Remasters are not a bad thing

We should be open to remastering games as they play an important role in the preserving of games and allowing others to catch up.

It is the age of the remaster in video games, and it appears to be one of the most divisive topics in gaming.

With so much negativity, I figured that I would point out why I feel that remastering games could not only be a good thing, but a great thing for a still blossoming games industry.

Getting to that backlog

So my first argument is one that has been said many times, but remasters are great for people who did not get to play the game on the original console. As someone who owns an Xbox 360 but never owned a PlayStation 3, I would love the opportunity to play some great games I missed, while also getting to experience them in the best quality.

I understand this is not everyone's situation, however, as someone who has missed out on entire console libraries, I do not mind. At the same time, however, I understand people's irritation with a game being remastered merely a year after releasing, such as The Last of Us for PlayStation 4. Honestly though, The Last of Us is an incredible game that got caught at the end of the PlayStation 3's life cycle, and is a great entry point for someone like me who did not have a PlayStation 3 last generation but will be buying a PlayStation 4.

Despite this sentiment, I feel that remasters, even great games that were just released on older consoles, play a nice supplementary role. Remasters provide the opportunity to catch up on missed titles while waiting for that new IP or big AAA release.

Another reason that remasters are important: preservation.

Gears of War, a third-person-shooter that evolved the genre, released in 2006. If you were 8 years-old in 2006, you probably missed the boat on Gears of War. But now that you are older, have a new console, and love gaming, perhaps a potential Gears of War remaster would be an excellent opportunity to experience a great game you missed out on. 

This is obviously a hypothetical, but the argument here is that remastering preserves games for future generations. I am fully aware that we can go back and get the original disc/cartridge and the system it was originally made for, however I feel that, in most instances, it would just be better to improve the game visually and in any other way seen necessary, and re-release it. Especially for a multiplayer-centric game, a la Halo 2, which couldn't really be played for several years until the remaster came out in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

And at the end of the day, don't we re-release classic movies on Blu-Ray? Aren't the Beatles' albums available in CD form? I am not saying every game needs a remaster, just that we should be open to it, as it could serve a crucial role within the games industry. 

Published May. 28th 2015
View Comments
  • KungFro
    Your openness to remasters is refreshing, mostly because you bring up a very real scenario in which they're more than worth it. I myself missed out on late night binges of numerous PS2 Games, instead only playing them at friends' houses. When I got to college and bought my PS3, I was able to snag a bunch of remasters and actually live them through to the end. Rolled in the nostalgia for months and loved every minute of it.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    Remasters and HD upgrades are not a bad thing in theory. Look at Homeworld Remastered, Master Chief Collection (sans the broken multiplayer), and Grim Fandango, among others.
    The problem lies with greedy publishers who push a "remastered" product with minimal effort out, and it is either inferior to the original (Silent Hill HD) or adds nothing except maybe 60 fps and a slight resolution upgrade (The Last of Us).

    Another issue is the sheer laziness by these AAA publishers. Rather than develop new and interesting IPs for these new consoles which were hyped to no end, they re-release games we have already seen (and some are less than five years old!) for a quick buck. It's rather cynical and greedy of them, yet it pays off in the end for them.

    The last issue is what gets remastered. Tomb Raider, Borderlands, and Sleeping Dogs did not need to be remastered, especially since they did not change much from the original. Countless older games which fans are clamoring for remastered versions of are left to rot in most cases. In some cases, its all we can do to get the original game despite it being over 15 years old.
  • Michael Slevin
    ports of games are not typically done by major developers/teams, they are handled by smaller teams/outside devs. In reality the money and time required to remaster a game pales in comparison to creating a new IP or brand new game. You are correct in stating that remasters are typically safe in terms of making money.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    I never claimed major teams handled these remasters. I am well aware smaller teams usually handle ports and remasters.
    Yes, new IPs are larger sinkholes for money, which is why we have established franchises (in theory) to offset failures.
    However, this next generation of consoles has seen a glut of remasters like no other generation, and it comes off as greedy and lazy, usually because it is.
  • OrganisedDinosaur
    Remasters are not a bad thing at all. There have been remasters that have been completely brilliant and vast improvement (Dark Souls 2) but sadly there have also been pointless ones that added bugger all (The Last of Us). The only leg The Last of Us had to stand on was the fact that as you said, it came out at the end of a generation. Some remasters are pointless and others are great. Much like anything really.

    Overall though, remasters are certainly not a bad thing. Buy the ones that you deem worth the investment and ignore the ones that you don't.
  • Daniel R. Miller
    Featured Contributor
    Remasters certainly aren't a bad thing. And in the case of The Last of Us, Gamestop offered a 50% discount on the Remastered version if you traded in the PS3 version, which made the upgrade a no brainer.

    Another aspect of the Remaster debate is simply common sense. In the case of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, it was released on last gen consoles, a year into the Xbox One/PS4 life cycle. With the popularity of the Borderlands franchise and the multitude of other franchises getting Remastered editions, it wasn't that hard to guess that it would hit next gen consoles sooner rather than later.

    On the other hand, the whole Remastered debate is moot if you have a high end PC.

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