While it’s common practice in the modern gaming scene, committing to remastering or remaking a classic game is a risky business. People are very attached to their favorite games and don’t want to see new development teams tamper with them in case they ruin the experience and sully the memories.
However, there’s also an intense longing among gamers who have experienced the consoles of old, with people wanting to indulge in some nostalgia and play the games again, knowing that they’ll enjoy the experience. Of course, due to how gaming has evolved over the decades, many titles are locked in the past.
While the scene is moving forward into new realms like cloud gaming, some developers have decided to take the risk and remake classics. There are many ways to remaster or remake a game for the modern audience, with the following games having seen their developers take quite different approaches to resurrect top-quality titles from history.
All-but directly porting to a new console
A lot of the time, we see games get pulled from historic consoles to be updated with new gameplay, graphics, and story aspects – as we’ll see below – but some developers want to resurrect a game almost exactly to the letter. Players have fond memories of older games, and even though the graphics may be outdated, they’ve still earned their place as a classic.
Aspyr has specialized in porting video games to Apple devices for decades, but now, it is porting classic games to modern consoles, including the likes of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. The welcomed near-direct port of Jedi Knight II was followed by yet another classic from the glory days of Star Wars gaming, with another on the way.
With Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, though, a few additional tweaks had to be made, but without radically changing the gameplay or graphics. The former 2003 release was keeping the original spirit of the game modes while updating the controls for it to be playable on modern systems. Aspyr’s efforts appear to be resonating with an audience as they also have a remake of Star Wars Episode I: Racer on the way.
Adapting to a drastically different system
It’s commonplace for a console game also to be released on PC, and vice versa in many instances. So, even when people want to uninstall their Steam launcher, some will be able to turn to console gaming. Or, if someone wants to upgrade their experience, they can get into PC gaming. However, the hottest gaming platform on the market right now is mobile, which is, naturally, seen as an inferior platform.
About four years ago, though, developers saw the power of Apple’s mobile devices – primarily their iPads – as being capable of hosting a rather deep, classic PC game. Rome: Total War may go down as one of the franchise’s greatest ever titles, and its move to tablets was nearly perfectly executed. While the controls are more fiddly, the game itself is all there to give Rome a new, portable, and modern appeal.
Creating a new format to revitalize the game
We’ve seen two very distinct showcases of games embracing completely new and innovative technologies to bring old games new life and new appeal: virtual reality and live casino. In VR gaming, the Half-Life franchise, which has seen its fair share of remakes, has been reborn after 15 years as Half-Life: Alyx. In live casino gaming, the classic card game of blackjack has reached new heights of popularity.
Both VR gaming and live casino gaming offer a brand new way for people to experience classics in an even more immersive form. Of all of the types of blackjack available online, it’s the live games that are played in real-time against human dealers that command the largest audiences. The level of immersion that can be lost in playing digital games has been fully restored in live casino gaming and has been dramatically enhanced in virtual reality titles.
Remaking enough to make it a new-ish game
Some remake releases want the best of all worlds. They want to appeal to the original fans, draw in new fans that hadn’t played the game before, and have some creative license to alter aspects of the gameplay and story. This is what’s happened in the recent wave of popular remakes.
Before buying any of the remakes for Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, or Final Fantasy VII, players scanned the internet to find all of the key differences between the originals and remakes. FF7 perhaps saw the most radical changes, set to be released episodically with more depth added to the story. Still, both RE2 and RE3 made key changes to the gameplay and story too. In the end, though, all three went down well enough with fans and critics, offering a blend of new gaming with nostalgia.
Whether it be through direct ports, adaptations to new technology, or much greater changes to the game, there are many ways that developers can successfully remake or remaster classics to give them modern appeal.