Remasters: Innovative update or shameless cash grab?

In the past few years, there has been a rise of remastered games hitting the shelves of our local CEX’s and GameStops. Remasters have always been commonplace within the gaming industry. They are made when new gaming systems allow a company that is in-between projects and is a safe bet on making money. Fans usually enjoy the remastered versions because they hit that blend of nostalgia, better graphics and new gameplay, as popular remasters such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, and Ratchet & Clank have seen in sales.

However, there has been massive debate over remasters, and you’re probably wondering why. Surely, getting to experience one of your favourite games from when you were a child remastered for your modern console is a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. 

There’s no denying that Crash, Spyro, and Ratchet & Clank deserved remaster. They were massive hits in the late 90s/2000s era, and remastering them allows them to garner a new audience with a younger generation. Here, developers can see if these characters are worth creating new games for. At the recent PlayStation 5 reveal, Ratchet & Clank reappeared, looking more impressive than they did in their PlayStation 4 remaster. This is when remastering works, when it helps facilitate the creation of new media for the franchise. 

On the other side of the debate, from playing the recent remasters of Crash Bandicoot N’ Sane Trilogy and Spyro Ignited Trilogy, I found that the games were missing their awkward charm. It didn’t feel like playing a significant game from my childhood, it felt like playing a kids game, and that’s fine, it just means I’ve grown out of it. Remasters for these kinds of games are made to profit off of nostalgia. Not much was added to the games stories, but they were given a shiny lick of paint that would draw in a young audience, and the older audience who would be drawn in by that comforting feeling of: “Oh, I know Crash, we were buddies when I was a kid, I’m going to enjoy this.” 

In reality, playing these remasters felt like the original games had been introduced to the crew from Queer Eye. The games that had been a little awkward, messy, and a bit dull, but they still had great features anyways. The remasters simply gave them a makeover that they deserved, they would match the great features they always had, but they’re still the same game as all those years ago; they just look a lot better. 

But the biggest offenders are the remasters that forego any sense nostalgia and use the remaster when they see a dip in sales. There have been plenty of remasters that have been blatant cash grabs. Naughty Dog released The Nathan Drake HD Collection for PS4 before the release of Uncharted 4, or the remaster of The Last of Us which made its way to PS4 a year after its release on PS3, the game was literally just The Last of Us but it’s on PS4 now. The Last of Us remaster was just blatantly offensive, charging full price for a game that’s been out over a year and at the time the only difference was the game looked a little better? 

There are so many remasters out there that did not put in the amount of effort that the teams that worked on Crash, Spyro, and Ratchet & Clank. With the release of the Playstation 5 on the horizon and what looks like more remasters on their way too, will people be buying the same games they have for the PS4, but with the promise of a new look on the PS5? 

Porting a game over and over again to a new console isn’t going to make us want to play it more *cough* GTA V *cough*, but taking games from our childhood that are classics that actually deserve the remaster? Sure, tap into my childhood nostalgia, use it for your marketing ploy, and take my money!

Where do you fall on the remaster debate? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit via Flickr.com

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