionate about these consoles, both PS4 and Xbox One and I want to see the big things we were promised from E3 2013 to become a reality and we won’t unless we stop allowing developers to let us live in the past!
It’s a touchy subject. Everyone wants to see their favourite and most nostalgic game come to the console they are currently playing on with enhancements, when really the future is in new IP’s and new instalments of beloved franchises. I for one, hope that the tide turns and we start to see developers making games fully using all of the tools in the toolbox, rather than just the copy and paste.
Let us know what you think about remastered games, is it love or hate? We want to know. Leave your comments below!