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Remake or Reboot: Gamemakers keep old characters alive

October 10, 2013

 

IAN EDWARDS
Staff Reporter

 

While sequels are nothing new to gaming, you either like them or you do not, remakes are trends that have become more prominent in recent years.

 

However, there have been two distinct kinds of remakes: the High Definition Collection and the franchise reboot.

 

With HD Collections, multiple entries in an old franchise, usually two or three, are re-mastered in high definition, packaged together and usually sold at a lesser price.

Left: DANTE from original ‘Devil May Cry’  Right: NEW DANTE from ‘DmC: ‘Devil May Cry

Left: DANTE from original ‘Devil May Cry’ Right: NEW DANTE from ‘DmC: ‘Devil May Cry

 

Starting in 2011, numerous franchises, many of which can be called classics, have seen HD Collection versions. Examples include PlayStation 2 platformer classics like the “Jak and Daxter” series to the high-speed action series “Devil May Cry.”

 

Generally, which franchises will see the HD treatment depends on the publisher. Konami in particular seems to love the idea.

 

Over the past two years, they have released collections for their horror series “Silent Hill,” their cult classic mech game “Zone of the Enders” and two separate collections for their flagship stealth series “Metal Gear Solid.”

 

The popularity of HD Collections among publishers, and the fans, continues today with “Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix” which hit shelves in September to positive reviews, as well as “Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD” looming on the horizon.

 

While HD Collections usually release to fan satisfaction, reboots are usually a higher point of contention.

 

Reboots are when a publisher decides to attempt to revive a dying franchise or market an old franchise to a new generation.

 

Unlike HD Collections, reboots have a higher pressure to impress the existing fans of the franchise, or sales will usually plummet.

 

Case in point: January’s reboot of “Devil May Cry,” strangely titled “DmC: Devil May Cry.” Nearly all the style and speedy, complex action that drew fans to the franchise was replaced with simplified, plodding combat and a “darker and edgier” story that came off as a juvenile teenage rebellion story.

 

Fans were not pleased that instead of a proper fifth installment to the franchise, they received a game that only bore resemblance to the franchise in name, and the game reached way under publisher Capcom’s target sales.

 

To be perfectly honest, I do not blame any type of remake for the decline of original and varied games. Instead, you should look to development costs.

 

As development costs for AAA games (the equivalent of blockbuster movies) rises, publishers feel less and less confident putting money into a project that they think will not return a substantial profit or will not be able to be turned into a franchise of its own.

 

So next time you are walking near the electronics section of Walmart and see the newest copy of “Uninspired Shooter Number 75” sitting on the same shelf as an HD Collection of a PlayStation 2 game from nine years ago, think long and hard about which one is truly worth your time and money.

 

Email comments to ije001@latech.edu. 

 

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