The Pros and Cons of HD Remakes

Credit: Gamespot
 The Pros and Cons of HD Remakes

There's no denying that in the past few years we have seen a surge in titles of varying success being given graphical updates to cater to the shiny new generation of HD consoles.


I'm sure we all own at least one title that's a HD port and there's no shame in that. But with recent re-releases such as Final Fantasy X/X-2, Resident Evil 6, and Zelda: Twilight Princess, is this a sign that major game companies today are running out of original ideas? Or is it just another case of cynical attempts to acquire more noughts to the end of their annual revenue?

It's been a question that I've been thinking a lot about rather recently, after hearing someone moan about last month's E3 being largely focused on announcements to sequels or HD ports. Now I'd be quick to disagree, as there wasn't that many HD ports mentioned during those conferences, but it did make me realize the sheer amount the market has seen in recent years. It occurred around about the mid-point of last generation when we saw these "HD trilogy" ports to game series' arrive on the PS3 and Xbox 360. You could argue that this is a way of reliving the memories you had with these games with a facelift or classic games made to look more appealing to the average consumer.


Credit: Xbox Store/ CAPCOM
 And yes, I'd back up that point and also add that some of these games in their original formats aren't easy (or cheap) to come by these days. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus is a great example of that. They are highly regarded titles and due to their cult classic classification, they can cost quite dearly on auction sites. It's also nice to have the added trophy/achievement support for remastered titles. However as much as it makes sense to port pre-HD games onto HD consoles, the same can't be said for recent re-releases.
The Last of Us, Tomb Raider, Dishonored, and God of War III are only a few examples of titles being remastered for current generation consoles, met with positive approval by fans and critics alike, but also raising questions as to why they are being given a remaster at all. As good as some of these titles are, I can't remember a time in which I wasn't able to find a copy of Dishonored anywhere at a reasonable price.




Credit: Xbox Store/ CAPCOM
Despite this, I am guilty of buying into a few of these titles on my current gen console, mainly because I haven't previously owned them and feel more inclined to play them on my PS4. A clear benefit to having these titles on your new primary console is that not everyone has multiple consoles plugged in and ready to go at the same time. But the graphical differences between ports of these recent games mainly fall between, "aw yeah, that looks prettier" or "it just looks slightly sharper".

One thing that needs to be addressed in regards to the inundation of these HD ports, games aren't cheap to make; and sometimes a single major release failing to sell can mean closed doors for certain developers or even the game series altogether (R.I.P. Medal of Honor). So whilst they can take risks with a new IPs or sequels, these remasters act like a kind of safety net financially for these companies. They're certainly cheaper to make than developing a brand new game from the ground up.


Credit: Xbox Store/ Deep Silver
So perhaps HD remasters, as daft as some of them seem, aren't going away any time soon. Sure, some will roll their eyes the next time they hear another game will be receiving the remastered treatment. But it could be because the development company has something else in store that the profitability of a remaster could facilitate in the future. Or we're all right with our cynical mindsets and they just want to make an extra buck out of us consumers. If so, congratulations! Here's a metaphorical medal made out of a slightly bigger amount of pixels than there were a couple of years ago.


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