In 2023, we still can’t decide what the remake will be
Are you excited for any of the dozens of remakes, remakes, and reimaginings of the popular video game coming out in 2023? Maybe you are a hardcore Dead space Whether you’re a fan enjoying the remake’s eye-popping action, or you’re a Resident Evil fan hungry to see how Capcom improves on one of the series’ best entries with RE4.
But while it’s great to see an old favorite brought back to life for a new generation of players, the game industry’s obsession with resurgence has led to a large degree of confusion over the definition. . Some of us probably know exactly what we’re talking about when it comes to remakes, remakes, and remakes, but it’s fair to say not everyone has the same opinion. Thanks to the steady evolution of technology – and the bloat of video game budgets at the highest levels – these once simple terms have “evolved” to the point where no one knows what they mean anymore. .
It’s important to note that these terms are not derived from video games–they are loanwords created by artists in other mediums. The term “remake” first appeared in the early movie industry, where studios would frequently return to a similar scenario with up-to-date technology for an easy payday. Some directors have even remade their own films, from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much to Yasujiro Ozu’s Floating Weeds. Similarly, “remaster” comes from the world of recorded music, where sound engineers use EQ tools that impact loudness and compression to create a different old record sound than before.
The concept of video game remakes is older than you might expect. Porting and converting arcade games to home hardware can be seen as a kind of prototype remake. Sierra remade the original 1986 Space Quest just five years later in 1991, using an improved game engine to achieve significant technical improvements, such as support for 256 colors. As the era of floppy disks gave way to CD-ROMs, games would be remade and re-released to take advantage of the same technological advancements, with remixed music, improved graphics, etc.
Over the years, two static definitions for these terms have emerged: a remake is a version of a game that improves upon or reworks its existing contents to a degree that is most faithful to the original product. . The remake is a new version that builds on the framework of the old version, but updated for modern standards or tastes. Finally, the remake respects the limitations; redo try to fix them. However, that boundary is not always as clear as we would like.
Consider The Last of Us Part 1, one of the few games to receive both a “remake” and a “remake” in the nearly decade since its initial release. While the 2014 remake was basically just a fresh paint job for an already beautiful game, this year’s remake completely overhauled its visuals, from the character models to the lighting. . However, despite the addition of new features such as major accessibility options, improved melee combat, and more advanced AI, the final overall package is still constrained by modern boundaries of what could be a “remake”.
This tension becomes more apparent when you compare museum productions like The Last Of Us Part 1 with older games that need a little extra help connecting with modern audiences. 2019’s Resident Evil 2 is by far one of the most critically acclaimed remakes of recent years, but its fast-paced and over-the-shoulder camera has too little in common with the classic gameplay. classic survival freak of the PS1 original so it’s hard to even know where to start. All you have to do is check out the tank controls and fixed angles of the equally beloved Resident Evil 1 remake to see what a more realistic RE2 project might look like.
On the other hand, developers can run the risk of being too loyal to these classic games. For example, Bluepoint’s remake of Demon’s Souls has received critical acclaim for its beautiful environment, but some players accustomed to the more fluid combat systems of later Souls games found the original a bit off. too stiff for comfort. And even as critics praised the remake’s aesthetic, some felt that the enemy redesign went too far from the original. When you play with nostalgia, it seems like you can’t please everyone.
Then there’s Dead Space, the most baffling of all: a remake of a beloved game that also serves as a de facto revival of a franchise that’s been dormant for over a decade. These terms have become so confused before the game is released in 2023 it’s probably best to avoid it altogether. However, you can assume that’s the risk you take when you decide to reboot a popular series with a remake. (See what I mean?) Given the game’s success, it’s fair to say most consumers have avoided confusion.
Personally, I think the root of all this confusion comes from the uncertainty of the very term “remake”. The vague boundaries drawn by the word are simply too broad, ranging from the careful restoration of Bluepoint to the demolition of Capcom’s foundation. Applying more specific terms can help us understand exactly what we get when we buy a game. When developer Myst Cyan recently announced a “modern remake” of the classic Riven, what exactly does that mean for people who’ve played the original? We are expected to wait and see.
Perhaps faithful remakes could be called “rebuilds” or perhaps “restores”. In my view, I feel that more of the more ambitious remakes out there should be called “remakes” in retrospect. After you add new mechanics, make non-intuitive changes to the level design, or completely rewrite the gameplay, do you actually remake the game? Or are you creating a completely new version of it? Existing terms like “re-imagining” communicate that intent.
As long as the nostalgia continues to sell well, there will continue to be countless remakes on the shelves of Steam and other digital stores–some games that weren’t great in the first place. And while not everything is worth your money and time, applying more specific terms–whatever they end up being–will ultimately help players navigate the pile of games. get used to it much faster.
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