Gaming’s Re-release Epidemic

Remakes, ports, HD Editons, Collector’s Editions, Game of the Year Editions, combo packs, ported portables… There are plenty of ways to release a game you already released. Game companies know this, and they also know that they’re not making money off used copies of Final Fantasy X, Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Tales of Symphonia. So what do they do? Remaster what’s succeeded in the past, plug in a few bonuses, add shrink wrap, and convince you that you can’t live without it.

Re-releases are part of the biz. They serve as a second chance for game companies to score money off their AAA titles, whether they be classics or last year’s big thing. In some cases, like with the just-released Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, companies use re-releases as a form of advertising. Nothing says, “Hey, it’s time you considered a Wii U” like a brand new Zelda. Even if it isn’t brand new.

ZWW

Wii U’s in trouble? No killer-apps on the horizon? Just release a Zelda game, all will be fine.

The trend these days is HD Editions of games that don’t need HD Editions. Honestly, whether you loved or hated Wind Waker’s art style, you definitely never punched a wall over the fact that you couldn’t play it in high-def. And no one threw a fit over standard-def Final Fantasy X. Same goes for Tales of Symphonia, Kingdom Hearts, Silent Hill 2 and 3, Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, and every other HD update out there. Still, people continue to fork over thirty or forty bucks for games that could show up on PSN or Nintendo’s eShop for $10 in their original forms.

HD updates are one thing, full-on remakes are another. Some remakes are absolutely stellar (Metroid: Zero Mission); some fix the original’s errors (Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions); others divide fanbases (Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes); and still others prove to be rather unnecessary (Final Fantasy IV Advance).

The one thing they all have in common? People buy them.

mzm

Metroid: Zero Mission is a masterful remake that improved upon the original in every way.

And as people buy them, they clamor for more. In 2011 Nintendo released a 3DS version of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. A year later, this fake trailer for a Majora’s Mask update hit Youtube. Suddenly everyone and their kid sister wanted a Majora update. Then–just weeks ago–Nintendo’s Eiji Aonuma spiked interest in a Majora’s Mask remake, getting the whole fanbase warm beneath the belt. Meanwhile, the game has been available on Nintendo’s eShop for ten buck the entire time.

Before you call me a killjoy, answer me this: Why obsess over a remake when you can push for a sequel, spiritual successor, or spinoff? You’re telling me Majora’s Mask HD is more important than Majora’s Mask 2 or a spinoff starring Fierce Deity Link? C’mon, now.

FierceDeitysMask

If you get the choice between seeing Fierce Deity in high-def or seeing him star in his own spinoff, take the latter. I’m begging you.

A lot of people are quick to point out that there’s no need to complain about re-releases. Yes, they keep our favorite companies afloat. Yes, they introduce younger gamers to the classics we enjoyed years ago. And, yes, we don’t have to buy them if we don’t want them. But the truth is, they’re multiplying wildly and masking a lack of AAA-production from Nintendo, Square Enix, Konami, and others. Wind Waker HD and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 aren’t 2013 releases. They’re excuses. Stopgaps. Attempts at staying relevant. And if we can’t stop the spread of them, can we at least quit asking for them?

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20 thoughts on “Gaming’s Re-release Epidemic

  1. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. There are too many HD remakes lately and the fact of the matter is that they are indeed contributing to a lackluster market of games. I’ll just be returning to playing Silent Hill HD Collection now… 😉

    • Thanks a ton for the positive feedback… this is the first blog I’ve ever truly committed to, so I’m glad some of you guys are enjoying it. Anyway, I had a busy weekend (trip to Boston to see Stephen King!), so there won’t be an update till tomorrow.

  2. I remember when I was little watching my best friend slash signs around Kokiri Village in OoT. I never actually played the game myself until it was released in 2011 on the 3DS. What an experience!
    It definitely expands a game’s horizons to audiences that view certain games as dated or unapproachable. I honestly would have never bothered going out of my way to find an OoT 64 cartridge, even though I had fond memories of earlier parts of the game.

    • Your input is probably the most compelling case FOR these re-releases. I’m all for games like OoT reaching new audiences… But now, I’m curious. If you weren’t into the idea of hunting down an N64 cart, what stopped you from downloading the N64 version on Wii?

  3. Good question! I guess I don’t know. I know I did actually download OoT and Majora’s Mask onto my Wii. but I haven’t played either of them. I’ve still yet to experience Majora’s Mask in any form. I don’t know what’s holding me back, really.

  4. I didn’t like the original Windwaker game so they can keep this one. Final Fantasy 6 is now on the droid and that’s another franchise that’s on my shit list. What ever happened to people coming up with original ideas instead of trying to make a quick buck off their fans?

    • The sad part about the gaming industry growing and maturing is that rather than breaking new ground, companies keep returning to familiar territory. Aside from Mario All-Stars, you never saw re-releases during the SNES era.Then with every console generation we got more and more of what we already had.

      I understand that new ideas can be risky, but it baffles me that we never see anything new from guys like Miyamoto. The guy gave Nintendo 4 or 5 of it’s biggest franchises, then re-imagined them all during the N64 era, and he hasn’t really come up with anything other than Pikmin since.

      Then again, there are rumors that he’s cooking up something new these days, so cross your fingers.

      • Which Xcom game? There are three different ones. There’s a FPS, a TPS, and a strategy game. The TPS one is like Mass Effect so if you like Mass Effect you might enjoy that game if you’re willing to forgive the name of it. The strategy one is where Xcom shines. It’s amazing, and one of the hardest games i’ve ever played. Each officer you control has a turn, you move them around the map in strategic positions while trying to out smart, and defeat the alien threat on Earth. I would recommend you try both of them out. Just stay away from the FPS one.

      • Enemy Unknown is the strategy one. Declassified is the TPS one. They are both on PS3 and they’re quite cheap. Enemy Unknown just got it’s first expansion so I would recommend that if you like strategy games. If not then go with Declassified. I highly recommend Enemy Unknown though. The awesome thing about Enemy Unknown is the fact that when you lose a partner they’re gone forever so your tactics are crucial to beating the game and getting a good ending.

      • Honestly I never thought Fire Emblem was that hard of a game. The thing that makes Xcom so hard are the choices you have to make. Will you save Chicago, or Brazil. For every one choice that you make two more countries or continents suffer for it. You can’t save everyone and it’s proven in this game.

      • I would recommend getting Enemy Unknown on the PC if you can. The controls are a lot better and it’s easier to play that game with a mouse then with a controller. Declassified is also easier with a mouse but that game should be easier on consoles then Enemy Unknown is.

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