Are Video Game Remakes Worth It? Does This Trend Need to Die?

Video game remakes have grown to be highly prevalent within the game industry. Not only are there multiple trends of remakes able to be produced, but there are also varying degrees of success when it comes to the quality of the game itself.

You may be wondering what makes a good remake? Or even whether video game remakes should exist in the first place?

The trend sets a standard within the gaming industry that you may see as potentially positive or damaging, so do video game remakes need to die?

Are Video Game Remakes Worthwhile?

You may have mixed opinions on video game remakes, but the trend has undoubtedly affected the gaming industry.

Games like Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are regarded by many as the best in their franchise and encouraged Game Freak to continue remaking previous generations of Pokémon games.

However, the remakes of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were met with a mixed reception. You could connect these mixed reviews to the idea that Game Freak phoned it in by allowing ILCA to remake one of its most popular generations of games, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

This speaks to a larger issue with the trend of video game remakes: it paints a picture that game developers are either phoning it in or running out of new ideas.

And as more remakes are being announced and more production companies look to this trend, you may conclude that an over-saturation of remakes could stagnate and stifle the amount of purely new video game properties being produced.

The Last of Us Part 1 remake from PlayStation, which Sony discusses via a PlayStation Blog post, is the third version of the same title. Similarly, the Resident Evil 4 remake, which you can find details of via the Resident Evil 4 official website, is a title you may recognize as being ported to as many possible platforms since its release, including the Wii, and mobile devices.

With the sheer amount of retreaded titles in the works, you could conclude that video game remakes aren’t even necessary in the first place.

But, despite the overwhelming amount of remakes already released, some titles are desperately needed and fill a rightful place in the industry. Nightdive Studio’s highly anticipated System Shock lifts a game that is entirely inaccessible to modern audiences and shines the limelight back onto a genre-defining title.

Remakes also vary in how enjoyable they are as games themselves, and you could base how successful a remake is on its quality as a game, not a remake.

What Makes a Good Video Game Remake?

With titles like Resident Evil 2, Warcraft III: Reforged, and Final Fantasy VII Remake, the standard in quality for video game remakes is highly varied.

Games emulating their original counterpart but updating them for modern audiences, like 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake, scratch your nostalgia itch and remind you why you loved classic games from your past.

On the other hand, remakes like 2020’s Warcraft III: Reforged, with its broken launch, leave you wondering why the developers even bothered in the first place.

In the case of Warcraft III: Reforged, Bloomberg UK states an “early, unclear vision and misalignment about whether the game was a remaster or remake” led to challenges in the game’s scope and features.

Learning the subtle differences between a video game port, remake, remaster, or reboot could help you understand how a developer like Blizzard was able to misidentify its own game. However, Warcraft III: Reforged’s difficulties speak to a larger issue with remakes: how much of the original game has to change?

For the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 2 remake, Capcom overhauled outdated elements of the original. Gameplay, player perspective, and even narrative elements were adjusted to suit 2019s gaming audiences. But Capcom also maintained pivotal aspects of the original, like tone, characters, and art style to hook classic Resident Evil fans.

For Capcom, this meant appealing to both a wide variety of audiences and its fanbase. For Blizzard, it meant appealing to neither.

Including Resident Evil 2, there are many other well-received video game remakes everyone should play that either stick to the original or change just enough to suit a modern audience.

How Much Change Is Too Much Change?

In the case of worthwhile video game remakes, an important factor is how well the title manages its nostalgia and its need to be a successful modern title.

As mentioned, 2019’s Resident Evil 2 managed to pull this off, but are there any examples of remakes changing too much?

Interestingly, the remake for Final Fantasy VII didn’t only completely overhaul how the game plays but also defied expectations by changing pivotal story beats when compared to the hugely popular original.

Despite altering story elements and almost switching the entire genre in terms of gameplay, something you would imagine should aggravate long-time fans, Final Fantasy VII Remake was received highly positively.

For remakes as a whole, Final Fantasy VII Remake is an important milestone. Not only were the developers aggressively pushing a new vision for the original, but they were also reinvigorating the narratives of both to provide you with a familiar and innovative experience.

As a worthwhile trend for video games, the Final Fantasy VII Remake shows that the quality of the game and the intent behind remaking the original title are essential to how worthwhile a remake is. Despite changing multiple core aspects you remember from the original, the remake’s vision and quality allow it to stand alone.

Game Remakes Are Here to Stay

With the over-saturation of remakes, with many more expected to be produced, you could believe that this trend is damaging to the industry as a whole and needs to end.

But from such trends, new and innovative experiences are produced amongst the general releases that stand out and benefit you, the player.

Whether it’s a unique form of video game remake, like the Final Fantasy VII Remake, or an updated experience that modernizes your favorite classic video games, re-living your experience is worthwhile.

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