We generally only apply "everything is a remake now" to Hollywood; it seems like almost every day is an announcement about a reboot of some beloved property. Two of 2019’s biggest movies are "live action" remakes of animated classics in Aladdin and The Lion King, after all. However, remake/reboot/remaster fever is also creeping into the world of video games, as publishers know they can tick our nostalgia boxes all the way to the bank.
Final Fantasy 7 is getting a massive HD remake. Hell, Nintendo has been doing it for years, either through rereleasing their classics on new consoles or creating little nostalgia machines, like the SNES Classic.
Remaking games that might sell on nostalgia alone is a huge business, so plenty of obscure titles are getting caught up in the wave too. Today, we’re looking through some of the upcoming remakes that might have flown under your radar. There’s a good variety here of HD remasters, franchise reboots, and everything in between. Here’s what you should keep your eye on.
House of the Dead is back from the grave
We have just one request for this one: don’t touch House of the Dead‘s voice acting. It’s … just wonderful.
Forever Entertainment is currently working on remakes of both House of the Dead and House of the Dead 2, classic Sega light-gun shooters from the late ’90s.
Light-gun shooters were always a tough sell on the home market; they always felt much more at home in arcades. They were designed to get your adrenaline pumping (and eat your quarters), and home versions needed expensive peripherals to match their arcade cousins.
That said, House of the Dead probably came closest to crossing into the mainstream. It saw several releases on different platforms, and a big budget (albeit terrible) film adaptation was also made.
Forever Entertainment hasn’t released too many details about the House of the Dead remakes at this point; we don’t have platforms or release dates as of this writing. This is definitely one to keep on your radar if you can’t get enough zombie killing in your life.
MediEvil sallies forth again
Grab your skulls and swords: the remake of MediEvil is almost upon us! MediEvil was originally released for the PlayStation in 1998 and featured on undead knight named Sir Daniel Fortesque. MediEvil was a hack and slash game that spawned a few sequels before being pushed aside. Sir Daniel won’t be pushed aside much longer, as the PS4 is getting a MediEvil remake releasing on Oct. 25, 2019.
GamesRadar reported on the game’s demo, saying it played extremely close to its PS1 counterpart. Producer Nick Accordino says that was entirely the plan: "We want it to be the game you remember, just with modern sensibilities. The goal here is that, if you had a strategy guide for the original PS1 game and you sat it down next to you, you could use it for the PS4 version."
If you watch just a bit of the gameplay video, you can see how true that is. The MediEvil remake is developed by Other Ocean Emeryville exclusively for PlayStation 4.
System Shock will send you back to space
This is one that has been in the works for quite some time. Developer NightDive Studios got started in simply reworking and re-issuing cult classics for rerelease, something they did for System Shock 2. However, they decided to do something else with the 1994 predecessor, System Shock. In 2016, they brought the idea of a remake of the RPG to Kickstarter, which quickly hit its fundraising goal. However, some problems bubbled to the surface.
Long story short: they changed the engine and platforms and restarted the project.
The game was actually put on indefinite hiatus in early 2018 for the team to reassess their approach. However, things seem back on track for System Shock, and a new release window of Q1 2020 is now in the books.
Larry Kuperman, Business Development Director for Nightdive, told PC Gamer where the delays stemmed from: "As this process evolved over a period of time, it grew in complexity, and it veered away from this original representation. That doesn’t mean that interpretation would’ve been bad, but it wouldn’t have been true to the System Shock vision." Hopefully they’ve got it back on track.
Ready to smash your controller with the Battletoads remake?
We know: you just felt the uncontrollable "Turbo Tunnel" sweats break out. Battletoads is getting remade, and it appears to be leaning heavily into the neon and attitude soaked aesthetics of the early 1990s that the original game hails from.
It’s been nearly 30 years since Battletoads first released, and Dlala Studios is doing everything they can to bring back the game we knew, loved, and broke controllers over, with modern gaming sensibilities and updated graphics. Battletoads is a three-player beat ’em up that features Rash, Pimple, and Zitz attempting to rescue Princess Angelica from the Dark Queen.
Is it a direct ripoff of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Of course it is! Is it still a solid and tough as nails arcade game that’s sure to provide you and your friends with some couch co-op shenanigans? You better believe it. Battletoads is an Xbox One exclusive and is scheduled to release before the end of 2019. Here’s hoping it’s got The Adventures of Duane and BrandO on the soundtrack.
The XIII remake wants another shot at greatness
Here’s a bit of an obscure one for you: the original XIII ("Thirteen") came out in 2003 for several different platforms. It’s a cel-shaded first person shooter based on a Belgian graphic novel of the same name. You play as an amnesiac who is accused of assassinating the President and must clear your name while battling against a shady cabal trying to overthrow the government.
The XIII remake is handled by Microids and is being distributed by Ubisoft. It was supposed to release for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One by the end of 2019, but that release got pushed back into 2020.
It does appear that Microids is sticking close to the source material with the graphics in XIII. The original had all sorts of nifty little graphical flourishes, like when comic panels would appear to highlight a kill when you scored a headshot, and the screens that have been released look to have adapted some of those charming techniques. The original has a bit of a cult classic standing, so they will be looking to capture that audience with the remake.
Trials of Mana is finally coming to the West
There was a bit of confusion around Trials of Mana, as it had never been available in the West prior to 2019. However, it was released as part of the Collection of Mana for the Nintendo Switch eShop, alongside Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana. Collection of Mana is already available, but an HD remake of Trials of Mana will have a seperate release on April 24, 2020.
So, you can already play this "never released in the United States" game, but you can also get the HD remake in April 2020.
There’s a pretty slick video detailing how the HD remake will look in comparison to the regular release of Trials of Mana. It looks like it plays a lot like Secret of Mana: a top down view and real-time combat that you can pause as you pull up menus of your abilities. If you haven’t already splurged on Collection of Mana, you’ll for sure want to grab the HD remake of Trials of Mana. You may want to do it anyway.
Destroy All Humans! is back from outer space
Ever feel like the alien invaders are right, and maybe humanity should be exterminated? If so, you’re in luck! Cult classic Destroy All Humans! is getting the remake treatment. We don’t have a concrete release date as of this writing, but it is expected in the first half of 2020. You’ll be able to play Destroy All Humans! on Google Stadia, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The original game was basically an open world Mars Attacks! (which also officially has an exclamation point in its title), where players controlled the alien invader. The invading alien’s name is Crypto, and he had a variety of deadly (albeit silly) powers at his disposal: ray guns, tractor beams, hypnotizing signals, and the like. Pretty standard pulp alien powers.
Destroy All Humans! stands as a bit of a cult classic, so it seems like a good candidate for being updated with modern sensibilities. Development is being handled by Germany-based Black Forest Games, which might explain the bizarre use of Rammstein in the Destroy All Humans! reveal trailer.
The Age of Empires 2 remake will conquer your free time
Can you believe it has been 20 years since the release of Age of Empires 2? The real-time strategy classic is getting an updated version to celebrate, and it is due out before the end of 2019. Look for Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition Nov. 14.
The Definitive Edition will feature some seriously updated 4K graphics, crossplay between the Steam version and Microsoft (see: Xbox One) version, and a handful of new features. There is also a bevy of new content included. A new campaign called "The Last Khans" is part of the package, and four new civilizations (Bulgarians, Cumans, Lithuanians, and Tatars) are being added, which brings the total number to 35. There will also be a few new gameplay options with esports in mind.
Finally, if you feel left out because you already picked up an earlier version, Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition will be cheaper if you already have a version of the game in your library, plus it will automatically bring your saves in with it. A perfect fit for you RTS fans out there.
Warcraft 3 is being remade, or rather, reforged
Many of Blizzard’s games have a remarkable shelf life. The original StarCraft still sees competitive play, and World of Warcraft is one of the few MMORPGs still going strong. That hasn’t stopped them from issuing rereleases and updates for some of their fan favorites, and the next game to receive that treatment is Warcraft 3.
The remake is called Warcraft 3: Reforged, and it seems to be a combination of reimagining and remaster. According to Blizzard’s official page, Reforged "is a stunning reimagining of the revolutionary real-time strategy game that laid the foundation for Azeroth’s most epic stories. It is a remake in the truest sense, featuring a thorough visual overhaul, a suite of contemporary social and matchmaking features, and more."
The original Warcraft 3 had a pretty epic story, so it seems likely that Blizzard will knock it out of the park with this one. It is due before the end of 2019, and pre-ordering nets you some goodies for other Blizzard products.
Command & Conquer is reloaded for modern machines
What’s that? You want some more classic RTS remakes coming your way? Well, strap on your Tiberian-soled shoes, friend: Command & Conquer is oscar mike.
PC Gamer writes that this remake should live up to the original, as it’s being created by Petroglyph Games. Petroglyph came to be after Westwood Studios, the original creators of Command & Conquer, was shut down by EA. That means several of the original developers are working on the project.
You can read the official announcement on Reddit right here. The Command & Conquer remaster is coming from Petroglyph and EA and will contain the original game, the much-lauded prequel Red Alert, and several of the expansions as well. According to PC Gamer, the game started its closed alpha testing in July 2019 so it could still be awhile before it sees official release. Start working on your build orders; the game is looking to be more of a remastering than a true remake, so many of your old strategies will still apply.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is getting rehydrated
We know what you’re thinking: "How did I not realize the greatest game of all time is getting a remake?"
We kid, but you might be surprised. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom actually has a decent cult following and is generally considered the best video game adaptation of the cartoon.
The original game was released back in 2003, just a few years after the show started airing. It’s a 3D platformer with a goofy storyline and plenty of fan-service cameos. The remake is releasing on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and Purple Lamp Studios is developing it. As of this writing, no release date has been given; the game’s Steam page lists the release date as "(When) I’m Ready!"
SpongeBob SquarePants showed remarkable longevity and remains a favorite for plenty of people who grew up on the show and movies. Are you ready kids? I can’t hear you!
Panzer Dragoon flies back to us with a new remaster
We need to go back in time a bit for this one. The original Panzer Dragoon released on Sega Saturn all the way back in 1995. It was a bit of a showcase for the power of the system and let you ride a dragon around and blow things up. It remains a bit confusing why it has taken so long to bring this one back.
Panzer Dragoon was an on-rails shooter, putting the player in the role of a lone dragon rider in a post-apocalyptic world. Your goal was to fly around and blast things (there was something about an evil empire you had to overthrow) and look really pretty doing so. Think Star Fox, but you’re a dragon, not a spaceship.
Panzer Dragoon is coming sometime in 2020. Nintendo officially lists the release date as "Winter," which indicates that it should release sometime in Q1, and it is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. Panzer Dragoon 2 is also getting the same update, but its release date is not yet known.
Romancing SaGa 3 finally arrives in English
If you love old school JRPGs, then you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for Romancing SaGa 3. The game was originally released back in 1995 for the Super Famicom, but it has never had an English-language release. That will change when the remastered version of Romancing SaGa 3 releases Nov. 11, 2019.
The SaGa series was always very popular in Japan, and this iteration featured some ahead-of-their-time mechanics. It features a core cast, but also allows the player to recruit a variety of other characters that you meet in the world. Characters don’t gain true experience to level; stats increase based on how you use them in combat. Finally, Romancing SaGa 3 also features level scaling, meaning the enemies you come across will always be a challenge based on your party.
The remaster of Romancing Saga 3 will be available on nearly every platform: PC, PS4, Switch, Vita, iOS, and Xbox One.
Doom 64 will at last be on something other than the Nintendo 64
An oft-forgotten entry in the storied franchise, Doom 64 is finally making a return over 20 years after its original release. It is not the sixty-fourth entry in the Doom franchise; instead, it was an adaptation of the demon-slaying shooter for the Nintendo 64. It served as a direct sequel, picking up right where Doom 2: Hell on Earth left off. Interestingly, Doom 64 brought some new ideas to the table on top of the flashy new graphics. It had some new levels and introduced a new weapon, a laser called the Unmaker.
But for some reason or other, Doom 64 never made the leap onto any platform outside of the Nintendo 64. That changes on March 20, 2020, when Doom 64 releases for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It was originally scheduled to release in November 2019, but was pushed back alongside Doom Eternal. Those who preorder Doom Eternal will receive a digital download copy of Doom 64 for free. Not a bad deal.