Doesn’t it seem like there are a lot of remasters lately? Between all the Resident Evil games, Legend of Zelda re-releases, and the countless reboots in the work, it can feel like the gaming industry is trying to capitalize off the success of the past. Some may benefit from it, based on technological limitations of the past. Others seem to come out a surprisingly short time after the original game, whether as a full remake or “definitive editions.” All of this can alienate the player base into believing that the industry cares less about new ideas and stories than they do profiting off of tried-and-true gems of the past. But is this truly taking effect? Do players really believe the gaming industry is out of ideas for original content?
The following is comprised of data collected through optional polls and viewer responses. What all was collected includes:
- 3,854 respondents through eight questions.
- Polls running between the beginning of March and the end of July, 2021.
The following is information collected in more detailed form, going over every aspect of the graph listed above. Summarized information and some occasional discussion will also be present.
Talking Point – Is the Gaming Industry Out of Ideas?
As stated previously, plenty of reboots and remasters are within the schedule of games for the next couple years. This is on top of all the games that have released in the last few years that fall within the same category. “HD” or “Definitive” or “Remastered”; plenty of games are simply re-releases with some added bonus content or updated graphics. That said, it becomes easy to assume that the industry is fine with simply updating fully-fledged games for extra profit. Do players assume the industry is out of ideas for original content?
If you asked a random person online, chances are they’ll tell you that, yes, the gaming industry is running out of ideas. With the nature of the gaming industry even more profitable than ever, it’s easy for larger companies to prioritize what’s safest for big profit. Why do something brand new when they could take a prior IP, touch it up, and sell it again? Past history has shown that it works, why go with less profit? Maybe in time it won’t appear so apparent, but currently, players are leery.
Remaster Qualities – Should They Be Considered “New Games”?
It’d be easy to say that, on a new system with a (slightly) new name, remastered titles are new games. After all, they aren’t completely the same, nor are they (generally) reduced in price to signify their status. Some are easier to consider new than others, such as remasters that graphically and mechanically fine-tune the game. But are these more “remakes” than “remasters”? With a lot of complexity attached to it, what do players think? Should remasters be considered “new” games?
It seems most aren’t keen on seeing HD re-releases as new games in the industry. Given the seemingly increased volume of such works recently, it’s all the more jumbled on what is and isn’t considered new content. Updated remakes on old classics in one collection; a re-patched version of a game that houses new content, only a couple years after release. While these are technically new, as much as developers or publishers may push it to create buzz, others see past the semantics.
Remaster Qualities – Are They a Lazy Game Design Approach?
They say to stick to what you know. Well, what if the gaming industry did just that? The increased presence on remasters nowadays may create a stigma surrounding them and the developers that work on bringing them to life. They’re basically making the same game again, only with today’s technology, right? Cynical as it may sound, it could be a common perception amongst the average gamer. Is it?
While somewhat close, it seems people are understanding of the value that remasters can provide. Even if the foundation is set from moments of the past, it still takes a considerable amount of work to adjust them to fit the standards of today’s gaming demographic. Not to mention the graphical fidelity attached, assuming they go more N. Sane Trilogy than Wind Waker HD. Attributing the “lazy” moniker to certain remasters may be more appropriate than others, but in general, players are okay with the basic concept.
Remaster Qualities – Do They “Prey Upon Nostalgia”?
Now focusing on a more outward concept, remasters have a specific target demographic, generally speaking: players who have played the original game. “Well, you loved the original iteration. Now check out this new one!” It’s easy to be swept up in the adoration of playing something you fondly enjoyed at an earlier point in life, especially during childhood or the early teenage years. That said, this could also be seen as a potential predatory tactic by marketers to invigorate players to buy more of the same. Do players believe remasters “prey upon nostalgia” to reap success?
It’s pretty clear that fanbases are not oblivious to marketing tactics. Whether or not they choose to ignore it may be a question for another day. Remasters, remakes, and the dedication to bring an IP back into the spotlight several years after their supposed expiration date is nothing new in society, in general. The relationship between media and consumers will always thrive upon the importance that the latter puts into the former. Combined with nostalgia, it’s easy to put high regard for things that one enjoyed at one point. As such, it’s easy to assume that remasters “preying upon nostalgia” is a common perception.
Interactivity – Are Players More Likely to Play Remasters or Originals?
Let’s fast forward to when the new Dead Space reboot releases. Exclusive to new-gen consoles, it’ll be the latest example of a remaster in place for a once-popular IP. Roughly fifteen years prior (assuming the street date stays intact), the original released on Xbox 360 and PS3, consoles that a large collection of gamers may or may not still own. It’s easy with remasters to be purchasable with current-gen technology being readily available. Retro collectors and nifty preservers may also still hold onto older titles. So are players more likely to play the original or a remaster, if they’ve played neither?
The present wins out. With gameplay more acclimated to modern technology, it’s easy for many to assume it’d be the better version. Would people be willing to sit through the infamous tank controls of the original Resident Evil games in favor of the modernized maneuverability of the re-done titles? Plus with the presence of more accessible (usually) current-gen consoles, getting a whole other console to play one or two original titles seems more of a hassle. Thus, remasters seem to be the go-to.
Talking Point – Could Every Game Benefit From a Remaster?
All games get old eventually. All games become outdated eventually. As much as Super Mario 64 was revolutionary for 3D platformers at the time of its release, several games have only improved upon the formula it put into place. Since then, it’s only been re-done once, with Super Mario 64 DS in 2004—and that game did far more than simply re-produce the game with updated graphics. Hypothetically speaking, are remasters simply rounding the curve to further accessibility? Could every game eventually benefit from a remaster?
It was a close call, though people still put a lot of stock into original titles. Sometimes there’s nothing quite like booting up a title from the past and being able to transport oneself to that specific time period. Even with a lack of new touch-ups, games can be enjoyable and accessible, nonetheless. A lot of people still understand that new doesn’t always correlate with better; classics are regarded as such for a reason. While some can definitely benefit, not all could.
Interactivity – Are Remasters Good For Allowing People to Discover a Series?
Say you’re in your teenage years now. Games have been around since long before you were born, even ones that others consider “not that old.” You’re unlikely to have played a large numbers of these for a variety of reasons, whether because their current relevance has long past or you don’t have the financial security to acquire them. Then, a random company announces a remaster of a game from some 10-15 years back. You can finally play the game that people consider great, only in the new age, with time to prepare for release. Are remasters, overall, a good way for new players to discover a series?
No contest. Despite what may have been prompted by the result thus far, remasters do very well to serve as an introductory point for new players. Some may even feel more motivated to go back and play original titles because they enjoyed the remaster. Whatever may happen afterwards, it’s thanks to a remastered product that there was anywhere to go to begin with.
Talking Point – Which Major Company Most Relies on Remasters?
This is a question that could be answered through a lot of meticulous research and info-grabbing. For the sake of this article, however, this is more phrased as what major company seems to rely most on remasters. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are often considered the “big three” in the gaming world, constantly competing (and occasionally collaborating) to grab the gaming community at large. With the obvious profitability of remasters, which of the three do players believe most heavily relies on it as a financial gain?
The difference between the three is about even, though the clear winner is Sony. With a long collection of remastered titles in its catalog, the long-standing company is certainly no stranger to the concept. Nintendo also seems to be a common participant in the remaster saga, with many of their updated Legend of Zelda and Pokémon titles to their name. A decent selection of the Switch’s AAA line-up consists of updated ports from the Wii U era. If you’re fond of the concept, it’s likely these two companies have provided plenty of offerings in that regard.
(Video by WatchMojo.com.)