Is our obsession with video game remakes hurting the potential for new ideas?

I Read this week's news about the recently announced Mafia: trilogy, where 2K curiously described each entry in the collection. The original mafia will be a remake Mafia II will be a remaster and Mafia III will be a reintroduction. I was blind to this new jargon. I just had the difference between a remake and a remaster in my head, but "reintroduction"? What does that mean anyway?

As video games have reached a plateau in terms of graphical fidelity, and platforms have become more open and accessible than ever, the promise of a remake has become an enticing opportunity for developers and publishers, from the loyalty of gamers to old games and franchises want to benefit from their heyday.

But does this hinder the potential for new IPs? As well as Mafia: trilogyIn the past week alone, we had news about a Tony Hawks Pro Skater Remake and potential Diablo II Remaster. Over the next two months, remakes, remasters and re-launches of Destroy all people!, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom, Burnout paradise and Command and conquer are all presented to an audience who wants to put on their pink glasses and want to experience the not too distant past.

I have no problem with it in practice – in fact I'm looking forward to some of the remakes coming this year. Mafia: Definitive Edition looks fantastic and I have a weakness for Fight for bikini bottom. I'm just worried that our laser focus on remaking the same old games will inevitably suppress creativity across the board.

SpongeBob fight for Bikini Bottom Remake
"SpongeBob SquarePants: Fight for the Bikini Bottom"

From a business perspective, this makes perfect sense. New IPs are an inevitable risk, and sequels and remakes are easy money. "The game was great … so do it again!" is a sentence most likely to be repeated by executives in development studios worldwide.

This does not mean that a remake cannot be innovative and fresh. Look at Final Fantasy VII remake or Resident Evil 2, for example. Bluepoint Games recently made practice an art form with their interpretation of Fumito Ueda Shadow of the colossus. However, it should be remembered that these sacred titles, which we are happy to release, had to start as a new IP.

Perhaps our obsession with remakes is due to the fact that we have to play every game that has ever been good – every player has an endless backlog and this is an elusive series that one day he will get.

However, there is nothing wrong with experiencing the classics over a new IP that takes these features into account and makes them really special. I have never played Earthbound, but I feel like I understand this game better because I played it Undertale.

outer wilderness
‘Outer Wilds’

2019 in particular has been a great year for new real estate, although there could still be a few more. We saw unique games control, Outer wilderness, Disco Elysium and Death stranding Get the spotlight – all imaginative experiences that gave us all something new to think about.

But if there isn't something they really want to say, I hope we don't just get direct sequels to one of these games. I would like to see how developers do what they have learned from the process of doing something new and transforming this genius into something even more experimental and interesting.

It would be great to see them answer the curious questions that were raised during manufacturing and that they had to leave on the floor of the cutting room.

Elsewhere, the indie game market is constantly innovating and generating new ideas. Unfortunately, the best of the group are often co-opted by AAA studios when they get into the mainstream, where they can flip a brand and sell gangbusters. But this lucrative script of creativity is the future, and a simple scroll through itch.io on a particular day will show you this.

Spirit of Tsushima
"Ghost Of Tsushima". Photo credit: Sucker Punch

The layered way in which we compare games and the drawer of the "genre" have made us a too harsh critic before we can get our hands on anything new. A common answer you'll hear online is that a game looks good, but not quite The Witcher 3 or whatever game currently has critical consensus. But if we keep every game at the peak of last year's best deal, especially before it's released, how will we ever get ahead?

Of all the so-called "big games of 2020" only dreams, Spirit of Tsushima and Cyberpunk 2077 are inherently new and don't stick to a franchise name as a point of reference for players.

I think a more welcoming attitude towards new IPs and a stronger focus on indies would help the gaming industry grow and break new ground for interaction. We always talk about the latest technology, but we can't really make the most of it if we don't let go of the comforting embrace of the games we've played before.





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