Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Now in HD!

Although republishing a game with small enhancements is nothing new, we've seen many classic arcade games rebirthed in publishers "game packs" bundles, as well as, service sites like Xbox arcade or Marketplace rekindle a title.

However, it seems there's a new movement to go one step further, and market the game like its a whole new game, often in wake of a new title based on that license.  Look for labels like HD (High Definition) or SE (special edition).  Some recent examples would be Monkey Island SE (in the wake of MI:Tales) and Serious Sam HD (In the wake of a SS3).  A recent interview indicates a new MDK maybe on the horizon, as a MDK2 HD is in the works.

Overall, I think this is a great concept.  Simply because, if your a purist...don't buy the remake, and hold on to your memories.  However, if you want to see a legacy license alive again (aka Full Throttle) it needs to sell.  To do that, you must introduce the game to a new audience whom missed out in it last time...because they were in diapers.  Some publishers should consider gobbling up some development studio, simply to rebirth some of their classics.  While I'm a fan of the DosBOX project, Good old Games, and Gametap, to help get around those pesky OS version updates, there's much to be said about a new coat of paint on the old classic.

My greatest concern, would be when the publishers looks too deep into the numbers.  A remake will never sell as well as the original.  By no means should sales indicate whether an old license gets the green light.  As always; the talent, development team, and plot should be the deciding factor in any new sequel.  And not how well the game sells, as its a great way to kill the license.  Additional concerns would be if the team goes too overboard with the HD version.  I don't really like the new look of Guybrush in the SE versions, but the overall art was much better.  Too many enhancements could completely kill the license for a whole new generation.

One final thought, we've seen many fan sites and mod sites already redevelop some old classics.  In many ways, its a copyright tightrope they are walking, which have led to cease and desist orders.  I really hate to see this happen, when there is merit to these indie titles on what had been thought to be vaporware. These indies will help the license to a certain degree.  However, they'll never get the recognition that a true publisher could hype up.  Additionally, it may get back to the numbers.   If a modder doesn't share their numbers with how well the remake did, then the copyright holders may not recognize the potential.

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