When should a game be remade?

So recently it was announced that the original Last of Us would be getting a remake titled The Last of Us Part 1. This sparked a lot of controversy mainly due to the fact that a lot of people feel the original game doesn’t need to be remade just yet. And honestly I have to agree. But the outrage around the remake got me thinking. When should a game be remade?

Remaking games has become a bit of a trend in recent years. And seeing as most are received rather well it makes sense why they keep popping up. Remakes like the ones for Resident Evil 2 and the original Crash Bandicoot have not only been well received but have brought their series back in new ways. For instance, Capcom seems rather eager to remake a lot of their Resident Evil games as RE3 got a remake not long after RE2 and a remake of RE4 is coming out early next year. For Crash Bandicoot, it brought enough interest back to the series that a brand new sequel was made! What I’m trying to say is that remakes aren’t inherently a bad thing, but I feel like there are two things that people use to judge whether or not a game should be remade; how long has it been since the original was released and how playable is the original now. Let’s start by tackling the first one, because there surprisingly isn’t really one answer to how long you should wait before remaking a game.

There isn’t some timer for how long you should wait to remake a game. You can’t just say that after 10 years it’s time for a remake or something like that. For example, the Last of Us is 9 years old at this point but still people feel like it’s too soon for a remake. Meanwhile, the remake of the original Resident Evil on the GameCube was only 6 years after the original release of the game on PS1, and that was not considered too soon in the slightest. In fact, the remake of RE1 is often considered to be one of the best remakes of all time. So while you could go ahead and say that people are over reacting to the Last of Us being remade already I don’t think that’s really the case. I actually agree that it’s too soon for one as well, despite also agreeing with the fact that it wasn’t too soon to remake the original Resident Evil just 6 years after it first came out.

While there have been many leaps when it comes to gaming and game systems between the PS3 and PS5 they aren’t as visual or easy to identify as the leaps between the PS1 and the GameCube. Despite the fact you can’t really deny that the Last of Us remake does look better than the original, it’s still not the night and day difference of the RE1 remake compared to the original. There’s also the fact that it isn’t hard to get the chance to play the original Last of Us. With the PS4 remaster years ago, it’s easily available to play now on the PS4 and PS5. It’s these factors that make players feel like a remake can be too soon despite not the actual time that has passed between the two releases.

This brings us to the next thing to consider when it comes to remaking a game though, and that’s how playable is the original. Now, what I mean by ‘playable’ is how has the game aged in terms of controls and playability, and how easy is it to actually get your hands on the game and play it. Plenty of old games have been ported to new consoles after all. Going back to the original Resident Evil again, it was just ported over to the PS5 actually! But a lot of times this is mostly just good for game preservation. I think everyone can agree that the best way to experience RE1 is through the remake rather than the original after all. Which leads in beautifully to the other meaning of ‘playable’ I was talking about as the original version of RE1 is not that playable compared to the remake. A lot of games, especially ones on older consoles, show their age after a few years despite how good they originally were. Just try and go back to Mario 64, by today’s standards it’s really hard to call it an amazing game anymore. As such, remaking a game for the modern age can often feel necessary even if the original is still easy to get your hands on and play. Now this isn’t to say that remakes should replace the original versions of course, but remaking classic games is a great way of reintroducing them to the modern age. So many new people were introduced to Resident Evil through the RE2 remake that I’m sure would have never given the original version the time of day even if it was easy to play on modern consoles.

This ‘playability’ aspect of remaking a game was very much got brought up when it was leaked that Capcom would be working on a remake of Resident Evil 4, a game often considered to be one of the best games ever made. It’s an extremely beloved game and for good reason! The game is a classic, inspired many other games for years and years, and it still holds up to this day. Not only that, you can play it on just about anything at this point with the insane amount of ports and remasters Capcom has put out for it. Because of this though, when the news that a remake was being made broke a lot of people were more worried than excited. Seeing as the game still holds up now a remake seemed really unnecessary. In fact, a lot of people believed that a remake would just serve to ruin the original! While RE4 does hold up to this day, there are a lot of aspects that don’t exactly fall in line with what Resident Evil is now. The series has never taken itself too seriously, even now, but RE4 in particular is very campy and jokey, something that people absolutely love about the game, myself included! But seeing how the series is now, most fans assumed that a remake would take the game in a more serious direction. And when a trailer did finally drop for the game, those assumptions were right. The remake did seem to be losing a lot of it’s humor. However, the interesting thing is, most people didn’t seem to end up caring!

As I said earlier, I am one of those fans that loves the humor of RE4 and I felt that it should be present in the remake as well. But after seeing that first trailer where the remake showed off a new more serious tone? I was 100% on board for this new direction! And I certainly wasn’t the only one as that trailer was met with excitement and praise from the community. Now this could have just been because the people who wanted the humor and campiness to remain were a vocal minority but I don’t think that was the case. I’d like to think a lot of people had the same realization that I did as I realized that even with this remake the original version wasn’t going anymore. While some remakes do aim to replace the original, I don’t think that is the goal with the RE4 remake. The remake is suppose to be a new take on the game which is honestly the best approach they could go for. This way they aren’t really competing with the original, it gives them so much more freedom when it comes to making the remake it’s own thing. This is just a new version of RE4 for a new set of players, the players that got into the series with the recent remakes. And this is an approach I wish a lot of remakes took, especially when you are remaking a game that still holds up to this day. Which is a pretty rare thing but still!

When you try to take the approach of having a remake replace the original you’re going to run into a lot of problems. The biggest one being that the remake might not even feel like a remake. The somewhat recent remake of Demon’s Souls ran into this issue actually. I don’t think anyone would argue that the original version of Demon’s Souls on the PS3 is the best way to play the game or that anyone should try to play it that way if they have access to the remake. But at the same time a lot of players were upset that not much was really changed for the remake. Sure the game looks gorgeous and runs beautifully but beyond that and some minor changes, like updating the character creator, nothing was really changed from the original. It left some players feeling a bit hollow on the whole experience despite everyone having a good time with it as there was certainly more that could use changing than just those aspects. This is very much the reception I expect the remake of the Last of Us to get as well. It will no doubt be a pretty game but not much is going to have changed from the original. However, to make things worse, the original version of the Last of Us is not only still very playable but also very easy to get your hands on, unlike with Demon’s Souls.

The one thing I will give the Last of Us remake is that it really made me think about what justifies a remake in the first place. The main complaint about this remake in particular is that it’s too soon, which is and isn’t true. It’s been almost 10 years since the original game came out but given that it’s still fresh in peoples minds as well as still playable now on modern consoles, I would agree that it is too soon to remake it even if it’s technically true that it has been a long time since the original came out. While the remake could be great, right now it just feels like Sony is wanting to cash in on a series they know is extremely popular rather than actually asking themselves “when should a game be remade?”

But those are just my thoughts! What are some of yours? Are there any remakes you really enjoyed? What do you think justifies a remake? I’d love to hear your thoughts so don’t be shy!

And thank you for taking the time to read the post! If you enjoyed it feel free to leave a Like or share the blog with a friend. You can also follow the blog on WordPress or on Twitter if you want to stay up to date on new posts. Also if there’s a topic you’d like me to discuss sometime, go ahead and tell me in the comments! Any interaction is appreciated, even just viewing this post, so thanks again for stopping by.

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