Let’s Think Deep: Rethinking Remakes

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Orioto's Deviant Art of Super Mario World isn't a concept for a real remake, but would we really want the game remade?

As you probably discerned, yesterday was April 1st and therefore, Square Enix hasn’t really confirmed a remake of Final Fantasy VII. This would be the point where I slowly shrug my shoulders and say “April Fools?” to the three or four of you that read the article. While writing it, I didn’t really think I’d have anyone fooled, so think of it more like a Games You Should Have Played that fell on April 1st. But the whole time I’m typing, remembering Final Fantasy VII, I got to thinking. And you know what happens when I start thinking. Eventually I start Thinking Deep. So Let’s Think Deep about which games should be remade, or if games should even be remade in the first place.

The Trouble With Classic Developers

Square Enix has been extremely wishy-washy with the official word of a Final Fantasy VII remake, flipping back and forth between saying they’d like to do it, admitting that it’d take too long and cost too much, and then speculating that it may actually be possible. I find this really strange since the first six Final Fantasy games, including Tactics, have been remade repeatedly, pretty much whenever a new console hits. Consider the very first Final Fantasy: It was originally on the NES/Famicom, then ported to the Playstation, then ported to the GBA, then ported to cell phones, then ported to the PSP, and at some point dumped on the Virtual Console. Not every one of those is a straight port though. Some are complete overhauls of graphics, music, and content. Eventually that just gets ridiculous.

Oh, so now I can play it with really crappy cutscenes? That's...that's new I guess.

If you were to ask me, my favorite Final Fantasy is always going to be VI, mostly because it was my first. I hated IV, though I blame myself for playing VI first. You just can’t take a step back like that. Regardless, I tried playing the SNES version and couldn’t stand it. I tried again when it was ported to the Playstation and couldn’t stand it. I then bought the GBA port (do you see a trend with Square Enix?) and forced myself to finish the game. Sadly, the very next year I got the DS remake for Christmas. It’s still sitting on my shelf, still in the wrapping, mostly because I have no desire to attempt to play the same game a fourth time. I’m ashamed to say that I own three versions of Final Fantasy VI as well and completely expect to buy the DS remake when that inevitably happens.

I can’t entirely fault Square Enix. RPG’s take a long time to make, it’s tough to come up with new stories, and there is an established fanbase that will pretty much pick up every remake you make of them, such as Chrono Trigger or any of the Final Fantasy games. Other companies to do the same thing were Ubisoft by remaking Konami’s Turtles in Time, Capcom for remaking the Mega Man series, Street Fighter II, and all the Resident Evil games into oblivion, Konami for remaking Metal Gear Solid on the GameCube, and of course Nintendo for remaking the Mario Bros games whenever they haven’t done anything for a while.

The Few Positives

So before I start going off on the negative reasons for a remake, let’s pause and look at the positives, shall we? We’re at a time now where it seems like everyone who wants to play games is currently doing so, and for me it may seem odd that someone hasn’t played Ocarina of Time by now but there’s the chance that someone never had the opportunity to play it when it first came out. That’s the big benefit at work here: Remakes give new gamers the opportunity to play some classics they might not have missed. Beyond that, remakes give the game developers a chance to perfect the games past the original luster, meaning that a fantastic classic game can only get better, in theory. Plus, some gamers who had the game originally may have sold it, lost it, or just don’t have it for one reason or another and now that they have the new system, a remake of their favorite game from the past is a welcome treat. That’s all good and well, but I think the negatives spoil the fun for everyone.

We’re in an age now where a port of a classic isn’t difficult to find or download from the Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, or the Playstation Network. Most of the big favorites are there, just waiting to be snatched up for a reasonable price compared to the actual classic cartridge or disc. A remake now just seems pointless to me. Did I really need yet another chance to play Resident Evil? I’ve had plenty of chances, so another “remake” that uses motion controls becomes irrelevant to me.

Squeezing Every Penny From The Loyal Fans

So they dropped the idiotic partner from the cover in favor of the one that was SUPPOSED to try and kill me. Good trade.

Which brings me to another point: Games that get “remade” way too fast. I’m going to continue bashing Capcom for the Resident Evil games now because I just finished Resident Evil 5, begrudgingly but of my own free will, and now they’ve released the Gold Edition, a version that includes all the DLC that should have been on the game when it first released. I waited close to a year to play the game because I don’t have the money to buy everything I’d like, so waiting for a used copy to drop to a very reasonable price of $15 is a common practice in my home. I feel like I wasted my money, but then again, at least I didn’t buy it Day One for $60, only to then have to pay for each new piece of DLC, and then see the “good” edition released, as if to mock me or say, “Thanks for your loyalty, now buy it again.”

Nintendo and their Mario games, while fantastic, don’t need any more remakes. Did you realize that there wasn’t a single new Mario platformer between the original Game Boy and the DS? The Game Boy Color had a remake of Super Mario Bros, and the Game Boy Advance had remakes of Super Mario Bros 2 and 3, and Super Mario World 1 and 2. That’s why New Super Mario Bros was such a big deal for Mario fans. Finally, a new Mario platformer in the style we all remembered. I was just ticked to see these remakes on the handhelds since I already owned the console versions of each, plus I had Super Mario All Stars, the definitive remake collection of the Mario Bros games. Why would I want to buy these games yet again? The convenience of having them on a handheld? Why? I’d much prefer a new game on the handheld, thanks.

This is really all the Mario you ever need, especially if you find the version that includes Super Mario World as well.

Pokemon just saw the release of the Gold and Silver version remakes, though the constant milking of Pokemon fans’ money isn’t new. Heck, the basic business practice behind Pokemon revolves around the inability to obtain every single Pokemon by yourself or with a single game pak. That was the beauty of having a Red and a Blue version to begin with; making the key differences 10 Pokemon unique to each game. That was it. Couldn’t get Meowth in Red, couldn’t get Scyther in Blue. Then Yellow version was released, a remake of the two, almost a “Greatest Hits” version of Pokemon, and even that didn’t contain all 151 Pokemon on a single pak. Every subsequent generation has had a “Greatest Hits” or “remix” version of the two main versions, i.e. Crystal, Emerald, and Platinum versions. Things got really sneaky when Ruby and Sapphire required you to have FireRed and LeafGreen, the remakes of Red and Blue version, to complete everything, and how Diamond and Pearl required you to have LeafGreen, FireRed, Sapphire, Pearl, Pokemon Ranger, Pokemon Coliseum, and Pokemon XD just to come anywhere near filling your collection out, not including event-only Pokemon. That’s just unacceptable, especially since each new Pokemon game isn’t really anything new, just more Pokemon that act like all the Pokemon that came earlier. There hasn’t even been a significant graphical or sound quality upgrade since the first ones, as I mentioned in my review of SoulSilver/HeartGold.

And guess what I bought the second it came out?

Slamming Capcom yet again, this time for Street Fighter II, it seems entirely irrational to realize that just about every year since Street Fighter II was released a new edition came out that tweaked the gameplay mechanics and added new playable characters, sometimes characters that were already in the earlier versions but that you weren’t allowed to play as for some reason. One new edition, Street Fighter II Turbo, literally added a Turbo option for the game speed. That was its main improvement, and yes, it was certainly an improvement. But then there was Super Street Fighter II, followed by Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and most recently, Street Fighter II HD, the now “definitive” version to own. It took years and years before Capcom made Street Fighter III. Now we have Street Fighter IV being re-released this year as Super Street Fighter IV with new characters and more tweaks that Capcom swears couldn’t have just been DLC or a free patch to the already existing game. Simply put, if you already bought Street Fighter IV, you’ve wasted your money because the better version is about to be released.

The flamming body represents the loyal fans while the Shoryuken represents our inability to know any better.

That’s one of the biggest aggravating factors to remakes for me. Even director’s cuts of movies bother me like that. Final Fantasy VII Advent Children really frosted my cookies. I bought the US DVD release the first day I could and I loved the hell out of it because the movie was awesome. Just recently, a better edition of the same movie came out, one that Other Chris can conclusively say is better than the original version, the version I own. This doesn’t make me want to buy it again. Rather, this makes me question every release a company makes since I have to wonder, “Will this be released as a better game within a year or two?” That sort of remaking practice only manages to create a sense of distrust between customers and the companies, and to that I say “No Thank You.”

Hey, I already bought this movie. Isn't it enough that I'm ALREADY supporting the company?

But what games could really use a remake now? Classic games, like Pac-man and Tetris, have been remade into the ground but nothing has changed since they first appeared other than they’re now on every single console or cell phone available. I’m trying to think of a game that really, really NEEDS a remake, and I find myself coming up short. Fighting games don’t need remakes; they just need full updates with new characters and abilities. Sports games are typically the same game year to year with new rosters and stats, so there’s no point in a sports title remake, either. Really, I can’t think of a game I’d like to see a remake of more than I’d rather see an entirely new continuation. Can you?

A Conclusion!

And there’s where I end and you pick up the conversation. Are there games you really do believe deserve a complete remake? Are there remakes that you feel entirely overshadow the original? I want to know, so leave a comment and tell me your options. But do bear in mind, there’s a good chance I’ll just redo your comment to better reflect what I’d prefer you said.

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

11 Comments

  1. Two games need to be remade in my opinion…. Earthbound (though I know it won’t happen due to the music likeness that is too expensive to remake), and Eternal Darkness. Earthbound, just because it is probably one of my favorite games of all time and Eternal Darkness because you can take the insane, twisted nature of that game and turn into something truly creepy.

  2. Holy Bucket’s Final Fantasy 8 look’s amazing im through the Fire Cavern that one is look’s to dang good though it is amazing along with the bomb’s creature’s and some ather part’s
    are look’s amazing also it’s ganna matched the charecter’s though including the ragnorok
    what i wrote it i think the landscape’s surpass FF7 remake though ……whisper…what…..
    part’s…i..just…did.

  3. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet this is so awsome way freaking awsome man their’s rpg maker comming
    soooooooooooooooooooon for PLAYSTATION THREE HIP HIP HURRAY HIP HIP HURRAY.

  4. Now im on disc 2 right now and i got pretty far on it where i got the Balamb garden going into
    the ocean now and ive ben cuising around what i see i think this game will be more amazing
    yet like it could match the red ragnorok on the certain area’s like at esthar city and the ather
    area where you get odine spacialy in that area to and have like the ragnorak have it super
    fast like have the ragnorak kick the ocean in mid air in two line wave’s by going super sonic
    beside’s the project will be just humungus though it need’s that their.

  5. Yeah I think Final Fantasy 7 remake ganna be tramoundous project greatest game ever i think
    nothing cannot take advatage of what i heard from their going to build so huge how they put the
    ocean together big super high mountain’s traveling through i guess square enix are going to push them self big limit to this project on final fantasy 7 remake and what part’s i just did.

  6. Fan’s im ganna get Final fantasy 8 Ready to here if square enix make anather compilation forum or something but i need to get far on it first to get to third disc to get to flying ship once
    i get the air ship im ganna start figuring what part’s way i put it though and it’s ganna look deep
    far like final fantasy 7 and it seem’s like final fantasy 7 remake by square enix.

  7. I’m glad you shared that. FFVII is one of those very special titles that causes incredible reactions in one of two ways: Either glowing praise or loathing disgust. When I first played it, something about it connected to me incredibly deeply. I cried when the credits rolled because I wanted to know what happened to the characters I fell to love. I couldn’t let them go. Later on, Advent Children gave me a sense of closure, but then Dirge of Cerebus changed things. I started to feel that my emotions were being used against me to sell more copies, almost like Square-Enix was ransoming new things. “You want to know what happens next? You’d better get a PS3, and a PSP, and a cell phone, etc.” The emotions I once felt for the game soon changed from love to anger. How could a company take advantage of me so much? I made me cynical, bitter, and ultimately unhappy with my original experience. I worry that this instance is felt by more people than just myself, and because of it I take the reluctant stance to remakes. Then again, I’m pretty excited about the Ocarina of Time remake with a fixed Water Temple, so maybe I need a dose of my own advice.

  8. Hi.

    You were talking about the remake of Final Fantasy VII, and u have a really good point there. I just couldn’t stop myself writing what came into my thoughts, just reading ur text.

    First i have to say that i don’t really can call myself of any of kind of gamer. I’m just a girl who’d felt love with these amazing stories of the games (particularly FF games) . Before i tried to play myself i had a habit to say: “Why don’t u read a good book? There’s story, and it’s good.” But now when i have played, i can really understand. It’s like reading a very good book or watching a really good movie. Now You had a change to be part of it.

    And it’s not like a sad kind of way. I can say that I am very social person, but everyone needs something own sometimes, don’t u think? When u have stress at your work or school, you can just turn your console on and there you go – into some kind of fantasy world, have a chance for at once just be really inside something else than your usual “boring” life. I find this really relaxing some days, and i can compare it to a very pleasant dream.

    But now we can reach the real point what i was about to say. I started my “gamer career” few years ago, before the time of ps3, but in the time where ps2 was existing. I had already experienced the beauty of a games in that time (like ff x) which were (in my opinion) pretty pretty then and now.

    Once i just happened to listen some music from FF VII. It was the main theme, and really obsessed me until i remembered where i had heard it before. I remembered my brother playing it when i was really little. Now the game haunted me: i had to try it.

    Now, when i have played FF VII, i must say that it’s the most stunning game i have ever played because of it’s story and characters. Story’s a bit “fetched from the far” (can’t really say the correct translation, this is a proverb in my native language, Finnish) but still amazing and fascinating.

    But when i played it i couldn’t stop wondering what this and this (like a scene from Shinra building, when Cloud and others wake up from their cells and have to wonder around the aisles that are covered with blood and bodies) would look with graphics from this day (2010). Phew..

    Now I am so sorry that i have been spoiled with beauty this way. If i hadn’t saw what games can really be this day i would have enjoyed so much more. I think i wouldn’t be here writing this right now.

    In my opinion many FF stories are a bit childish.. Maybe is only relied to a person who’s speaking. For me FF VII is very different from that. It really appeals for me. It’s spooky, sad and desperate. It’s also controversial if u compare it to a real world.. How about we all sucking out our only planets resources until it’s too late to stop thing we are causing for it?

    All the speeches from the remake of FF VII really brakes my heart, because somewhere deep inside i know it won’t happen. At the same time i know it will happen. Maybe i’ll be waiting rest of my life.

    Huh. Sometimes i really hope i had never played anything… Playing some good game is very strange, it’s very hard to explain this to any outsider. I wonder are there anyone else feeling this strong.

    Hahah.. What a story. But the main point was really that i think they should make the whole package again… Maybe my opinion is really just a big cliché among others.

    Well, I just want to think everything in a childish way. Don’t want to think how hard it would be, how much time it would take, how many would crush the outcome… Maybe this all is just that we can’t really forgot that world where Cloud and others are living.

    Some thing are supposed to left the way they are.
    Some things are not.

  9. The games that need remade are games that *were* good but have fallen off the gamer radar because they’re too old or too crappy looking.

    I’m not a graphics-make-the-game gamer, but I have to admit that some of my favorite retro games from the NES and even PSX days hurt my eyes, even if the gameplay is still there. But when a game gets nothing more than a graphic makeover, it feels like a rip off paying more than $10.

    I really enjoy the remakes that take the basic concept of a game and tweak it just enough…they don’t over tweak it, or under tweak it…they find that balance.

    I can point to Pac-Man CE and even Galaga Legions on XBLA. Both of those are essentially new titles that turn up the volume of some beloved titles. These are games that had a hay day and have since become old hat and stale. Who doesn’t have Pac-Man on their computer? Just re-releasing Pac-Man isn’t enough, they had to make it better…and PM:CE does that.

    Remaking these retro titles is a great way to keep us older gamers happy by updating some memories while at the same time pulling in new gamers that would have otherwise overlooked Galaga and 1942 because they’re “old” and “look bad”.

    Direct ports of games are great and all (I’m stoked for the After Burner Climax release this month), but a new take on something old is always more fun.

    I think you’ve motivated me to write my own post of games that should get remade, and that list is long…
    …Road Rash …Smash TV …Trap Gunner …Captain Skyhawk …The Immortal …NARC …Operation Wolf …Blackthorne …Daytona USA (actually, SEGA could probably port their whole arcade collection to XBLA and I’d be happy)

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