Thoughts On Remakes & Remasters

Not all remakes and remasters are created equally. The Crash Bandicoot trilogy remake is an example of a great remake of three classic PS1 games. The same can be said about the Spyro trilogy remakes. Metroid Prime Remastered which came out earlier this year as a show drop on the Nintendo Switch is a great example of a remaster. Pikmin 1 & 2 HD are not so great. These two GameCube games got the bare minimum treatment when ported over to the Switch just a couple of weeks ago. 

There is however, one remaster of a trilogy that’s been getting pretty decisive opinions on how good or bad it is. I am talking about the GTA trilogy that was remastered and released on all current and last generation consoles. The games in question are GTA 4, Vice City and San Andreas which were originally released on the PS2. 

Right from the first announcement trailer, this remaster received a lot of concerns over the visual overhaul and fears about the radio music. Well, upon release these weren’t the biggest problems the trilogy had. From the very first day, there was huge bugs and crash issues across all consoles, though the Switch suffered from it the most. Despite months of patches, there are still problems with the three games, but it does seem we may not be getting any more patches which means whatever state they are now in, is likely to be the way they’ll always be. 

After seeing the latest trailer for Flashback 2, I suddenly remembered that there was a remake of the first game on the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. I say it’s a remake, it’s really more a reimagined remake rather than say a Crash Bandicoot type remake. It was developed by Paul Cuisset through his own company and published by Ubisoft. However, it felt and looked incredibly cheap and really was all around bad. 

Not every game that gets the remake treatment is necessarily from the PS2 era and older. The Last of Us launched at the end of the PS3 lifecycle and was then remastered for the PS4 and so is easily available on the PS5 to play. However, despite only being ten years old, The Last of Us received a full blown remake for the current generation. And now rumours are floating around that Ubisoft are remaking Assassin’s Creed Black Flag which is also only ten years old. In a franchise with so many historical time periods and events available to them for future instalments, remaking a decade old game seems bizarre. It is probably the biggest franchise in terms of sales that Ubisoft currently has, so a remake isn’t really required from a sale’s perspective. Rumours around Ubisoft are more often real than made up. They are probably the biggest publisher when it comes to leaks. 

Another rumour doing the rounds and has been for quite a long time is that Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 are getting current generation versions. Both games would apparently be remastered which is difficult to deduce what exactly that means for the first game. The immediate assumption is that it’ll be treated the same way the GTA trilogy got so called remastered. If that’s the case, history tells us it’ll be dreadful and require a large number of patches. As for the second game, it was always expected to happen given the fondness Rockstar has for releasing updated versions of GTA V for each console generation. It’s just surprising it’s taken so long. 

There’s no doubt about the idea behind remaking and remastering games. It’s all about cashing in on nostalgia from those wanting to relive experiences while attracting new audiences. Remakes aren’t necessarily cheap but they are usually a safer bet than an original game. However this requires putting in the effort which some seemingly don’t have. We are in an age where it becomes more difficult to find new avenues to generate an ever increasing amount of profit each year, which results in the many companies in jumping in any and every bandwagon imaginable in the hopes it’ll be the next big money pot. Remasters and remakes certainly aren’t a new bandwagon, but they do allow for these very publishers to potentially generate lots and lots of sales which means lots of easy profits.

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