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Recently EA stated that they are more considering of a Mass Effect Collection due to the direction of the market. This all of course is in conversation before we have updated news about Mass Effect Andromeda. The games are regarded by many as some of the best of a generation; a generation that we gamers just left behind for the most part. I found myself questioning whether or not I would be partaking in the purchase of this series. It is one that I myself enjoyed every moment of, it is one that I found myself purchasing the already released trilogy collection for the Xbox 360 despite already owning the games. This idea is also one that I questioned, why is there a concern to release this trilogy when Andromeda is still in development.
If there was one trend that has been prominent for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, it has become a hotbed for developers to deliver old as new. In the beginning, gamers were fed old games into enhanced formats and packaged as new. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Sleeping Dogs, and Grand Theft Auto V are just a small sampling to name from an ever growing list. In time, despite the positive sales, many gamers began to catch onto what the industry trend was: take a game that had already been developed, make it prettier looking, maybe add a few new items or missions, and then voila, it’s new. This trend in the market even encouraged Nintendo to completely remake Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire with the updates of Pokemon X and Y.
With the addition of services like PS Now on the PlayStation 4 and backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, it shows that gamers are willing to spend money on older games to play on their new systems. For the remainder of the year alone BioShock: The Collection, Skryim Special Edition and Batman: Return to Arkham are all slated to release. This doesn’t include Modern Warfare being packaged with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Now with EA stating that they are now interested in delivering what gamers are seemingly telling them they want, it seems as if there will be no end to this madness.
Typically the way that these games are handled is by development of a separate studio that is contracted. For all purposes, this doesn’t always turn out to be the best case for the game as 343 Industries discovered with the rocky release of The Master Chief collection. The series was contracted out to be remade into a collection while 343i continued to work on Halo 5. Though it does not always result this drastic as Gearbox Software was able to contract out The Handsome Jack Collection to Iron Galaxy and Armature Studios which seemingly had a fluid release with little to no issues.
Don’t get me wrong, not all games that are brought to current day standards are a bad thing. In a situation where a classic, beloved game such as King’s Quest is resurrected and brought to modern gamers, remakes can be a great thing. Rare Replay literally took 30 games from their catalog and sold it for $1 a game (after the $30 pricetag is divided per game), which helped show that you can even be cost savvy while giving some of your classics. On occasion it’s not even a bad deal to bring a recent game to a better definition like Rockstar has done with Grand Theft Auto V, increasing the graphical and processing power as well as new additional features that were not possible on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; the game’s online mode is consistently supported to this day. If the publisher had the history to, they could be ballsy like Nintendo is and release a whole console dedicated to classic games.
Games such as Sleeping Dogs, the Metro series and the upcoming release of Darksiders become the embodiment of confusion. Simply put these games seem more like the cash grabs for the publishers and developers than it seems like a sincere ode to the work that they put into the game. Some of these games that are selected for a remake or a release do not always reflect the same sentiments by those who purchase the game. On occasion we find ourselves in an awkward circle of releases that seem to be unnecessary like Capcom’s insistence of dragging Resident Evil 4 shamefully across three generations of consoles and a multitude of separate PC and mobiles releases. I find myself still awaiting a true remake to Resident Evil 2 which I, personally, hold in a much higher regard as the franchises pinnacle game.
For better or worse, this is the current trend in the gaming market. While new IP’s enter the market, gamers still seem to be fixated on franchises that they know. Sequels run the risk of negative feedback whereas critically acclaimed games run a lower risk of disappointment. For a developer, it might not make sense to re-release these games on a backwards compatible format like the Xbox One has. For starters, not every game has the draw power of games such as recently added Red Dead Redemption, so the chances of snagging a new sale are slimmer than releasing an updated version of the game . Secondly, for this matter, the Xbox One does not have the market share that the PlayStation 4 has, which means an even slimmer income pull from the sales that they do accomplish.
I battle myself everytime I hear another developer discuss their reasons for remaking or re-releasing a game. Some games I cannot help myself from being intrigued of picking up. I picked up the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition because I failed to experience it on the Xbox 360. I picked up The Master Chief Collection, Borderlands: The Handsome Jack Collection and Grand Theft Auto V because of my love of those franchises. I purchased Rare Replay and the Mega Man Legacy Collection because of a great value and a nostalgic yearn to replay some games that I played in my childhood. So when I question why developers continue to reproduce these games rather than create new IP’s or sequels to the franchises I love, I have to acknowledge that I myself am part of the problem.
I have to admit that I would be hypocritical and disingenuous to claim that remasters provide no benefit to the gaming community. If it weren’t for contracts to Iron Galaxy to bring a lot of these remakes and rereleases to a variety of platforms, they might not have been given the opportunity to head the Killer Instinct development for Microsoft after Double Helix was purchased by Amazon. I might not have given the Tomb Raider reboot or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel a chance had it not been rereleased on the Xbox One.
Do I like that this is the current trend? Not necessarily. Do I want this trend to end? Maybe not cease completely, but I do wish that publishers were more selective of the franchises they chose to focus these remakes and rereleases on. How do you feel about this trend? Join us in the comment section below!
Re-released and Remasters That Are Worth Your Money: