Taking On Remastered Games And The Effects of Nostalgia

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Taking On Remastered Games And The Effects of Nostalgia

The glut of remastered games forces Yahtzee to examine the phenomena and determine if they are worth the extra cash ... or even the developer's effort.

Read Full Article

Remastering games is basically admitting "We can't make a new game that's as high quality as this old game we know people like, so we're just going to re-release it for money."

I don't buy the "we're making it more accessible" excuse either, because in 10 years a game re-released for the PS4 will be just as inaccessible as the original game on the PS1.

One thing worth understanding is ScummVM. ScummVM and the ResidualVM fork are used to run a variety of old P&C games on a variety of platforms. They're not "emulators" per se, but rather engine replacements. It's fairly common for games to feature fixes coded into the program itself. There was a mouse control mod for Grim Fandango on ResidualVM, IIRC.

As for tank controls, The N64 began arguably began the practice of taking games and giving them (possibly optional) fully analogue/non-tank controls. Resident Evil 2 and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine come to mind. Certainly, the new controls in RE: Remake Give Us More Money Edition are lifted from the N64 Resident Evil 2.

edit:
Releasing a new version on a game on a console platform such as XBLA is a great way for the new version to vanish in a few years. People will still be playing the N64 Perfect Dark in 20 years. Will they be playing the fancy remaster/remake XBLA 60fps version after Microsoft implodes and all the Xbox servers go down? The answer to that question likely depends on whether the games are archived and/or the console has been emulated.

I feel like you are disregarding people who didn't play the game the first time around. Perhaps because they didn't have a PC, or maybe they just weren't born yet, but for whatever reason a game past them by. The remaster may come about by nostalgia but it introduces new people to the game. And I personally would like a crack at games I was too young for the first time around, but consider far too difficult to get running.

An aspect I think was left out was the resurgence that a multiplayer aspect might get from a remastered rerelease.

Example: AVP 2, from 2001.

image

I love this game to death, and now that the master server's down, and my disc is cracked on one edge, I can never play it again. And even if I could, I'd have nothing but the empty maps, taunting me with the good times I had way back when.

But what if all of a sudden, this game popped up on Steam? Suddenly not only can I play it again, but everyone can play it again, and ba-bam, there's new blood in the ranks and it's time to relive the past.

silver wolf009:
An aspect I think was left out was the resurgence that a multiplayer aspect might get from a remastered rerelease.

Example: AVP 2, from 2001.

image

I love this game to death, and now that the master server's down, and my disc is cracked on one edge, I can never play it again. And even if I could, I'd have nothing but the empty maps, taunting me with the good times I had way back when.

But what if all of a sudden, this game popped up on Steam? Suddenly not only can I play it again, but everyone can play it again, and ba-bam, there's new blood in the ranks and it's time to relive the past.

I'm pretty sure that's not a remaster. It's literally the exact same game with no CD check.

Unless the source code was tinkered with to fix things.

I'm fearful for the days when the classics of the last few years start being considered for being updated to newer consoles and PC rigs, but there will still be a desire to see Grim Fandango and Farenheit and such games on current systems. We'll reach the point where the schedule will end up like:
Week 1: AAA/Indie game.
Week 2: Remaster game.
Week 3: AAA/Indie game.
Week 4: Remaster game.

And so on until it gets even more crowded.

Evonisia, here is your worst fear.... it has already happened.

The Last of Us on PS3: June 14, 2013
The Last of Us on PS4: July 29, 2014

That is ridiculous. The Last of Us didn't need a new one right away. Maybe at the end of the PS4's life cycle when it would have looked even better and some of the design flaws could have been fixed.

I've got nothing against emulators, but I don't really have anything against paying for the same game multiple times either. When you get right down to it, every new Pokemon game is little more than a prettier and more user friendly version of the previous one, so it's not like there's a huge difference between that and a new port of Resident Evil.

FoolKiller:
Evonisia, here is your worst fear.... it has already happened.

The Last of Us on PS3: June 14, 2013
The Last of Us on PS4: July 29, 2014

That is ridiculous. The Last of Us didn't need a new one right away. Maybe at the end of the PS4's life cycle when it would have looked even better and some of the design flaws could have been fixed.

Same with Tomb Raider, Saints Row IV, Halo 4 (as part of the MCC), among others. I'm just going to assume that this is a transitional thing and the glut will calm down in a few years, and then the nightmare shall begin as we port the hot games to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Another One.

Sands of Time did technically get a re-release on the PS3, alongside the other two PoP games.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Once a creation has been released, bought and critiqued and become part of our shared culture, then the creator has no right to dictate how the audience are permitted to enjoy it

I am so glad I'm not the only person that thinks this. I've been saying it since 1997 and everyone I've ever talked to looked at me like I grew a second head. After a certain point, it belongs to the fans just as much as it does the original creator.

I'm not a fan of remastering either: I'm not sure I would enjoy psychonauts as much if the controls and bugs were cleaned up such that the meat circus hadn't made me want to break controller in half.

There is one thing I can personally say in favor of remastering, it helps people play a game they dont have nostalgia for because they didnt play it when it first released (didnt know about it, didnt know it was good, came out before they got into computers, etc..)
I know that has happened to me before. Homeworld is a game I have been suggested to play repeatedly and even have a copy of it borrowed from a friend, but VMs hate games (and vice-versa), and I just didnt have the energy or motivation to install something that doesn't want to install on my systems, especially if I dont already have nostalgia to play it; however, with it coming out on steam, compatible with my OS, and with improved graphics, I no longer have an excuse not to try it and may get to experience a good game I never would have otherwise (that also assumes that the remaster is actually good).
With that said, I see no reason to remaster a game unless the original no longer runs on modern systems, and even so, it is touchy. Remastering is not always the best (or even a necessary) option. Example for this is Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries, a good game for its time and was a great choice to re-release it for free with updates to make it compatible with modern systems [as well as a few other tweaks] while making MWO (though I do wish it was the whole Mechwarrior 4 series, if not the whole mech series they re-released, but now I'm just getting greedy), and although they could have done major graphics overhauls, the original game was great as it was and what they did was great, and got everyone's pallet wet for MWO.

Im remembering a quote that fits with the semi-extortion of the Gaming industry and its re-releases.

"Nostalgia is heroin for old people." Dara O'Brien, Gamer & Comedian

I dunno, different remasters have different levels of effort put into 'em, and as such can be of varying quality compared to the original. On the best end of the spectrum you've got games like Majora's Mask 3D, which reworked most of its graphics, improved the sample quality of its music (still not orchestra recordings, but definitely sounds better, especially for string instruments), improved the controls, ran at a mostly steady 30fps (original couldn't even maintain 20fps most of the time), added new usability features to improve the flow of the game, and remade the bosses nearly from scratch. These are rare, and tread the narrow line between remaster and remake, and really are worth the money IMO (assuming the game is any good in the first place).

A step down from that, you've got remasters like Final Fantasy X HD, Resident Evil 4, and Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, which improve some textures that especially need it, and add lighting and performance improvements here and there. These are great for people who missed the games the first time around, but maybe not worth the investment unless it's one of your absolute favorite games.

A step lower still is the no effort but technically functional "remasters", nothing but ports by a different name. These pretty much don't change anything but the game's native resolution, and possibly an improved framerate if it's on a newer system. This is the Steam version of Final Fantasy VII, the PS3 version of God of War, and virtually every Dreamcast game that Sega has brought to PC in the last few years. You're often just as well off buying a used copy of the original, ripping the disc to your PC, and emulating it, assuming you can find it cheap enough. Really, these are only worth it if the original is rare, or for a system that can't be emulated well.

Then there's the bottom tier. The ones that, in spite of some nominal improvements, are somehow worse than the original. These are games like Chrono Trigger for the PlayStation, which added unnecessary FMV cutscenes and severe load time problems, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, which managed to completely fuck up its physics, Silent Hill 2 HD with its severe performance problems and mis-rendered effects, and the Steam version of Sonic Adventure which has more problems than I can count and is pretty much inferior in every way to the Dreamcast version.

Ultimately, not everyone had the chance to play every game the first time around. Some people were too young, some were too wrapped up in other games at the time, and some simply missed 'em. I will never begrudge studios for remastering their games in and of itself, for making older games more available to new audiences. I think it's too much to expect every company to put in the same level of effort that Nintendo and Grezzo put into MM3D, but as long as a remaster is done with a modicum of care, I'm fine with the concept. After all, nobody's forcing me to rebuy games I already completed just because they're available on a new system. As long as they're held accountable for crap remasters like Silent Hill 2, I'm happy.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. Edit:

FoolKiller:
That is ridiculous. The Last of Us didn't need a new one right away. Maybe at the end of the PS4's life cycle when it would have looked even better and some of the design flaws could have been fixed.

The Last of Us served an alternate purpose: Porting the engine to the PS4 so they could use it for other things, and so that their devs could gain PS4 experience. While the game didn't necessarily need one, doing so has played a fairly significant role in the development of Uncharted 4, which they hope will be better because of the time and experience invested in The Last of Us Remastered. This is also why it was done by the original devs instead of handed to an external company like remasters usually are.

Is no one going to bother to point out to Yahtzee that reverse compatibility in consoles is getting expensive and hard to execute in modern consoles nowadays? Like it or not, this stuff costs money and I don't think Yahtzee ever considers that anymore.

Gone Rampant:
Sands of Time did technically get a re-release on the PS3, alongside the other two PoP games.

Yes and I can report that they did not fix the tin bath sound design in SoT PS3 HD edition. Also somehow sounds mono for some odd reason.

I question all these people saying "the creators have no right to 'improve' these old classic games"... and yet may have heavily-modded Oblivion or Skyrim installs, and when asked why will respond "the mods fix the game to the way it should have been in the first place." What's the difference between people using popular mods for a game and a company releasing a remastered edition?

Heck, we already have a prime case study for this: the Baldur's Gate games. They're right up there with the Elder Scrolls games in terms of modding community, and they received remastered editions a few years ago. True, the "remastered editions" are mostly just the GOG versions with a pre-selected mod set (and the manner in which these mods were implemented is subject to some debate), but the point remains: what makes modding the original superior to buying the remaster? Choice, in that the individual user can pick and choose what "improvements" he or she desires?

FoolKiller:
Evonisia, here is your worst fear.... it has already happened.

The Last of Us on PS3: June 14, 2013
The Last of Us on PS4: July 29, 2014

What if someone has a PS4 but not a PS3 and wants to play the game? That's a port not a remake.

Ah, Yahtzee. You and I wish to live in the same world. A world where I can play my PlayStataion and PS2 games on my PS3, or at the very least on the PS4. But alas, we are dreamers. We keep asking for it, and we keep getting shouted down. "It costs money! Just plug in your old system! Switch the PC!" But I refuse to give up the dream. Perhaps one day, the ability to play games from multiple systems on one system will come. One day...

silver wolf009:
An aspect I think was left out was the resurgence that a multiplayer aspect might get from a remastered rerelease.

Example: AVP 2, from 2001.

image

I love this game to death, and now that the master server's down, and my disc is cracked on one edge, I can never play it again. And even if I could, I'd have nothing but the empty maps, taunting me with the good times I had way back when.

But what if all of a sudden, this game popped up on Steam? Suddenly not only can I play it again, but everyone can play it again, and ba-bam, there's new blood in the ranks and it's time to relive the past.

Attention publishers.

See that game? That's how you balance single player and Multiplayer and make both fun as all hell.

Please re-release it on steam for me, I'd be ever so grateful and give you all my money!

I'm really surprised we never got a PS2 Classic rerelease of Silent Hills 2 and 3 after that HD debacle. I really want to play those, but I never had a PS2 and I don't want to buy one. It cannot require that much effort to get those running on an emulator on PS3 or, god forbid, a PS4 (which currently has no PS2 classics as far as I know). I do like that the Oddworld game are getting HD updates. While they weren't great games, they were really ahead of their time Getting to play Stranger's Wrath after all these years was a blast and New N Tasty fixed a lot of the PS1 version's problems.

CoyoteSans:
I question all these people saying "the creators have no right to 'improve' these old classic games"... and yet may have heavily-modded Oblivion or Skyrim installs, and when asked why will respond "the mods fix the game to the way it should have been in the first place." What's the difference between people using popular mods for a game and a company releasing a remastered edition?

Heck, we already have a prime case study for this: the Baldur's Gate games. They're right up there with the Elder Scrolls games in terms of modding community, and they received remastered editions a few years ago. True, the "remastered editions" are mostly just the GOG versions with a pre-selected mod set (and the manner in which these mods were implemented is subject to some debate), but the point remains: what makes modding the original superior to buying the remaster? Choice, in that the individual user can pick and choose what "improvements" he or she desires?

You've answered your own question. I'm replaying Fallout: New Vegas with a ton of mods on it. Thing is, some mods sounded good but ultimately didn't work for me. One mod made the day/night cycle more realistic, with night being almost pitch black at its darkest and bright sunlight requiring sunglasses. Now, maybe it's because I'm a filthy casual, but after a while these features became more of a pain in the arse than actually fun. I had to take sunglasses off everytime I went inside. I had trouble doing anything at night. I'd forget I had sunglasses on and be nearly blind in caves. So I uninstalled it. I'm glad I've got that option, I don't want companies deciding to change a game to what it "should" be and changing the experience that much.

Ultimately, the Star Wars Special Edition example was a good one. I think if the Special Editions had each been released with their original versions, no one would have minded. Hell, I LIKE some of the additions to the films. It's just when someone says "No, that experience you loved is gone forever, here's what we think it should be," people are inclined to react badly. Part of the fun of playing an old game is reliving the experience you had before. Tarting up the graphics probably won't impact that too much, but serious gameplay changes should be approached very carefully and with the option to disable them.

darkalter2000:
I feel like you are disregarding people who didn't play the game the first time around. Perhaps because they didn't have a PC, or maybe they just weren't born yet, but for whatever reason a game past them by. The remaster may come about by nostalgia but it introduces new people to the game. And I personally would like a crack at games I was too young for the first time around, but consider far too difficult to get running.

I think this is the problem right there. Who is the audience for remaster games in general because I, just like you, who born too late to experience many games that people regards as "classic" , would find remaster games a great deal. Moreover, some games and consoles are near impossible find or are very expensive, especially where I live so I can understand why some people will find remasters as the only choice to buy old games.

I don't really care so much about the remastering portion of remastered games as I do about having them ported to a new system. I'm concerned about system spread; I want to have as many of my games on as few systems as possible. I'd rather have reverse compatibility, but I will take ports/remasters if that's what it takes.

Somebody really really needs to teach Yahtzee how to perform the correct work around, and what tools are needed to run old games. Like there's one that runs a roll back on Direct X to make old games work. For Master of Orion 2 for example all you need to make it work on vista/7/8, is a to make a batch file that: Performs a task kill on explorer, launches the game, when the game is closed; relaunches explorer. Then you have no issues with that game. Or like Fallout and Fallout 2 where the restoration projects do wonders.

VMs are absolute tripe for running any game because VMs are running with such a handicap it's amazing. You are not going to get optimum performance when you're running one OS inside another.

I'm very much with Yahtzee on this one, in that Remasters as a whole is a hard thing to judge one way or the other. The only thing one can really hope for is that the Remaster is an improvement, and made "right".

The cynical side of me really wants to partially blame Remasters for the lack of console backwards-compatibility. Why make the PS4 backwards-compatible when you can get a bunch of people to buy The Last of Us again, a year later.

The FFX/X-2 Remastering is one of those that is cool on one hand, and utterly fucking egregious on the other. On the positive side, it's a (mostly) beloved game, and the re-mastering was done quite well, it was a 2-for-1 with some extra content, and it was done to a game that could actually benefit from it.

On the other hand, parts of it was absolutely horrible. Why do I have to buy separate games for the PS3 and the PS-Vita, when loads of other titles can transition, save files and all, between the two? Why did they release it for the PS3, where I put in a ton of hours, only to then, a year later, announce that they're releasing it again for the PS4, with (afaik) no way of moving save files?

End of the day, I think I much prefer the GOG route. I'm currently playing KOTOR again for the N'th time, after they released it on GOG. This is a game that would've been close to impossible for me to play not that long ago, and it was simply updated to where it could be run on modern systems, and released at a decent price point. To me, that's preferable, because, like Yahtzee notes, it's not shiny new pixels that sell a Remastering, it's nostalgia.

Not exactly on topic, and kind of nitpicky, but people don't listen to LPs because of the pops, hisses and scratches (not most of them anyway). They mostly do it because LPs often have a different mix than CD and digital versions with a higher dynamic range (the quieter sounds are quieter, the louder sounds are louder).

Most CDs have abysmal Dynamic Range Compression due to the (inaccurate) perception by most labels that louder albums sell better, especially in the rock world. Therefore they usually do a high DRC mix (volume on everything is cranked to 11) and sell that to the mass market (CDs and MP3s) and then make a low DRC mix for LPs because that's where the "audiophiles" are. Google "the loudness war " for more info if you're curious.

Less interestingly (and harder to verify): a lot of LP listeners claim that the tones are "warmer" (softer, less harsh) and more authentic due to the analog nature vs. digital.

TL;DR: Devs can keep their remastered editions. Me and my DOSBox'll be just fine.

The reason the next gen consoles don't have emulation isn't because the companies are lazy and want to make money off of remasters, it's because it literally isn't possible for the xbone and ps4 to emulate the 360 and ps3. People also say how it's bullshit that the ps4 doesn't have ps2 emulation but even that is incredibly difficult. I know that pc gamers love to talk about how they can emulate ps2 games but ps2 emulation really isn't at the level where they could release it on a console. Playstation 2 emulation is very far from being perfect and it isn't a solved problem.

I'd just settle for remasters actually having some proper effort put into them. Grim Fandango was a massive disappointment in that regard; they didn't even re-render the static backgrounds in HD, or indeed at all. Like, look, if you're gonna just re-release it with a thing that makes it run on current systems, do that. But don't try passing it off as a "remaster" just because you were too lazy to make it work without the very latest version of OpenGL.

Well, I used to think remastered versions were not a bad ideea ... but I've changed my mind. Why? Homeworld. I had high hopes for this, an updated interface, new graphics, smoother performance and can run on modern systems. It was, on paper, a perfect remaster. And then I played it ... I will skip the fact that I could make the old Homeworld run easier than the remastered version, that might just be me (and the shity way the game handles vram). But the gameplay of the game I loved was gone forever. Gone were the days of evasive mode, gone were the days when formations mattered, whenskillfull positioning and aproach vectors meant the difference between life and death. The game I loved is gone forever because they fucked with the game engine in the name of "improving" it. If you are a new guy who never played homeworld, fine, go ahead, get the remaster. But any veteran of the old days will despair as his carefully aranged fighter screen devolves into a random chaotic and disorganized swarm the moment contact is made, and all his carefull fleeet positioning goes to hell. Gone are the days of band-boxing orders for repairs and salvage, enjoy having to click and select individual targets. It's a tedious chaotic clickfest where you win by virtue of numbers, not smart tactics. All the fighter and corvete class ships are a waste of cash that will just scatter randomly and get picked off, yet the game still demands the safe level of control and finesse with them it did in the original. Quite frankly ... they fucked up the entire game. It looks preety, but the core is rotten.

I gues I fell into rant there ... sorry about that. The point is: improve graphics all you want, just leave the game as it was. Don't try to "fix" it, you will most likely fuck it up.

'Remaster' nowadays is just a fancy word for port. Still less insulting than 'complete/definitive' editons, way to shit on the people who bought the game when it came out. And also not as stupid as calling ps360 game's port an 'HD' version. That shit gets on my tits like nothing else. It was HD to begin with goddammit!(I mean, yeah sure there were games that technically weren't even 720p, like Halo 3 and Dark Souls, but do you really want to admit that? That the hardware that was supposed to be the first foray in to proper HD territory was too shit to even run games at the lowest resolution that can be considered HD? Or that you were inept when it came to the technical aspects of your game?). Bleh.

It's a shame how many of these higher profile ports and rereleases are hack jobs though.

I wonder if Yahtzee knows that making PS3 games available for PS4 would be extremely costly and unprofitable. The reason is mostly Sonys fault but it's still worth considering. The fact that PS1/2 games can't be played on it is a bunch of bullshit though.

Also there is a big difference between a remaster and a remake. I hope he knows that since he mentioned Majoras Mask. It's not the same game. For the most part it is but that counts as a remake and any changes in it should be fine and seen as a separate product.

Arean:

On the other hand, parts of it was absolutely horrible. Why do I have to buy separate games for the PS3 and the PS-Vita, when loads of other titles can transition, save files and all, between the two? Why did they release it for the PS3, where I put in a ton of hours, only to then, a year later, announce that they're releasing it again for the PS4, with (afaik) no way of moving save files?

I don't get what you're complaining about. You basically want to own two or more copies of the same game for the price of one. What if I complained that I bought Red Dead Redemption for the PS3 and didn't get the 360 version for free? Doesn't' make any sense. Some games are cross compatible and thats cool but a lot aren't and that's not even a problem caused by the game being a remaster.

thanatos388:
*snip*

I don't get what you're complaining about. You basically want to own two or more copies of the same game for the price of one. What if I complained that I bought Red Dead Redemption for the PS3 and didn't get the 360 version for free? Doesn't' make any sense. Some games are cross compatible and thats cool but a lot aren't and that's not even a problem caused by the game being a remaster.

Fair enough, that's more of a personal grievance than a problem with remaster, I admit.

I guess it stems from mostly playing on PC these days. Especially now that digital distribution is a thing, you get used to buying a game once, and then you can use it on whatever platform it's compatible with. I didn't have to pay full price again to install Divinity on my laptop when I went away for the weekend.

To me, things like this just drives home the idea of HD-Remasters as cynically grabbing for nostalgia-driven cash, but again, you're right, this is just a personal grievance of mine. (And good point about the PS3/PS4 thing, I didn't consider that.)

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here