How Developers May Be Bleeding Games Dry With Remasters

Just because a game is old doesn’t make it no longer good. Sure, some games have aged poorly and may have just been gimmicky for the time. But, there are many classics out there that have stood the test of time. Some new games could be considered something that would live on as a classic because the experience was incredible for so many people. There’s nothing wrong with promoting games that people may have missed.

However, there comes the case of HD ports and remastered games. This seemed to star around five years ago with HD remasters of Playstation 2 games for the Playstation 3. Titles of note include ICO and Shadow of the Colossus collection, the God of War collection, Metal Gear Solid Legacy collection, and so on. Final Fantasy X and X-2 have an HD port to the Playstation 3. It’s when I saw that Final Fantasy X/X-2 are also getting a remaster for the Playstation 4, I felt that it’s maybe going a little too far. This one is going to be a remaster of a remaster for a game two generations ago.

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Final Fantasy X

And it made me think of all the remasters released and yet to be released for the eighth generation. God of War III is getting a Playstation 4 remaster. Devil May Cry 4 is getting a next-gen remaster. The Modern Warfare games are rumored to be getting remasters as well as the Batman Arkham games. When is it enough?

Arguably, it’s not all a cynical cash grab. Some remastered games have had a lot of work done to them and are very justified. Three that come to mind are The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V, and the Metro Redux set. The Last of Us pushed the Playstation 3 to the limit, and a lot of care was taken to make the game break the ceiling and allow it to run as smooth as it can and look as crisp as it could for the Playstation 4. It’s, to me and many others, a game that is considered a must-play and it also comes free bundled when you buy a Playstation 4 anyway. It’s a fitting introduction to the new console.

And, even though I bought Grand Theft Auto V for the Xbox 360 when it was released, I caved and bought it again for the Playstation 4. And, even more so than The Last of Us, GTA V was not a general port. A lot of new features, including the first-person mode, were added along with the game being visually more impressive. It’s such a big name that it is an obvious choice for Rockstar to bring it to the next generation. And, it’s another game that has been bundled with the Playstation 4 (along with a copy of The Last of Us) for a limited time over the 2014 winter holiday.

And, finally, the reason I bring up Metro Redux is because this is a reintroduction of Metro 2033 – released in 2010 – and the more recent Metro Last Light. The Redux edition comes with both games with 2033 remade from the ground up and Last Light with a little bit of a graphical polish because it was a relatively newer game. These two games are noteworthy first-person survival adventures that deserve a bigger spotlight. And two full games for (the now reduced) price of one is a great deal.

metro-redux-original

But when is it too much? When will (or did) they go overboard with all of these releases? What games are worthy of being remastered and what releases are just cash grabs? From personal experience, people buy new consoles for new games and to experience what the best of the current technology has to offer. It would be a shame to see half of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One libraries filled with previous generation games. For the price of collecting newly released remastered games, you could buy an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 and have a whole library of games at a fraction of the price. many classics for the previous generations are on sale shelves at places like Best Buy, EB Games, and Wal Mart for around $20 new.

But, of course, this isn’t really a new concept in gaming. In the 1990s, games were constantly released for multiple later generation consoles. You could see Mortal Kombat II on Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo and then later on the Sega Saturn, for example. Wolfenstein 3D and Doom have had their share of ports across generations, as well. It’s part of getting through to a wider audience, and that’s understandable.

There is another medium that constantly has remastered releases, which is film. And unlike the video game world, which deals with different engines and constantly evolving tech, film has essentially – at its core – been the same since the beginning; pictures on celluloid. So, for home release (from VHS and Beta to modern Blu Ray), the method of showing what was captured on film is getting better and better with much higher resolutions. VHS and television in the era of that format had a resolution of around 480×360, DVD upped the resolution to 720×480, and Blu Ray currently provides a resolution of 1920×1080. The newest televisions are 4K (3840 x 2160) and 4K Blu Rays will start to be released later in 2015. In short, what they do to remaster film, is take what is already there in the original negative and master it to the current standard. So, essentially, the video display technology is catching up to film while video game hardware is constantly moving further from games made in previous generations.

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King Kong (2005)

So, of course remastering notable classic films is a worthy endeavor. You can now watch movies in the comfort of your own home at a high resolution and the intended aspect ratio of the cinematographer and director.

Keeping and collecting old games is a great hobby, and services such as Good Old Games and Playstation classics, for example, give a low-priced option to replay cherished favorites. But saturating the current generation market with so many remasters of games that were available just a generation ago could turn sour and played out.

Graham McCann
Ever since he found his mom's Atari 2600 under the TV when he was about four years old, the rest of his life was connected to gaming. His family got their first computer when he was five years old in 1991 - a 286, which was powerful enough to play Wolfenstein 3D and the Hugo adventure game series. He got a Sega Genesis when he was eight, a Pentium 120 when he was nine, a Nintendo 64 when he turned 10, and a Playstation for Christmas when he was 12. A few years after that, he was able to make money and buy games for himself. So, his collection grew and hasn't stopped. When he was 12, he decided that he wanted to be a video-game journalist because he had a subscription to Gamepro Magazine. He eventually went to journalism school, then television broadcasting school, worked for a few years in the news industry, and now here he is with FGE. Graham looks forward to what the future has to bring and he is dedicated to being a part of this awesome gaming industry.
  • mozes

    the vhs on with king kong is the biggest lie i ever seen.

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