www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

I'm A Little Tired of HD Remakes

Lately the game industry has been deluged with a nonstop stream of remakes. It seems that game developers are rather fond of redoing their old titles in high definition and some small improvements.

Classic last-gen titles like Sly Cooper, Shadow of the Colossus/Ico, and Halo 1 have all received their moment in the sun (again) with a shiny new coat of high definition graphics. These remakes have generally sold well to a generally positive audience. Gamers welcome the chance to play classics from years past with modern graphics.

Yet for all this enthusiasm, I for one am a tad leery of the remake train. Is it cool to be able to play some of my favorite childhood games in HD? Yes, definitely. I have so many fond memories of Halo 1's co-op campaign. Paying a little to experience it again seems great.

Yet even with my enthusiasm for replaying the classics, there remains a nagging worry that cannot be dismissed. What if HD remakes are hurting the game industry?

Look at the very inherent concept of a remake. Publishers take an old, outdated game that probably isn't selling much and translate that game onto a new console. Remakes tend to offer vastly improved high definition graphics or alternate controls while keeping the core experience unchanged. Although there is a new veneer on it, you are still playing the same game.

That's what bugs me, really. Viewed in a cynical light, HD remakes are game publishers releasing a game that's already sold millions of copies onto a new console so it can sell millions more. Even better for the publisher, a remake is a totally safe investment as the game has already proven that it can sell. The rest is a matter of engineering: rebuilding the graphics system around the same game. Everything else stays the same.

Doesn't that sound sort of sleazy? In essence, game developers are making money on our fond memories. Some of you may be content to hand over those dollar bills in order to get that blast of nostalgia, but there are some cases where remakes are visibly hurting the industry.

Look at Square Enix. Back in the '90s they published Chrono Trigger, an absolutely phenomenal game that is still considered one of the best RPGs ever made. Fans loved it. Unfortunately, the series fell victim to Firefly-it is and was cancelled after only one sequel. That sucks. I'm not saying there should be a new Chrono game every year like Call of Duty, but some new content would have been nice. But what does that have to do with remakes?

If there's one thing Square Enix is very good at, it's rem-releasing old games. Over the course of the last fifteen years after the original release of Chrono Trigger on the SNES, it has been remade for PSone, Nintendo DS, Wii Virtual Console, PSN, iPhone and Android. There have been more remakes of Chrono Trigger than actual entries in the series.

That's ridiculous. There's plenty of demand for a sequel, too. The fans want one so bad that some tech-savvy fans tried to program their own. Square Enix shut them down.

That is a case where the endless train of remakes is actively interfering with the chance of a sequel. Much as I like Chrono Trigger for the second time on my iPod Touch, I'd like a sequel even more. Seriously, it would be great if Square Enix could stop the remakes for five seconds and focus on making new content.

What I'm afraid of is that Square Enix's infuriating behavior will become the industry standard. Imagine if Valve announced an HD remake of Half-Life 2. Their fans would be furious because they don't want a remake. They want Half-Life 3. New content always, always trumps old stuff re-released with spruced up graphics.

Whatever. In the meantime, I'll pay for every Chrono Trigger remake that comes out just to show Square Enix that there is still money in that franchise. For the love of Thor, make a sequel. Please.

What do you think? Are HD remakes good for the industry?

comments
    1 2 Next