Hollywood does it all the time – take an old movie from one or two generations ago, cast young actors, hype the remake and put out something that is vaguely satisfying. Unfortunately the video game industry appears to be heading down this track too.
There is a balance to be struck between revisiting old ideas and producing something fresh. Pac-Man Championship Edition was a success because it did not stray too far from the original but did have one or two new ideas thoughtfully put into it.
Another good way to gain a new audience or prepare them for a forthcoming game is to remake the last one. The God of War Collection on PS3 makes some sense, at least commercially. Here is the chance for gamers to try out the first two before the final part of the trilogy lands, and all in blood-curdling High Definition.
But all too often the ideas we see revisited and refined are not groundbreaking. For the last couple of years the “cover” system has been added to so many games it is just not funny. And the FPS genre has been particularly stale, degenerating into repetitive takes on the same basic premise. World War II and now modern conflicts have been picked over and reinvented countless times.
2010 seems to be promising more of the same. Medal of Honour is going all out for Modern Warfare’s audience. The Dubai setting and moving sand at least give The Line from Germany company Yager an interesting selling point. And I won’t even mention the stream of God of War-style games that are threatening to swamp players in the first quarter – Darksiders, Dante’s Inferno and more.
Let’s hope the audience is not blinkered to new ideas. Team Ico are on the way with PS3 exclusive The Last Guardian, David Cage’s Heavy Rain (also on PS3) has a lot of promise and Armanita Design’s beautifully put together point & click puzzler Machinarium will be getting a boxed retail release in the UK. Suda51 returns with the sequel to No More Heroes on the Wii and a HD remake for the bonkers original.
So in 2013 when you are all playing Gears of Uncharted Warfare 5, I hope there will still be an alternative for people who don’t want to stare down the barrel of a gun and bad-mouth their opponents while hiding behind realistically textured rubble.