DELAY. REMASTER. REPEAT: THE WORRYING TRENDS PLAGUING THE INDUSTRY

As of yet, I haven’t made the jump to a new gen console. Of course I will eventually, when funds become more available and my Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 cease to satisfy, particularly with so many amazing new games on the horizon. But sadly, for those amongst us lucky enough to have already purchased their shiny new Playstation 4 or Xbox One, it seems they are being slightly cheated by many developers, their only crime that they love video games and want the best possible experience money can buy.

That’s not to say their purchases were completely in vain, as they will be the first to experience the exciting beginning to a whole new generation of game series. Yes, these consoles have been out almost a year, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of this generation. The problem seems to be that for all the exciting new announcements that developers have teased, many of which we are quite rightly getting excited for, there are far too many previous gen games, many of which haven’t even been out that long or perhaps don’t deserve it, getting a remastered edition released on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

The Last of Us: One of the few games that deserve a remastered version!

The Last of Us: One of the few games that deserve a remastered version

Now to be fair to developers, some of these remastered versions are perfectly sensible. The recent release of The Last of Us: Remastered on Playstation 4 from Naughty Dog is a no brainer, given the earth-shattering response the game received when it hit Playstation 3 last summer. Grand Theft Auto V hitting next gen consoles alongside the PC version in the autumn is also perfectly logical, given the infinite possibilities and replay values associated with the game, as well as the potential for expansion that new gen hardware allows. But for other games getting the remastered treatment, it seems there is really no need and the time and effort going into these editions could be better spent coming up with new Intellectual Properties.

The Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition simply took games that were already great on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 and added prettier visuals and DLC which was originally sold separately. Naturally to people who never got chance to play these games before, this is a good idea, but for those people who have already experienced these games and shelled out hundreds of their hard earned pounds to buy these consoles, why would they want to pay another £60.00 to experience the same thing yet again?

Would you shell out another £60 to play Tomb Raider again?

Would you shell out another £60 to play Tomb Raider again?

The best games are remembered not because of their graphics but for their stories and their impact on the player. Years from now we won’t be talking about Red Dead Redemption’s graphics, but what a compelling story it had and how cool John Marston was. We won’t remember Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag because it was pretty, but for the freedom we felt taking to the Caribbean Sea with Edward Kenway and the Jackdaw crew. This is why it seems developers should make less of these remastered editions and instead focus on coming up with brilliant new stories to take full advantage of the new hardware available.

Yet unfortunately, the trend seems to be showing no signs of stopping, with a recently announced remastered edition of Sleeping Dogs coming to Playstation 4 and Xbox One. OK, I’ll admit, I never got around to playing it myself so I might be too harsh, but it doesn’t seem like the sort of game that was really significant enough to merit a remastered version. That’s not to say that there are absolutely no awesome new Intellectual Properties or even awesome sequels coming to the platforms to get excited about, but sadly there is another worrying trend plaguing our industry.

Far too many major releases are getting delayed, with the most recent casualties that I know of being Batman: Arkham Knight, Evolve and Battlefield Hardline. Whether the developers do this on purpose to create more hype surrounding the game, or they have epiphanies regarding it which mean they need more time to work on it, I don’t know, I’m not a developer. But studios need to tread lightly as delaying a game can go one of two ways. The game can either become legendary, surpassing all expectations thanks to the delay, in the way Grand Theft Auto V did, or it can fall flat because of people’s hugely built up expectations, like Watch Dogs, which was by no means badly received, but certainly came up short of what many people were expecting.

Evolve. Another casualty of the dreaded D word: 'Delayed'

Evolve. Another casualty of the dreaded D word: ‘Delayed’

Whether the delayed game curse is going to continue as frequently as it has done recently remains to be seen, but we can only hope that it means better quality games with more developer time invested in them to create a quality final product.

Throughout this piece I’ve seemed fairly cynical and unhappy with the games industry, but that’s certainly not the case. The most recent generation of consoles produced some of the finest original games I or anyone else has ever played, with heart stopping action, incredible characters and beautiful stories. But their time has been and gone, they should be left alone on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 where we can appreciate, revisit and remember them, untarnished by marketing greed and unnecessary remakes. Instead developers should look ahead to the bright future of gaming and create more wonderful new Intellectual Properties that we’ll be talking about for many years to come, and with so many great releases coming up like Destiny, Metal Gear Solid V, No Man’s Sky and all the rest, the future certainly looks great. Let’s just hope we have more like this and less rehashes of old games to look forward to in the coming generation.

 

ANDY CAIN

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