If you read through the interview by colleague Matthias Dammes with the creators of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, you will notice how important it is for the developers to constantly emphasize that the new game would capture the spirit of the original and that you would don't want to make too big changes.
Last but not least, this fact has got me thinking in the last few days, and with a view to the countless remasters, remakes and other new editions that have appeared in recent years, I have realized that with the concept of these rebirths I am sometimes decades old Title generally have a problem.
Not because of the often criticized lack of creativity that many players accuse the developers and publishers of in the face of this flood of new editions. No, that doesn't affect me, I recently processed my opinion on the subject of creativity in video games in a column and in this case see it, at least from this perspective, only as a secondary aspect.
What bothers me is the principle of tinkering with ready-made games. When it comes to creativity, I find it much worse how the vision of the former makers is sometimes trampled underfoot.
Every game development is a product of its time, shaped by what was en vogue at the time and what was technically possible. If you look at it ten, twenty, thirty years later, I understand the idea that you want to lend a hand here to make the old ham "better", "more modern".
I consciously exclude the fact that most new editions are only created because money can be made with comparatively little development effort and an established brand, that's not my point.
But why are some games great? Especially BECAUSE they were created under conditions that made it necessary to think outside the box in order to circumvent the numerous technical restrictions that stood in the way of a developer. The iconic fog of a Silent Hill would not have existed if the PS1 had not had to struggle with the representation of objects in the distance.
Silent Hill, a good example. Let's take a look at the remakes of Silent Hill 2 and 3 that came out for the PS3. What was done The graphics were far too sharp, the side far too thinned out, apparently because the creators had not understood the value of these restrictions and simply delivered what was now technically possible for them much more easily.
This is an extreme case, but I find this "we can do better" idea generally disrespectful to the team that developed the original game behind a new edition. Often enough, mostly, it is not the men and women of yore who are also responsible for the remake or remaster. There is adjustment, tweaking, changing, often enough simply because you think that is required of you.
The other case is the same as with the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (buy now € 69.99 /€ 53.99 ), where a large part of the previous developers are still sitting. But again, I wonder if the developers really need to be praised for tinkering with their own baby. And the changes are by no means as subtle as claimed: Part 1 should feel more playfully like Part 3, the controls have been changed, the lighting mood in some scenes is completely different and, and, and.
In other forms of media, this would lead to criticism, or it would regularly lead to criticism. The best example here is of course Star Wars, where George Lucas almost compulsively constantly before selling the brand to Disney improved the look and individual aspects of the original trilogy". Han shot first," Noooooo! "Celebrating Gungans and Hayden Christensen as a power spirit have meanwhile become memes and impressively show why some things should just be left as they are.
The Lord of the Rings – now with 30 more pages!
Again referring to revisions by people who weren't even involved in the original project: Let's transfer that to books and imagine that the novel by a celebrated author would be reprinted years later and the responsible rewriter would delete adjectives, add sentences, Rearrange chapters and intervene in some other way so that, in his opinion, the work feels "rounder". Hardly anyone would think so, would they?
Source: PC Games
In this context: Yes, I am of course aware of the discussion about the adaptation of children's books in particular because of nowadays unacceptable terms and I take the view that, apart from particularly blatant cases, one should rather work with critical, classifying footnotes. But this discussion is again a different one, and the case where the N-word in a video game is thrown at your feet without context is likely to be rare.
So am I generally against making old games accessible to a new generation? No of course not. I am aware that there is still a great deal of interest among younger players in older titles that do not run on modern PCs or that require the possession of an ancient console. Games are welcome to come back, but then not for an end in itself, to give them an apparently modern look anyway. Emulated ports or ports that have been adapted to new hardware can of course not exactly implement the spirit of the original, but are at least close and do not put an unsolicited "now obsolete!" Stamp on the originals.
Source: plassma media agency
Of course, I am also not prepared to have fun with a remake or remaster of the type that I criticize at this point, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for Switch, for example, I think it's great! But the fact that I enjoy this and other games does not speak against the problem itself, and the new Link's Awakening is a good example of the dangers that arise from the wave of new editions: The new edition should de facto make the Game Boy classic have been replaced. It is an impressive testimony to how you can create something great under the most adverse circumstances on a device that was already obsolete when it was released in 1992. As beautiful as the remake is, the achievement of being something special in the context of its development will never be associated with it.
So we have come to the core of the problem, as I see it: Games are, at least from the point of view of those who want to earn money with them, still primarily goods, so the discussion about the question of whether they are now called Art are to be viewed or not (are they), no matter how raging. Where other forms of media proceed much more cautiously when classics are revived and criticism quickly becomes loud when the work is poor or too aggressive, video gamers too often get caught up in the fact that there are generally too many new editions. That's right, but it's not a problem because of that, but because of the implications this circumstance has.
Do I encourage the laziness of the studios through this perspective, which would then have to put even less effort into new editions than some of them already do? Yes, somehow. That is why it is probably best to find a balance between the modern approach and the original, like the remastered versions of the Monkey Island Point & Click Adventures do. If you want, you will find a significantly revised, modern version, because you can switch to the original game at any time, but it never runs the risk of getting under the remake wheels with regard to its meaning.
This is not just feasible for every game. But I think you owe at least the attempt to give the game due respect due to the potential success of the new edition as a developer.
how do you see it? Tell me in the comments!
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