Remakes, remasters, have all been around a long time but we’ve seen them develop a prominent presence in gaming over the last decade. There are some, sure, who bemoan such things but I believe that, overwhelmingly, their presence is welcomed. After all, there are so many good things that a remake or remaster can bring to gaming.
For starters, there’s an element of preserving culture. Old games can degrade or become less available, so there is a degree to which new releases can make them more accessible to modern gamers in a financial sense. But there’s also a sense that a remaster, port, or remake revitalizes knowledge in a title – it draws eyes to it. Working in game stores, I was able to see how younger audiences were drawn to retro titles as a result of streamers. I was also able to see an even larger amount of people drawn to titles because of marketing and buzz surrounding a new release of an old game.
Regardless of whether or not you are a new fan or an old, remasters and, to a larger extent, remakes offer more for fans who might otherwise never have a new experience of their old favorites. Sometimes, remakes will just have extra content. Sometimes remasters will include content that was cut from the original. Sometimes, a game that no longer has access to multiplayer will be hosted online again. It is a nice blend of nostalgia with novelty.
Remasters also synergize well with modern entries in the franchise. If, for example, someone is interested in the newest Metal Gear Solid title, it might suit them well to seek out the HD collection which contains some of the earlier titles. That way, they can feel as though they are getting the complete experience. Or a remaster can be used to excite or further develop a fanbase ahead of an upcoming title. It is also possible that a remaster, which is almost certainly easier to produce than a new game, can be a way of gauging interest in a potentially new game.
Remakes stand out in particular for the vitality they can bring to a game. The long awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake was an impressive re-telling of a classic story that honored the original, added onto it, and complemented it in an unexpected way. Vicarious Visions, who handled Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a collection or Crash Bandicoot remasters, clearly saw the benefit of a remake, too, as they took much of the original games but made some changes to the gameplay in order to refine it to fit in with modern design.
Sure, there are tons of bad remasters. Square Enix has a bad habit of releasing some pretty upsetting versions of their old games, for example. But the trend is more good than bad, and is, overall, an amazing way to keep great games great. It is a harsh truth that revisiting favorites in their original form can be a disappointing experience since they don’t always hold up. But a modern update allows you to reexperience the joy you felt when you played the original, but in a way that utilizes the many improvements that have been made to video games in general.