Video Game Remakes: New Idea, or Flogged Dead Horse?

By Stewart Riley - Reporter

Within the current gaming generation we are seeing more and game remakes being made and released into the market. Just a few days ago we saw the release of the new Ratchet and Clank game – a remake of the original 2002 title. This is just one of many remakes and re-releases that have entered into the market in recent years. So the question must be asked: is it too much?

The answer to that question really boils down to what you think of remakes in general. But using the term remakes to describe every game ever released on one platform and then after some time being released on another is in itself a misnomer. To me there are three distinct categories, with the first being remakes. Games in this category take a pre-existing game and then either update it or transform it using the original as baseline. Games like the new Ratchet and Clank game (which is rather magnificent by the way) fall into this category as do Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and titles like Persona 4 Golden.

The second category is re-releases/remasters. Games in this category tend to be older games from the PS2 or older era remastered for modern hardware and making it playable at HD resolution. There are two types have very different styles. There’s the HD re-release which is just the original game at the same quality as it was when it first appeared and just have the display resolution go through upscaling (a process which converts the original 480p output into 1080p resolution) and updated controls to make use of the new hardware and perform in a less clunky way. This includes games such as the Jak and Daxter HD or the Metal Gear Solid HD collection. The other style is the remastering method where the original content is built upon and improved to create a new but familiar experience but not to the extent of a transformative remake. A great example of this would be the Final Fantasy X HD remaster, a game in which the texture resolution is increased and the display output changes from 480 to 1080 from the original PS2 version. Also the musical score was rerecorded and improved and added into the game.

The third category is ports. This is where a game is altered to work on a platform different from its original. These tend to vary wildly in quality from some truly excellent ports like the splendid port of Fable: The Lost Chapters from the original Xbox to the PC, it added a whole host of new features and fixed a lot of the glitches with the original. But then there are awful ports such as Crysis 3 for the 360. Whilst graphically impressive, the performance was awful.

With this in mind should we move away from remakes? If we insist upon remaking older games are we becoming trapped in a cycle of iteration where older titles hamper originality in new titles? No. Through bringing some of these older titles to the newer hardware there is a great opportunity for innovative leaps and bounds to be made through the rejuvenation of old techniques. I myself would love to see Dark Cloud get remade it’s my favourite game ever but it was a launch title on the PS2 and as such is a fair bit dated.

I for one am excited for the future of gaming and the excellent titles that we will see remade in the future.

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