Many people feel a strong sense of nostalgia when it comes to their favourite video games. Whether it’s our favourite characters, the gameplay or the story, we feel an attachment to our beloved series. Does it come as a surprise, therefore, that game developers have recently begun to target customer nostalgia in flooding the market with a wave of HD remasters?
While remasters & remakes offer people who never played these games a chance to experience them with upgraded graphical fidelity, they may also seem like a quick cash grab by the developers. Take for example, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which originally released in 2011 and is one of Bethesda Game Studio’s best-selling games, and is set for the release of a “Special Edition” in the coming months. Remasters such as this are greeted with mixed responses from players. It’s an opportunity for the game to attract new players to the fan base, but what does it offer those existing fans? This is the problem that the gaming industry faces, especially in the newer generation of consoles, as we are greeted with a plethora of higher resolution versions of games which are still fresh in our mind.
Does this point to a lack of originality in the gaming industry, or is it just smart business on the side of the developer? Well, these types of remasters wouldn’t exist if they didn’t sell, and they are a proven way to make some fast money for developers as the work involved is minute in comparison to a completely new story.
Therefore, game remakes are an interesting topic as they are technically a new game, yet they feature the same characters and stories we already know. For example, the recently released Ratchet & Clank reboot for the PS4 was described as a “reimagining” of the original. Production director Shaun McCabe stated that “Ratchet and Clank is a new game that takes elements from the original.” The story elements and world progression are extremely similar to the original, and yet the gameplay was vastly improved due to the advancement of the technology in the fourteen odd years between the original and the remake.
This is the main attraction of remaking a beloved franchise. It allows the developer to bring us a more complete version of the game that they envisioned all those years ago. It is no surprise to see that other companies are now following suit, with other vastly popular series getting the makeover treatment. Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy VII are but two other notable examples of upcoming remakes. The value of these remakes and remasters depends purely upon the individual consumer and so there will always be a market for them, regardless of the criticism.