Viewpoint: Remakes vs. Re-masters – which is more desirable to gamers?

Releasing previous titles seems to be something that is less common these days, but there is still a case to be made for bringing old titles back to life using new technology. When it comes to this, there are two routes to go down; re-master the old game or remake it entirely from the ground up. Both of which have their pros and cons, but which truly represents the series and brings the heritage of it back to life?

Generally speaking re-mastered titles have been given a bad rap when they have launched, predominantly in the last generation of consoles when PS2/Xbox games were brought to PS3 and Xbox 360. Take for example when the Splinter Cell titles were re-released on PS3; not much effort was put into these to make use of the new hardware or do the series much justice. Of course, there are exceptions where an old title can bring countless more hours worth of entertainment to new consoles, much like the Kingdom Hearts re-releases where bugs were ironed out and the graphics were given a new lease of life.

But there’s potentially an argument there in itself when it comes to a re-master; how far should they go to re-master the game and how much of the original should they keep in? Nostalgia is a funny thing and playing a poorly produced re-release, or one that doesn’t stay true to the original, can ruin the memories and attachment to a series for some gamers. We can all remember one bug or another from a previous game (before mandatory/automatic updates were a thing) which will forever stick in our brains, so if we remove these are we ruining the originality of the game?


It’s a tricky decision to make as this will probably split gamers right down the middle in terms of what they do and don’t want from re-mastered games. Personally I’d like the game to retain some of its originality, not completely overhauling the graphics, but to at least eradicate the bugs so it runs perfectly when it may not have done first time around.

With that in mind though, would they not be best simply recreating the game from the ground up and using the old game as inspiration to update the game to current standards? One key example of this is the upcoming, and still quite secretive, remake of Final Fantasy 7. Not much is known about this game yet, but we do know that it will be overhauled and updated to modernise/bring it in more in-line with more recent Final Fantasy games. One of the main updates would be that the battles will now be more dynamic and open, rather than the traditional turn-based system used in the original.

If you asked me, I’d be more than happy to see this given a new lease of life using modern technology but keeping the fundamentals of the original. I’d want the turn-based combat to remain, yet more cinematics and the characters brought to life with voice acting, which they didn’t have previously. If you remake the game, you’re taking the game away from its roots in my eyes, and I would rather leave it as it was than potentially play this remake and it ruin my memories and feelings towards the original.

Yet there will be people who will welcome this with open arms and will love to see the game re-imagined and worked on by a new team with some fresh ideas that can make the game feel like it is brand new. So the question is: who do you please? Do you please the people who would like the roots of the game to be kept? Or do you aim the game at those who would like the game to be re-made from the ground up?

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Somewhere along the line it will all boil down to costings and which developers can be trusted to work on a beloved series or franchise as not to tarnish its reputation. It would also depend on its success, as the developers would not want to spend huge amounts of money on something that may flop, so should they spend money on re-masters or remakes at all?

When we are on the eve of having the most powerful home console delivered to us in Project Scorpio, and PS4 Pro already pushing 4K gaming, should we be focusing on bringing new content to the forefront? This time and money could be used better elsewhere in bringing us new IP’s, new experiences and ensuring the future of console gaming is secure. When all is said and done, don’t we have enough to play without bringing games back from the past?

That itself is a debate in itself for a different day, but I for one would like to think that we are moving on from the remake/re-master trend and begin to focus our attention on the future. Let’s celebrate what we have to come, not what we had, and embrace the new experiences that are yet to come.

What do you think?

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