Why Bashing HD Remakes Is Wrong
Every month in Play Magazine, we take a hot topic and look at the arguments for and against. Last week, we gave you Retro Gamer Editor Darran Jones stating the case against the trend for HD remasters on current-gen consoles. This week we present the counter argument from Play Editor Luke Albigés.
It’s all about choice, people. You have to realize that not every PS4 owner was necessarily part of the last generation at all, in which case they would have missed out on some all-time classics. Definitive PS4 versions and remasters allow these fortunate souls to play improved versions of amazing games like GTA V and The Last Of Us without having to buy another console – I don’t see how anyone can argue that’s a bad thing without coming across as somewhat selfish and entitled.
When it’s literally just a visual upgrade (as with Tomb Raider) then sure, these re-releases offer little for returning players to get excited about. But more often than not, developers are going the extra mile to add features and content to the ultimate versions of their games. GTA’s first-person option and vastly improved online suite make it feel new, while Borderlands 2’s four-way split screen option is something I (and many others) have wanted to see for years – maybe the DmC haters will even be able to enjoy the great game now they can play as classic Dante and apply various difficulty tweaks that nudge it closer to the rest of the series. Why would I not want to play the absolute best version of a game I love?
Pricing is something of a thorny issue but so far, I’ve not seen all that many developers really take the piss. Asking full price (or close) for straight ports like Sleeping Dogs and Tomb Raider is a little rich, sure, but just watch the prices tumble when they don’t match new releases in terms of sales – both those games are available for less than £20 already and if you didn’t play them at launch, you presumably aren’t in too much of a rush to do so. Give it a few weeks and that RRP you scoffed at will inevitably be slashed. And in the case of more recent games or those with vast improvements, the simple truth is that they’re /worth/ full price, with the added bonus that you can usually still get a decent amount for the original PS3 version if you’re looking to upgrade.
Whether you like them or not, HD remasters are a necessary evil in a world where development costs are so high that they’re driving even some of the biggest studio to (or over) the brink of closure. Remakes aren’t replacing new releases – they’re funding them. It’s like a more reliable Kickstarter with immediate results. If buying Borderlands 2 – one of my favourite games of last generation – again means 2K has more money to put towards making Borderlands 3 a thing, I’d be an idiot not to support it both financially and in proving there’s still a market for cel-shaded bloodbaths. If you don’t like it, just vote with your wallet. Just remember that if you’re upset or offended by a re-release that’s too soon, too expensive or too lazy, you’re probably not part of the target audience anyway.