If the latest generation of consoles has had a consistent theme, it’s the wealth of remastered games. I’m not against this practice by any means. I just think that the wrong games are getting the treatment. Is it really necessary to re-release a game that was only a few years old in the first place? Are there not better choices to get the remaster treatment?
Remastered Games – A Question of Cost
I can see the appeal from a developer’s point of view in re-releasing a game with a few tweaks here and there and calling it a definitive edition. The hard work for the most part has already been done.
We saw a huge surge of this practice at the release of the Xbox One and PS4. It seems to have gained momentum and continued through the three years since. It’s all about easy money. A new texture here, a higher frame rate there and sell the same game as if it were new for the price of a full release.
In my opinion, the worst offenders are games like Mario Kart 8. I caved and bought a Nintendo Switch this weekend, which I’ll discuss more in a future post. I fully intend to buy the new Switch port of Mario Kart 8 when it releases, but then I never owned a Wii-U. For me the whole game will be fresh.
The “deluxe” edition for Switch has a few nice upgrades and a new mode. But is it worth a full retail price tag? Perhaps for those of us who haven’t owned a Nintendo console for a while, the answer is yes. What about the Nintendo faithful who supported the Wii-U though?
Here in lies one of my biggest bug bears. If one of those fans picks up a Switch and a copy of Mario Kart 8, would it not be fair to offer some sort of trade in program for their Wii-U copy? The same could be said for other games on other platforms.
I’d feel more comfortable if developers would allow people who already own an older edition to upgrade. Bethesda did this with the Skyrim Special Edition for purchasers who already owned the game on Steam.
Remastered Games – Better Choices
I also take issue with the selections developers make for remastered games. Why are we seeing so many games from the last gen re-released so soon? There is an argument that the target market is not those who have previously bought the game.
Even so, I’d like to see games from older platforms getting the remaster treatment rather than so many recent releases. There are gems like Knights of the Old Republic (which featured in my list of top games) and it’s sequel that would make fantastic candidates for such projects.
They are not so old that masses of work would be required. They both have x86 PC versions that are prime for conversion to current consoles. Most importantly however, they are both old enough that a ground up polish for a new age would produce a significant upgrade. One worthy of another purchase.
It saddens me that because of changes in rights owners and such, this is unlikely to ever happen. The point still stands. There’s a vast landscape of masterpieces in gaming history that would benefit immensely from some attention. Some that were too ambitious for their time, that could thrive with the performance profiles of modern consoles and PCs.
Remastered Games – It’s not all Bad
I admit there are several occasions where I’ve bitten the bullet and bought the remaster. For example, enough time had passed since I played Gears of War that the Ultimate Edition on Xbox One found its way onto my shelf.
There are plenty of publishers out there doing right by there customers and offering discounts or even free upgrades too. Skyrim was mentioned above, the Bioshock Collection is another recent example of this.
I just wish they’d come up with a way to offer these benefits to console gamers. At the moment only PC purchases ever seem to see such perks.
How do you feel about the number of remastered games this generation?