It has been over two and a half years since the Xbox One and Playstation 4 officially launched in the UK and there have been some great original games released across both consoles within that time period. However, as we continue to power our way through July I can’t help get the feeling that we have entered a ‘Remaster era’ with so many video games for last-gen consoles and older getting revamped for our current-gen consoles. Everyone loves playing a classic game but surely we could just buy a retro console and enjoy these games how they were meant to be played?
Remastered Games Are An Exciting Prospect
It’s not that I don’t like the prospect of a revamped classic game but I greeted the leaked information regarding the new remastered Bioshock trilogy with both joy and anguish. The promise of these games being added to Microsoft’s Backward Compatible gaming programme seemed to have diminished which is incredibly frustrating but the good news is I can still play these games on my current-gen console (if I’m willing to shell out more money for a game I already own). Hopefully the slightly better graphics and DLC content will appease my disappointment long enough for me to remember how much I love these games. Even so, I can’t help but feel like I am contributing to lazy game development by purchasing these old game re-hashes, which is obviously the games studios means of prolonging their ability to generate money from old titles. I don’t like to admit it but, if it is the only way to play Bioshock on my Xbox One or PS4 then I will buy the Bioshock Collection, mostly because I’m a sucker for playing great games but we, the gaming public, are not doing enough to encourage game developers to create new, original gaming ventures.
The unnerving truth is that we are seeing more and more remasters for old games. By the end of 2016 we will have had Dead Island: Definitive Collection, Batman: Return to Arkham, The Bioshock Collection, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare and Ratchet and Clank whilst in the past couple of years we have seen Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Gears Of War Ultimate Edition, Unchartered: The Nathan Drake Collection, God Of War Remastered and many more release for our current-gen consoles. Why must our current-gen consoles continue to live in the past? Are we just not ready to move on from our previous consoles or should we blame the game developers for lacking the ambition to try something new? From where I’m standing we should share the blame equally.
The Market Is Dictating Our Remaster Era
It would be narrow minded to think that only one group is responsible for the increasing number of remastered games. The truth is there is a growing number of new customers for each console, some of whom will have never played the original games from their consoles grand history. A fair few of these ‘new’ customers will be gamers who have jumped ship from Mircosoft to Playstation and vice versa as these two companies vie for dominance in the market. Therefore, these remasters allow those gamers to catch up on what they have been missing by pledging their allegiance to the competitor brand, especially when backwards compatibility was not available. The ironic result of doing this is these customers will pledge allegiance to their new console, creating a cycle destined to be repeated after each new console release. Since the PS4 and Xbox one have been around for almost 3 years then this should mean gamers will start seeing more original titles, right? This assumption may be short lived.
Following E3 it has become clear that both Mircosoft and Sony will release their new consoles next year and from what we have been told that they will be the most powerful consoles on the market. With the huge improvements in spec it would be hard to disagree but the worry is that these consoles will prolong the remaster era considerably. As many companies are simply applying a HD veneer to their classic games to deliver the current remastered games it would not be a step to far to assume that these new consoles will create an opportunity to release a host of ‘classic’ games again with a 4K veneer.
Taking it all in
I know that our entire game release schedule isn’t just remasters but my real gripe is that this trend makes it feel like the games development is lagging behind console capabilities and I will pay a lot of money for a new console before seeing the Xbox One or PS4 pushed full throttle. It was only at the end of the Xbox 360’s life cycle that developers were claiming they had pushed the power of the console to its limits and it had a 5 year long life span. The Xbox One is meant to be a step up. It’s a next-gen console but which games are the stand out next gen titles that define this product release? If you have thought of any remastered game then this epitomises my point. Even to this day there is still a lack of original flagship titles for Xbox One and PS4. It could be argued the reason this hasn’t happened yet is because remasters have stifled the potential for both of these consoles. That may be a bit harsh but remastered games do give game developers an excuse to avoid trying something new and unfamiliar by playing it safe (quite literally) with something tried and tested.
At least Call of Duty developers have tried to combine original ideas for CoD: Infinite Warfare whilst also releasing a remastered version of one of their most popular games. I believe this is how remastered games should be released to the gaming public. Unfortunately, there will never be a time whereby all gamers collectively decide to band together and stop buying remastered games leaving a subset of gamers waiting for a new wave of original gaming titles to be released; potentially for a very long time. In the meantime, the very least we can do is enjoy some of the remastered games along the way.
Have your say…
Do you like remastered titles? Or would you rather play original games on your consoles? Whichever view you may have, share it in the comments and let’s settle the score once and for all.