The Age of Remakes
Gaming has certainly grown in the past few years with more and more people getting into the hobby. This means that there are more games than ever being released on a weekly basis. This means that at any moment we could have a new smash hit pop up like we did with Bioshock or Mass Effect. The only problem that may slow this down, in fact, is the fact that the major companies seem to be more interested in putting out Hd Ports or Remake of older titles. This goes both ways you have good remakes, and then you have things such as Skyrim VR that literally make little to no sense. Today, we are going to take a look at the business of remakes and why there are so many of these things coming out.
So, what’s the deal with so many remakes coming out when we have all this new hardware to put new IPs on? Well, gaming is rather new in popularity all things considered and companies are enjoying the huge profits they started to pull in with the last gen. This has made companies want to follow the safe route instead of taking risks. This has spawned somewhat of a stunt in the growth of the game industry as we are seeing more and more ports/remakes be released in the place of what could be newer titles.
These companies often want to play off of the nostalgia factor. Remember, that time when you and your high school best friend stayed up all night with Borderlands? That’s what they want to cash in on. Many gamers have positive memories when it comes to the last generation of consoles. This is because it was one of the first times you and your buddies could all team up together for late night matches on the weekends. A lot of people spent a lot of time socially on these platforms creating memories together. This gives people emotional attachments to these games and a feeling of nostalgia to them.
By figuring out that a lot of gamers now have personal and emotional connections to their products. Companies can begin picking out the most influential games from last gen. These are the games that most gamers were playing with their friends and most likely have fond memories of. By doing this the games even in a way sell themselves to the consumers who played them before. On the flip side you also have the gamers who always heard about it, but never got the chance to play it. This is a market that is also easy to tap into due to the fact that these gamers friends will pressure them to “finally check the game out.”
There are of course two sides to each argument. There are games that I gladly welcome as remakes and some that simply make little to no sense. Every argument has its positive and negatives, but with remakes, the type of game that is remade greatly affects the category it is put in. To figure out if a remake is needed we will look at age, accessibility, and popularity to determine just how pointless the game may be. In terms of games that are retellings, it all depends on who does the game and why they are rebooting the series.
Not Much of a Remake
A huge problem I find with a lot of the newer remakes is that they are sometimes completely pointless. The 360 and PS3 generation of games are still widely available and cheap to buy. The Xbox One even features the ability for backward compatibility. If that’s not enough you can still buy content in the marketplace for these consoles meaning all of the last gen games you want to play are readily available for download and purchase.
I understand that a lot of people want to replay games like Bioshock or Skyrim, but paying for a remake may not be the way to go. While this could help fund the company to make new projects the studios who are mostly putting out these ports are triple-A studios. These games also all have their own merchandise lines they could pull money in from or you know the fact that they are still selling on the last gen stores. In a way, I can’t see much of a point in the games having $60 price tags either. Some of them may come with 3 games in one, but those three games also can be found at most yard sales for $2.50 a pop. Not to mention the system to play them on right beside them for a little over $50.
Ok, so maybe it comes with all the DLC, but there were still complete versions of most of these games that you can find for relatively cheap. I talked about this in my trade value articles, games loose price over time and most of these companies more than made their money with the merchandise and popularity off of them when they first launched.
On the other hand, I do let this slide when it comes to harder to find games being re-released with updates. I think one of the best examples of this is the upcoming .hack game. This game series was niche, hard to find, and sells for over $150 at retro game shops and online. Not only did they want to port it, but they put in an additional fourth part, added a lot of features, and made it only $50 instead of a full retail price. On top of that, it’s from a generation that is actually not readily available anymore meaning newer gamers can’t get their hands on it easily.
I feel that Nintendo also does a decent job with knowing what to re-release. They tend to port games like Windwaker that are from older consoles to new ones. They mainly stick to the Zelda series for their HD remakes and other than Twilight Princess have stayed pretty faithful to only touching games that wouldn’t currently play on their hardware. They also generally will put most of these games on sale or eventually make them Nintendo selects that you can pick up for $20 new.
Let’s Talk About Actual Remakes
What do I consider an actual remake? An actual remake is a game that has been remade from the ground up. These game are made true to the original while being changed to time, generally, these will even include additional content and areas that could not have been put in due to the time of the initial game’s release. These games are generally sold for market value but have the production profit and time behind them to make the price valid. While they also have a lot more to go off of then new IPs they still take a lot of time and editing to make them modernized.
The best examples of these are some of the Pokemon games. With games like Leaf Green and Fire Red, we see the first Pokemon games re-built for the Gameboy Advance. These games feature re-done graphics, more stylized trainers, and the addition of updated battles features. On top of that new areas and dialogue were added to deepen the region. While keeping true to the original locations of the Pokemon, the post-game gives you access to additional islands where you can catch the newer generations as well.
These games worked great and sold great. They even included features to help trainers get ahold of Pokemon and trade with the newest generation. This mark has continued on as Nintendo remade Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby. The games stay true to the source material while completely modernizing the mechanics of the games. You also see the Dragon Quest series do an amazing job at this with their remake of older Dragon Quest games.
Why E-shops Work
One of the best ways to re-release a game is to put it on the e-shops. By putting up the original game for discounted prices like 9.99 for a PlayStation 1 title it creates a fair market. This way the product is available to anyone who would like to play it again for a small price. This way the game will sell more copies and the company will still make some profit. This all makes the games easy to access for the consumer and to upload on the company side. On top of that, they won’t have to worry about advertising in as many places or making discs which will save a lot of money in the long run.
Of course, I see nothing wrong with making collectors or select physical editions of games as well. This can be made easily has a pre-order only or limited print scenario where hardcore fans of the series can pay a little more for some cool collectibles and a physical edition of the game. Kind of like what the site Limited Run games does with the titles they decide to put out. There’s nothing wrong with physical editions or HD remakes as long as they are priced fairly and not at the price of a full sized game.