Game remastering, safe way out?

The world of video games. Like most technologies, this field is constantly being pushed further and further forward as time goes on. Seems like theres always a new console to get, or a new flagship action packed shoot ’em up sandbox to buy and play for countless hours on your PS4 or Xbox One. The quality of these top end games that are coming out are unquestionably amazing. Super immersive games that you can completely lose yourself in for hours on end. Graphics that are ultra realistic. Still though, remembering back on the games that started it all for a lot of us, the nostalgia factor kicks in when reminiscing on games like this. And somehow, in my memory at least, they almost seemed.. More fun.

Playstation 1, my first console, my first love. When I reminisce on my time with this console, I think of Crash bandicoot, Spyro, Tarzan and so many other games, I remember them as being the absolute pinnacle of gaming.80

This clearly isn’t true currently, but at the time it was, and that’s how I remember it. I know that nostalgia has a way of making you remember things as being better than they actually may be. Memory is linked strongly to our emotions after all. The main goal of memory being to record personal events in order to be able to reproduce or avoid specific situations. If a situation brings you joy, excitement or fun, even for a short amount of time, the memory can be linked to that emotion. “We tend to remember things better than they were because good emotions are stronger anchor in our memory. Bad emotions can be as strong but we have a safety mechanism allowing us to forget (losing someone, bad injuries, broken heart…). Those bad memories are still there but the feeling is like fading away.” People remember things as more positive than negative.

“Nearly 80 remastered/ported games have been released for PS4 or Xbox One (or both) since November 2013, representing about 15% of all titles released at retail for those consoles.” James Brightman 7th August 2017

This is a detailed video which explores the fact that nostalgia portraying games as better than they actually were in peoples mind may be ruining games. (interesting but questionable)

When taking this into account about how we recall past events and activities, it is probably safe to say that a lot of people, remember games as being significantly better than it really is.

It is quite obvious that if you pulled out your PS1 from the depths of the cupboard, blew the dust off and booted up Crash Team Racing, you’re not going to be impressed by the game quality in any sense. Technology has come too far, your senses are finely tuned to a minimum of 1080p and high quality sound design. This, the fact that old games are TOO old compared to today’s tech, combined with the fact that EVERYONE experiences nostalgia towards positive and memorable experiences, is the exact scenario that results in remasters and remakes. “As technology continues to evolve, I believe remasters and ports will only become more prevalent for the short to mid-term” Mat Piscatella.

I for one, am a big fan of this most of the time, thinking back on the breakthrough titles I loved, playing them now would be frustrating and hard, but it’s a chance for the developers to make the game as good as you remember it, or maybe even better. Most of the time. Sometimes consumer’s nostalgia can be a point of exploitation for developers to mooch off of by making a cheap remake that doesn’t satisfy at all. “From rock bands doing farewell tours (Black Sabbath, Grateful Dead), to reboots of canceled shows (Twin PeaksThe X-FilesGilmore Girls), nostalgia is a powerful and lucrative tool in pop culture.”

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This genre of remakes and remasters is a huge portion of the gaming industry now, and it seems like a safe way out for developers to be ‘lazy’ for lack of a better word. Not only does it become a safe bet due to a fan base already being established and ready to go, development costs are crushed in comparison to creating a brand new game. Artworks, sounds, character design, dialogue, it’s all either done or only needs updating or modification. This could be slowing down innovation towards new unheard of titles in the future. This is a list of some of the remakes and remastered games from just 2018:

  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Catherine: Full Body
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  • Mario
  • The World Ends With You -Final Remix-
  • Street Fighter: 30th Anniversary Collection
  • Dark Souls: Remastered
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
  • Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe:
  • Mario
  • Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology
  • System Shock
  • Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered
  • Bayonetta 1+2
  • Crash Bandicoot ‘N’sane Trilogy
  • Mario

There is still many more for just that year, but these are ones I found and could think of. I feel like this might apply to companies taking the safe way out with making sequel after sequel to titles they know have cult followings and they know will sell regardless of if they keep up their standard, *cough* Far Cry, Just Cause, Fallout, Gears, Cod etc. *cough* “The recent launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops III brought in $550 million over three days, which sounds impressive until you compare it to the first Black Ops game, which in 2010 took $500 million in sales in just 24 hours. Not coincidentally, reviews of Black Ops III were mostly positive but critiqued the game for merely maintaining the long-running franchise’s status quo instead of providing any innovation.” however I’m opening up to a whole other argument there.

I enjoy these games when they are made, don’t get me wrong, games that I loved being made great again is awesome, but the sheer amount that are being made has to have some sort of affect on how much new material is being made for consumers.

I am going to be diving deeper into this topic on this blog, including looking into some games that I have played as first releases and remakes, possibly some Crash games, possibly some Call of Duty games. I will also be looking into how nostalgia is helping to shape the gaming industry.

 

Sources:

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2017-08-07-video-game-remastering-is-a-win-win-for-publishers

https://www.thegurureview.net/tag/directx-10

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/11/nostalgia-video-games/416751/

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