Ever since the dawn of the new generation of consoles we have seen both of these terms crop up quite a bit. Firstly because developers like to save time and make money, and secondly because the consumer want to actually play the games they have bought. It is a debate that we have as gamers as we look to relive some of our favourite games from the past. But should we have to re-pay for these experiences? Let’s talk.
To look at “remasters”, we first have to break down what the word actually means and look at the mis-used variations of the word. To start with, a remaster is to polish a game from an older generation by updating the graphics and fixing bugs and issues to then resell the game. Many people argue that remasters are quick cash-grabs from game developers while they work on their next big project, capitalizing on fans nostalgic love for their game. A remake, a term which is so often wrongly used, means that the game is made from the ground up to be a stand-out completely better in every way, version of an older game. Both words are very similar, but have different uses and developers themselves often sell themselves short, or oversell their games depending on this.
The issue I have with remasters is that it is so often a way for developers to make quick money while they develop other games in the foreground. A lot of these games are made to such as low standard, that they are barely any different from their last gen counterpart and frankly that is just anti-consumer. A good example of the right way to do remasters come from Halo: The Master Chief Collection, although they had issues with multiplayer this is exactly the way to do it, and more recently the Rare Replay, with 30 games on sale for just $30 dollars. That is the right way to do it.
The counter to remastering games is that it just shouldn’t need to be done as backwards compatibility used to be a main stay in the console world, meaning we could just build our collection of games to work on the most current console. Up until this years E3, not much has been mentioned of backwards compatibility. There was a small mention of being able to rent older games on PS4 for an outrageous price, but nothing really notable. Xbox blew people away with their announcement that we would be able to play a selection of games from the Xbox 360 on our Xbox One, which although is only a small amount to begin with, is the best and closest thing we’ve seen to true backwards compatibility this generation.
The only other point I can add about the value of backwards compatibility is that it means you don’t have to go out and essentially buy the same game twice. There are people who say that the improved graphics and framerate, plus enhancements in other areas of the games are enough to sell a remaster of a game, but I’m still not convinced. In terms of adding to the remastering argument, there are going to be like-minded people who loved this game last gen, who buy it this gen which gives outstanding games a second wind that BC likely would not benefit from.
In closing, as a consumer there really is no other choice than backwards compatibility. Sure, having a game remastered and made to look nicer is great, but I’d rather not double pay for a game I already own, when the experience will be the same regardless of graphical fidelity. Remastering breaks that feeling of nostalgia for me, and I feel like that is exactly what these last generation games are to us. They are remembering the good experiences you had with the game, not trying to sell you a slightly different experience for the full price of a retail game.
That’s just our take on it, I’m sure you guys have your own taste. Would you prefer to shell out for a remastered game, or put up with the older graphics and resolution in favour of a wider library of games? Let us your thoughts in the comments below.