One Man’s Remake Is Another Man’s Masterpiece

It’s that hot, sultry time of year, when new games are few and far between, where we wait out the days by counting down to the life giving games flood of autumn. Recently however, there has been a slew of announcements for PS4 and Xbox1. Yes, I’m talking about the apparently controversial ‘remakes’ and ‘remasters’.

Yesterday, a fellow Zero1Gaming contributor wrote about this topic in his article ‘The Backwards Compatibility Scam’. While I respect his opinions on the subject, I wanted to write a counter-argument to the remaster debate, as well as addressing some of the things I have seen being written about remakes.

So let me say up front that I am a fan of these remakes, re-releases or remasters, or what ever lexicon you wish to use. But as each remaster has been announced, I have seen the same arguments being made about why they are bad for the games industry and bad for gamers. The most common one is “I already bought Game X on PS3, now I have to pay full price for the same game on PS4”.

I’ll get to the issue of price later, but no one is being forced to buy anything here. If you are someone who bought, played and enjoyed The Last Of Us on PS3, and are not a hardcore fan who’ll buy anything with Ellie’s face on it, then you are probably not the target audience for The Last Of Us Remastered. The argument that TLOUR is looking to engage with gamers who didn’t play the original is completely valid, since not only are there a huge number of PS4 owners who were turned away from Xbox for this generation, there are also many people who own or owned a PS3 who never played it.

I still own a PS3 and have never played TLOU. Towards the end of the last generation, there were/are so many great games to chose from, decisions had to be made and some amazing games slipped by the wayside. My first thought when TLOUR was announced was, YES! At last I’ll get to play it! Despite still owning a PS3, I’m trying hard to put all my money into PS4 exclusively, so remastered games like TLOUR or Tomb Raider and Sleeping Dogs Definitive Editions make perfect sense for me.

I do however already own and enjoy GTA V on PS3, so will I be buying the remastered PS4 version? No, I don’t see there being any point in doing that. No one is pointing a gun at my head to force me to buy it. It’s called free choice and people are entitled to buy or not buy any game they choose.

Another popular argument against remasters goes something like, “how can they charge full price for a re-release of an old game? What do they take us for? Idiots?”

I think there are some misconceptions about what these re-made games really are. It’s not as if the developers simply pop an old PS3 game in a machine, press a button and out pops the same thing on the PS4 disk. There is a substantial amount of work that goes into getting games like TLOUR onto PS4, not just to pretty them up, but to essentially re-code them, often from the ground up, to run on the new hardware. When it comes to updated visuals, again there isn’t a magic button for that — the developers have often had to create new assets for each remake.

Add to that the usual costs involved in manufacturing and distributing and can anyone really be surprised that the remastered games are being sold at the same price of their originals? As consumers we all want to think we are getting value for money but I feel that people have lost sight of the fact that a game like TLOUR is essentially a new game on a new system and underwent a development process in order to exist. That costs money. Why should I be able to buy TLOUR for a fiver when it cost so much more than that to get it to me in the first place?

Finally, there is the argument that “these developers should be making new games, not re-doing old ones.” Ok, I’ll give the nay-sayers a point for this one. Yeah, we’d all love to be faced with a slew of new IP’s for the new consoles, but seriously, what can we have expected at this point in the lifecycle of PS4 and XB1?

Though many of us hoped it would sell well, I don’t think anyone expected PS4 to do as well as it has so far (and even XB1 is outselling the 360 at release). To that end, I’m not surprised that developers decided to dip their toes into new gen systems with a remake of their most popular old gen games. Why take the risk of blowing millions that might take years to recoup if the PS4 and XB1 didn’t sell?

Separately, there’s an argument to be made that all developers should cut their teeth on a new system with a tried and tested game first. New gen games are well known for not usually showcasing the hardware’s full potential. However, when Naughty Dog releases Uncharted 4 next year, it’ll be their second PS4 game, meaning, potentially, that it’ll look even more amazing than if they had skipped on LOUR altogether. And who can seriously begrudge them that?

Drop-kicking the Triad in full HD? Who can argue with that?

Remasters are something that we are all just going to have to get used to, like it or not. Personally, I welcome them for breathing life into the PS4 ecosystem at a time when I was struggling to justify making the switch to PS4. Down the line, we also have the likes of classic games like Abe’s Odyssey and Resident Evil getting HD remakes — something I’m extremely excited about since I’ve been dying to replay both games for about 10 years now.

At the end of the day, whether or not you decide to purchase a re-mastered game is a choice that’s up to you and you alone. No one is forcing you to buy it. No one forced you to trade in/sell/trash/bury/send to the moon your old gen system. If you find yourself twiddling your thumbs and wishing you still had a PS3 to play Sleeping Dogs, whose fault is that?

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.

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About Sebastian Young
Sebastian has been playing games since the age of 8, cutting his teeth with Nintendo and Sega, and now can usually be found dying repeatedly in online FPS’s. Really, he should just quit. Open world RPG’s and grand strategy games also see him lose his sense of reality for several months of the year. You won’t find him on twitter though since he lives in a cave

  • michaelsammler

    I actually waited to buy TLOU because I wanted to play it on PS4. I think for transition periods like the one now, remakes make a lot of sense. 
    I would of waited for any game within a 6 months to a year, if I know it would be released on next gen. But, I do have a PC to keep me occupied with games so I guess my needs might not be as dire as others.