Monthly Archives: January 2013
In light of the news of Nintendo making a Wii U remake of the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, today I will be discussing a recent trend in the industry, that being the High-Definition Remake. This trend caught fire last year with several remakes and reboots being released in 2012. This trend has never been more popular in the industry. My question is simple, is this trend good or bad for the industry?
First, a bit of history, after all the remastered collection of older games is nothing new. Nintendo was doing it 20 years ago. Hell, even Sega made a Sonic CD game, but this wasn’t something that happened often. Jump forward to 2003, Square Enix (Squaresoft at the time) remasters the first two Final Fantasy games. Once again, this was an occasional thing but still nowhere near as frequent as they are now. We did get an interesting precursor to this trend in 2007, with Valve’s The Orange Box. Unprecedented at the time, it released five games for the price of one. It sold very well, and is partly responsible for the current trend.
It was in 2009 that this trend began. At the time, Sony Santa Monica was busy developing God of War 3; they had opened a thread on their website asking fans for suggestions for a “Collectors Edition.” Numerous requests were made for a PS3 port of the first two God of War games to be part of the collection. Instead a separate game would be released. Bluepoint Games were hired to remaster God of War & God of War 2, they released it as the God of War collection thus beginning the trend of HD remakes. Bluepoint games went on the make several other remasters, like the Shadow of C0lossus/ICO collection & Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. This trend however, extends beyond simple remasters; entire games have been remade, either graphically or from scratch. Not to mention the reboots.
This past week I’ve thought a lot about new games that don’t sell well, ie; the failed IP (Intellectual Property). I’m talking about the AAA games that were widely marketed, and highly anticipated that seemed destined to turn into franchises, yet failed to meet commercial and critical expectations. Brink, Mirror’s Edge, the 2008 Prince of Persia, and Alan Wake were all heavily marketed, a game that prominent before it’s even released would natrually spawn a sequel yet these games failed to leave an impression. What baffles me is how certain games get a sequel despite these traits. There’s something wrong with the industry when Kane & Lynch gets a sequel, yet Mirror’s Edge doesn’t.
One of the biggest causes of this trend are gamers themselves. Let’s face it, most people who play video games have very specific tastes, some games get around this by adding elements from other genres but this doesn’t work for every game. (Mass Effect and Dead Rising pulled it off but could a cover system in a game like Skyrim?) Some games simply don’t have the genre appeal that others do. Let’s take Mirror’s Edge. For those who aren’t familiar Mirror’s Edge is a stylized first-person parkour-style platformer. How does one market a game like this? It’s not a shooter, but it’s also not a platformer. This unfortunate because Mirror’s Edge is quite unique (something that I don’t say nearly enough about video games), it didn’t sell very well, and that’s not anybody’s fault. It’s not fair to ask a customer to spend $70 on a product they’re not even sure about. The problem is more than just the audience, it’s the very infrastructure of the industry itself.