It’s no secret that the gaming industry is a dynamic and ever-changing climate. Every day I find new reasons to be excited by the gaming scene, from the exciting ways that we play games and share those experiences with people, to of course, the new and innovative games being released and announced.
What’s more is that it is relatively new, at least in the grand scheme of things. One of the recent concerns I have noticed is the abundance of remakes, remasters and revisions being put out nowadays. Certainly I can see the argument from both sides, but hopefully in this semi-long post I’ll be able to give my idea on this subject.
The first thing is that, and this maybe goes without saying, remasters provide the new generation of gamers to experience those high points of the previous. As I mentioned earlier, gaming is constantly evolving. I really came into my own as a gamer during the era when Call of Duty Modern Warfare was still modern and when we only had around 3 generations of Pokémon game. I completely missed out on classics such as Ocarina of Time, Halo: Combat Evolved, and the first Crash Bandicoot, and thanks to remasters have been able to experience them in all their glory. Without said remasters I might have completely missed out a roster of amazing games.
This is not to say that I rely on modern graphics to enjoy a game. On the contrary, in the last few years I have gained a huge appreciation for older games, and for nothing more than the gameplay. The gameplay is the be all, end all when it comes to playing games for me. If it isn’t fun to play, even the best graphics couldn’t save it if I’m the player. Even for games I have played in the past, being able to play through them again is a joy.
Of course, remakes don’t always aim to recreate the same experience, sometimes developers return to older titles and try to improve upon them. Look no further than the most recent Doom game, or the remastered Final Fantasy 7 coming soon. Doom did a very good job at taking a franchise that hadn’t seen a great game in a while, keeping true to overall feel of fast-paced, gory, demon killing FPS action, while giving it the polish and smoothness of modern gaming. Final Fantasy 7, while keeping the title and plot of the original, looks to introduce a new battle style similar to the Dissidia Final Fantasy games, and less turn based. It is still reasonably early in development however, so these are just impressions so far, but it’s clear Square Enix isn’t looking to simply remake FFVII with a fresh coat of paint.
So it’s clear that there are pluses to remasters, between offering the same experience to new players or revising classics in a modern setting, there is a lot to love.
But what about the not-so-great aspects, because they are certainly present as well?
An argument I see pop up a lot is that remasters are just simply cash-grabs. As evidenced by the most recent Crash Bandicoot remaster, it is clear that there is a lot of money to made in that particular part of the industry. If you cater to people’s nostalgia, as well as the new audience of gamers that have arrived since, there is no doubt people will pay to play their favourite games again on newer consoles. Hell, even I am guilty of this.
Although, I don’t necessarily believe that this is such a bad thing. I understand that a lot of classic games can be found online as ROMs, but I also adore being given the option to play great games on modern consoles. This is despite shelling out money to play a game that, in essence, I’ve already spent money on when it first came out. I know what I am getting myself into though, and if I didn’t want to buy it again, I wouldn’t. Again, it’s the option I appreciate. Also going back to my previous argument, remasters offer new gamers to experience beloved games that they might not have touched otherwise.
The second thing that I see come up quite often is that with developers focusing their attention on remasters, there is less room for innovation and creativity. This is another argument I’m not fully convinced by. Maybe it’s just because I buy a new game every month or so, so there always seems to be about 10 new games vying for my attention.
The way I see it, there are a lot of segments of the gaming industry. You have games like Dota, LOL, and GTA which are constantly updated to keep the game consistently fresh. You have games where there is just sequel after sequel after sequel, such as Call of Duty, or Assassins Creed. You have remasters coming out all the time of course. And finally, you have original games. In the first three genres, the base experience isn’t being changed, only shifted slightly to the left every so often. If your base experience is fun and people enjoy it, fleshing it out and keeping it dynamic doesn’t seem like a crime to me.
Personally, I don’t see a problem here. I think we have enough great games, in a diverse range of categories, out at the moment to keep people entertained for a very long time, and this is without the constant influx of original titles that come faster than I can count. I have games on my ‘to play list’ going back 3 years that I haven’t played yet.