Gaming Remastered

Having just finished reading the latest PSNation review, Sly Cooper Retrospective (part 1), I got to thinking about the history, or possible future, of last generation’s most popular video game franchises.  Of course, I’m alluding to the forthcoming release of the Sly Cooper Collection – not quite hot on the heals of the rather successful God of War Collection.  Is this a trend worthy of our hard earned dollar or just a marketing manager’s wet dream?

First and foremost I’d like to debunk the idea of “wasting money” on last generation’s games solely for the sake of replaying them in High Definition.  I’ll be the first to admit that picture quality doesn’t make the game; but damn does it look purdy!  The concept of remastering to keep up with the newest and most innovative consumer electronics is most certainly not a new idea.  Take for example how far we’ve come in the home entertainment industry and how we have entered a 4th iteration within the last 30 years: VHS -> DVD -> Blu-ray -> 3D.  How many of us have replaced our movie libraries when VHS went by the side of the road and DVD was king?  How many of us still own a VHS player?  Now, with the advent and growing popularity of Blu-ray and the newly introduced 3D technologies, we seem to be cleaning house yet again.  Is the gaming industry really any different?  Would they be doing themselves (and us for that matter) an injustice by not following suit?

The God of War Collection was scheduled to coincide with the long awaited release of God of War 3.  It was also a powerful demonstration into the depth that a Blu-ray disc can accommodate for.  Not only were the developers able to neatly pack in 2 full-length, beautifully remastered High Definition games onto a single Blu-ray disc but they added a ton of extras.  That’s like stuffing your face on Thanksgiving and still having room for seconds, thirds and desert . . . and then running a half-mile marathon because you still have energy to burn.  To say that the God of War Collection wasn’t worth the $39.99 price tag and a welcome refresher to the God of War multi-verse would be a lie.

Although I as a gaming consumer feel that the God of War Collection was a success, I am uncertain as to its cost effectiveness; nor do I fully understanding how involved the process was.  The games were released several years earlier, they just needed a fresh coat of paint.  I realize this is an oversimplification but, really, wasn’t the bulk of the workload already done?

Is this just a passing trend amongst game publishers and developers or are things just starting to ramp up?  With the release of the PlayStation Slim we have heard the death knell of backward compatibility. Although the PlayStation 2 still clings to life the age of original PS1 and PS2 disc-based games is coming to an end.  Sure, the PlayStation Network is continuing to release more and more of these titles for download but how far will they be able to take that?  How far should they take it?  Speaking as a moderate techny nerd I would much rather experience some of the greatest games ever created with enhanced picture and sound to suitably match the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on consistently upgrading my home entertainment system.  I get a little giddy when I think of all the possible games and game franchises that could be remastered in High Definition:

For me the list just goes on and on and on . . . .

Still, reason must persist.  Should this continue to be the yellow brick road we travel there must be some order . . . some rules.  As excited as I get at the thought of playing some of my favorite Metal Gear Solid games in HD the last thing I want to happen is to see the market saturated with games that just aren’t deserving of the love and attention to detail that the God of War Collection was given.  I won’t bad mouth any 1 game in particular but I’m certain there are a few titles that we’d all rather just see slip off into non-existence.

So far I like the strategy we’ve seen.  The God of War Collection and the soon-to-be-released Sly Cooper Collection both include multiple titles from the franchise on a single disc.  Both of these games have a devoted following and were stellar products at the first go round.  The God of War Collection was released to establish a heightened level of anticipation for God of War 3.  Does this mean that we may be seeing a new Sly Cooper?  Conversely, we already know and are eagerly awaiting the release of The Last Guardian.  Could we could be seeing an Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection remastered in High Definition?  I think it’s abundantly clear that the masses are screaming for it.

So the question I pose to you, oh loyal PSNation supporters: What are your thoughts on the matter?  Is this a good thing or is this the end of days?  If you share my more-than-obvious opinion tell us what games you’d like to see remastered.  If you’re a stickler for the nostalgia tell me I’m crazy and convince me otherwise.  I might tell you you’re wrong but I’ll absolutely hear you out.

Written by Bill Braun

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