For Club Trope-icana this week, following the sense of nostalgia I felt over the story of the iconic first level of Spyro the Dragon being remade using the Unreal 4 engine, I decided to not look at a trope in video games, but the video game industry as a whole, which is the world of remasters and remakes. Similar to other forms of media such as music, remastering has been common throughout the gaming industry’s history. Most of the time this has been the transfer of old arcade and retro games like Space Invaders to game consoles and involved encompassing entire series of games into collections. For example the massive, but admittedly buggy Halo: Master Chief Collection, comprised of the games up to Halo 4 and also remastered Halo 2 and its seven multiplayer maps for the Xbox One (although it shamefully was not remade for the PC).
However there was an explosion in the amount of remakes in 2014, primarily because of the move to the brand new PS4 and Xbox One from the current (or rather old) generation consoles. While it can be seen as greediness by companies, it was thankfully not just a repeat of the game on the next console with graphic enhancements. For example, the new-gen versions (and PC version) of Grand Theft Auto V also included the key new feature of a thorough, finely-detailed first person mode alongside significant enhancements such as more traffic and increased draw distance, the latter improvement especially useful when flying around Los Santos.
The game released, depending on its age, should try adding a number of new features as well as further improving on any flaws previously present.
Another successful remaster, The Last Of Us Remastered, included the fantastic story-based DLC Left Behind, a new Photo mode to freely take images within the game while paused and even utilises the Dualshock 4 controller’s trackpad to help navigate the inventory menu. That is not even mentioning a significant increase to 60 frames per second that meets the PC standard and the enriched visuals that ensure the game is even more breathtakingly beautiful.
You may argue that a great number of these changes and features are minor add-ons so that greedy companies can take more of your money. On the other hand, I believe remasters can be an improvement on what are already fantastic games. Grand Theft Auto V on current generation consoles somehow even more vibrant and beautiful than it was on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, in addition to much smoother gameplay. Remasters and remakes aren’t necessarily a bad aspect of the video game industry as long as it is done properly and is not just a game released with a higher resolution. The game released, depending on its age, should try adding a number of new features as well as further improving on any flaws previously present, or being a remastered collection of the best entries in a video game series. The gaming industry should be careful not just to rely on the feelings of nostalgia to sell their games. Remasters should be done out of love of what has been created in the past and thoughtfully restore it for the present, not for greed from the profits that will be inevitably made via a remake. Now if only the entirety of the original Spyro trilogy was given a remaster using the Unreal 4 Engine; Alas, a gamer can dream.