Monday, June 20, 2016

What's the Deal with "Remastered" Games?

Instead of making you wait until the end of the article to answer the question, I'm going to put it all out there.

The trend of remastered games coincides with Hollywood to remake past successes into new franchises. While it's not cheap, for many studio execs they see it as a guaranteed profit in a world where digital and on-demand viewing is taking up the landscape. How many of us go to the movies these days more then 2-3 times a year? Probably not a lot. Not when we have so much at our fingertips with computers, cell phones, and gaming consoles that we can have movie night in the comfort of our home at a fraction of the cost.

The growing market for home entertainment is putting Hollywood in a rut, so the movies they produce need to be sure-fire money makers. Unfortunately that means rehashing old content because of past and current trends from the movie-going public that reinforces the notion that taking something old and making it new will sell tickets. Original ideas have been relegated back to art houses. And that sucks.

Video games have been steadily doing the same thing. Think about the top releases over the past 2 years and your mind is probably honing in on Grand Theft Auto V, Final Fantasy X-X-2 Remastered, God of War III Remastered, and the like. Games that looked great on their original consoles of choice (PS2, PS3, and XBox 360) but have made the jump to the current-gen to sell more copies that are guaranteed sales. Why? Because even gamers are as predictable as movie-goers and willing to spend money on pre-existing franchises.

And that sucks.

Cultured Vultures has a good opinion piece about the subject matter, asking developers to stop releasing remastered editions of games. Particularly the ones that appeared at the tail-end of the PS3, XBox 360 days and are barely 3-5 years old. Games like Crash Bandicoot, which are being updated to revitalize the franchise that has been dead for a decade is one thing, they argue. Putting GTA5 on the PS4 when it was just as amazing on the PS3 is another matter; in that there was no reason for it to happen. You can argue that it's for better studio interfacing with updates, but the PS3 and XBox 360 versions seem to do well with patches and upgrades.

Ultimately, and I know I keep repeating myself here, it's up to you as the consumer to decide where you want to spend your money. If you like remastered games, then you're going to buy them regardless of what gaming critics may say. If you don't like them, then stop buying them. It's really as simple as that. Game developers will stop releasing remastered games if people are not buying them. Instead, they'll pool their resources and make new games. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the same ol' content. It's stale. It's boring. Remastered games are not helping the landscape, only further conforming to the Hollywood business model instead of providing the innovation we so desperately crave.

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