Why HD remasters are good for the gaming industry

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Remastered games are re-releases of older titles that are given resolution and performance boosts. Due to their low production costs and instant popularity, remasters for the last generation of gaming consoles were quickly released one after the other by the gaming industry. And this trend continues among the newer, next-gen consoles.

In 2014, we saw the re-releases of recent games like The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V, and the return of long forgotten hits such as Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts II. This year gamers will also see the return of games like Dark Souls II, Devil May Cry 4, Resident Evil, and more.

The sudden growth of interest in remastered games, however, also led to quick, shoddy ports that crippled the original experience and were clearly intended to be cash-grabs. Although there were a few poorly executed reboots, remastered games are ultimately beneficial to the industry and the market for several important reasons.

Donald and Goofy in glorious 1080p

Donald and Goofy in glorious 1080p

First, remasters are important bridges that connect older gamers with their younger gaming counterparts.  It’s also a great opportunity that gives newer generations of players a chance to experience classic games that deserve to remain relevant and appreciated. Together, these result in a bigger fan base and reinvigorates interest in franchises that have been dormant for years. Furthermore, the income gained from the re-releases can be used by the publishers to fund new installments in the series. I’m sure no one can deny that (re)playing classic games from the PS2-era are far more enjoyable when it’s running at a high definition resolution.

'The Last of Us' PS3/PS4 Comparison

‘The Last of Us’ PS3/PS4 Comparison

Second, remastered games help fill the gap and the drought of software that new consoles always go through upon initial launch. If gamers were given a choice between having a re-release of a great game or having no game at all, the consensus would be a no contest in favor of the former. Detractors may argue that developers are wasting their time remastering old games when they should be working on a new projects. This point, however, is weakened by the fact that most of these remasters are typically appointed to the talents of outside developers who have nothing to do with the company that originally produced the games. A great example of this is Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. Bluepoint Games, an independent developer, handled the ports, while Kojima Productions, the original developers, focused on new things.

HD remastered version of Final Fantasy Type-0, a game that was never released in the west.

HD remastered version of Final Fantasy Type-0, a game that was never released in the west.

Lastly, these remastered games usually come packed with new content that players have not experienced before. Whether it be content that was never released in the west like Kingdom Hearts II’s Final Mix content or entirely new features like Grand Theft Auto V‘s first person mode, they encouraged players both old and new to give the re-release a chance. A prime example of this is Square Enix’s Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, an old PSP game that was never localized or released outside of Japan. By remastering the game for current consoles, Square Enix is able to reach an entirely new audience and provide current fans a chance to play the game.

Despite some differences of opinion, remastered games are something the gaming community should learn to accept and appreciate. They give gamers a second chance to enjoy the various hit titles that may have been missed the first time around. And for those who have already played the games the first time around, the plethora of new content packed into these re-releases make double-dipping especially worthwhile.

About Author

Won Jun Ma was born in South Korea and raised in Irvine, CA. He moved up to Santa Barbara, CA to study English and Math at UC Santa Barbara. He is an avid gamer who follows the video game industry. Won has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, enjoys going on lengthy hikes, and considers himself a hip hop junkie by and large. He also likes playing various tunes on his clarinet; but what he would actually like to do is learn how to jam on the harmonica like a pro.

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