Monday, June 6, 2011

In The News/On My Mind: E3 2011 Part 1 (Remade in HD)

While the real E3 conference hasn't started yet, we got a taste of things to come on Thursday with Konami's pre-recorded conference. Highlights: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Zone of Enders HD Collection, Silent Hill HD Collection. I'm sure there were new and exciting stuff that was said (I believe someone mentioned Contra, but nope, didn't see anything), but who cares, we're getting this:

However, as much as I'm excited to play MGS:PW with people online, and revisiting MGS3, I'm somewhat disappointed by this new trend of "HD Remakes", especially coming from Japanese developers and publishers as a whole. Remakes and upgrades of "classic"/"cult" titles is nothing new, especially to this generation, with games like the God of War Collection and The Sly Collection, and the much anticipated Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection, but this new recent batch of announced remakes should make anyone who enjoy games worry about what's going on.

Sure, other companies like Eidos and Ubisoft has done similar HD Remakes (Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia), but with the recently announced Resident Evil 4/Code Veronica remakes, the Monster Hunter 3rd "PSP Remaster", and now with Konami announcing Metal Gear, Zone of Enders and Silent Hill HD Remakes, one has to wonder where original game development is heading. If companies are devoting resources and budget to these remakes, then we're going to see less new/original content. It feels like a short-sighted way of padding your bottom end, which completely sacrificing the long term success. If this is a sign of things to come for the next few days, I truly worry about where games will be heading soon.


  1. I find it interesting today at the Xbox conference they unveiled a Halo remake. It does seem to be a growing pattern in the industry to do this.

    For a gamer like me, who tends be a lot more selective in the games I buy, I actually kind of like this trend, since it gives me an opportunity to pick up games that I may have missed the first time around and have trouble finding. I'm particularly excited about the Ico and Shadow of the Colussus remakes.

    If you think of it from a business stand point, this trend does make a lot of sense for a variety of reasons.

    1. It's obviously a lot cheaper and a lot less time consuming to re-release in HD an older game than to make a brand new game. Any profits they make off the re-release can hopefully help finance new games in the series, or by the studio. Games are getting to be a pricey business and developers are going to need to find ways to keep themselves in the black.

    2. It's advertising for upcoming games in the series. With a few exceptions, most of these re-releases are for games that are seeing a big sequel in the near future. A recent example being the Halo remake being announced along side the announcement of Halo 4. It get's people talking about the games and the series as a whole twice as much. On the flip side, a brand new title in a series also drums up interest in the older titles. A lot of players are going to want to play catch up in anticipation for the upcoming release and an HD remake is a great place to do that.

    3. It combats the "dreaded" used game sales. Remaking these old titles puts new interest in buying new rather than used. Once a title get's old enough to even warrant a remake, it's virtually impossible to find that title new.

    As long as these remakes are helping to fund new games, then I'm all for the trend.

  2. From a business standpoint, I totally agree, but from a creative standpoint, and as a enthusiast that wants to see this medium grow, it is absolutely horrifying to see the amount of remake stuff (oh, and to add to that list: Halo CE and the God of War Origins).

    For every one of these remakes made, and sold, these companies are syphoning money away from new titles and IPs Voting with your dollars for these titles basically is you as a consumer saying, "yes sir, please give me more off the same". All "core games" that were shown yesterday were all sequels, all driven by the "me too" development, which has caused quite a few to ask, where are the original IPs? This is what you get with these remake titles: sure, you get a new game, but it's a new game of the same tired franchise. Modern Warfare sure was interesting back then, but if you repeat it enough times, it's just boring.

    Personally, I am still pretty excited for getting Shadow of the Colossus remake (and having it at a stable framerate will be a plus), but it's the fact that everyone is doing it, for every game under the sun (what's next, a Madden collection?) is what worries me. It's as if the industry has gone so lazy as saying, "sure, we can build a new game off the template, but instead we'll just give you what you liked last year as brand new again". It's taking the hollywood model, and milking it further, and to me, it seems like a surefire way to turn your audience away from your product in the long run.