HD Remakes, Remasters, and Rereleases

It has lately become a trend for video game developers to rerelease the more successful titles they have developed. These “HD remakes,” most commonly PS2 games being upgraded to PS3 titles, bring some things into question. For one, we have to consider whether these titles are worth buying for the sheer reason that they have updated visuals and not necessarily improved gameplay. Additionally, we have to assume that the way a story is presented in a remake is somehow more enthralling than that of the original, without actually changing the game’s original literature. But do these remakes actually achieve this, and, if they do not, then why are we buying them?

Capcom has recently alluded to the release of a tenth anniversary edition of Devil May Cry, which will include the first three titles in the series and, of course, have updated visuals. Square Enix has announced that Final Fantasy X, the first fully 3D title in the Final Fantasy series, will also be rereleased with updated graphics and a few changes to the game, perhaps most namely of which is the option to skip blitzball (a mini-game that many players loathed). Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, developed by Team Ico, were recently released in an HD bundle pack to which I can attest have vastly improved visuals. Bungie’s Halo: Combat Evolved is in the works for a rerelease and it appears that many gamers are as excited for the remake as they are for Halo 4 (which isn’t to say that people are really that excited).

With these games in mind and the several other titles that have either already been rereleased or will be soon, the video game industry seems to be appealing directly to gamers’ aesthetics. Either original games are good enough, classics even, that they do not have to be updated with graphics or gamers love certain titles so much that they are willing to pay for the game a second time simply for a cleaner look. In my opinion, it is a little of both. Certain titles could really use a polish (Devil May Cry) but certain others (Halo: Combat Evolved) either seem too recent or even too new to be remastered. If I really feel like playing Halo, I would either play O.D.S.T. or Reach. Combat Evolved plays just fine on my XBOX 360, and, although the remake will feature updated multiplayer maps, which is what really makes Halo Halo, it is not enough to convince me to repurchase the game.

Amidst all the rereleases is the absence of titles which are much older. For instance, fans of the Final Fantasy series have long requested that Square Enix rerelease either Chrono Trigger (which did get a slight upgrade when it was ported to the PSN) or Final Fantasy VII, especially in the wake of the tech demo of VII that was shown at E3 in 2005. However, since Square rarely listens to their paying fan base, this is doubtful.

All in all, these rereleases are mostly ploys to capitalize on titles which have already been established as good games and they seem to be acting as filler between the time developers release new IPs. Even so, a new sheen put on a game means more attention for the developer which is only positive for the industry. In any case, I can not wait for the Final Fantasy X remake.

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