Remakes. What is it about remakes? Gamers want all kinds of old games remade. Final Fantasy 7 is a big one. Recently I have also heard Metal Gear Solid 1, Killer Instinct, Resident Evil 1 & 2, Golden Eye, Almost any other Final Fantasy title and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. While I will give you that these are all classic and good games. I personally see little to no reason to remake them. However let’s go through the reasons why gamers want a remake and why it might not be such a good idea.
What does it take to create a good remake? While I will go into games later for now let’s go over other things people in general have wanted remakes of… The formula for a remake of any kind is nearly impossible to get right. Cars, Books, Movies, Music, Fashion… The list goes on and it feels like people ask for these things all the time but when they get them modernized or “Remade” critics, fans and everyone who wanted them turn their backs and call the director/ actors/writers/artists and say things like “Morons. A monkey could have done it better”. Let me give you a few examples outside games that might open your minds a little. The Ford Shelby GT500. While critics vary on the quality of the machine most would say “For the price get a classic and rebuild it”… People had wanted it remade for a long time and the hype surrounding it was incredible… However it could never live up to the classic that is the 69 Shelby GT500… No one is really buying them either. Many other cars like the VW bug or the Camaro fall into a similar slot of remakes that don’t do well…
How about movie or book remakes. Some can be remade with a fresh coat of paint fairly well. Usually these are Zombie movies or horror. Lately there are some comic book movies that have done fairly well but diehard fans of comics(Like many here are for games) nitpick and ridicule the little things “Nick Fury isn’t black” or “The Hulk got hit by a gamma bomb not a stupid laser” Or my favorite “The freaking spider was radioactive and NOT ’biologically engineered’ *grumble grumble”… Very few other genres can be remade well and are considered classics for a reason. Look at Romeo and Juliet. The book revolutionized the way play writes thought and changed entertainment the world over. Now look at the 1996 remake… There were a few people who liked it but for the most part it was mocked and shunned as an insult to the classic. Anyone who has read a book and then seen the movie usually gets the feeling they “Missed the boat” or “OMG I can’t believe they left out X,Y or Z thingy” hence they “Sold out” and “Failed at movie”… When it’s usually much more than that.
I could go
on for days but in truth remakes are very rarely accepted the world over no
matter what medium they come in. You all know this to be true. Remakes are very
hard to do right period and why they are avoided like the plague.
There are very few remakes that have been done well. What does that mean? Critical acclaim? User interest and sales? Well I feel it means a number of things but mainly keeping the core ideas precise while expanding very little in the right areas… The only 2 examples I can think of recently in games is Bionic Commando rearmed and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix. They weren’t perfect and they had their flaws but overall I feel the time/effort and added content made them worthwhile. I also grew up on the originals. It was a fresh take. I thought the dev’s did great jobs but I am in the minority it seems…
SSF2THDR was done well. There were very few things added. They were added to balance the game even more so. The concepts were taken from Tournament masters and the game was overseen by a tournament champion as well who is a brilliant mind when it comes to game design and philosophy.However many people disliked these games…
Prince of Persia(2008), Pac Man (Adventures in Time), Bionic Commando(2009), Bomberman(XBL) and Super Street Fighter 2 HD Turbo Remix(2008) are a few current examples of “Remakes” or just new versions… Call it what you will… that flopped pretty hard. They were all asked for by the fans and they got remade… Fans went crazy and condemned them for the most part… They either “didn’t hold true to the original” or had “Outdated simple controls” or “The team that designed it had no clue what the original was about” or “Was way too hard”… I could go on but I feel I made my point. Think about other “Remakes” you have seen and how they fared… Probably not well…
Why we shouldn’t ask.
I know many of you don’t want to hear “Final Fantasy 7 does not deserve a remake” but truthfully it doesn’t. Why should it get a remake? What does it fail in that it needs to be remade? What does it lack that should be changed?
Think about what you would want to see(I will use FF7 as the example but apply it to your game. Think about how it could all play out). Mostly updated graphics right? Well why? Is the old game horrible looking? Can you not see what’s going on? If the development team did change FF7 and made it more serious instead of cartoony how many people would be mad? If they made it off the wall cartoony how many would be mad? If the backgrounds were less rounded and bright and more sharp and dark what would they say?… If they made it look like advent children how many would say “Uninspired company/team” or “The actions and cartoony nature don’t suit the serious characters” because the script did have many cartoony ideas to it… There would be fan boy hate and venom spewed across SE’s name by every person on the internet. How they “Don’t hold true to the original idea”… You get the idea.
Better controls you say? Better combat? Well FF7 is a great game. I beat it in Japanese the first time I played it and I don’t know a single word in that language. I just did trial and error and eventually won. The combat even then was a little bland honestly. Summoning the “Knights of the Round” was cool but completely bland for about 3 minutes after you hit X… So would you want SE to change the controls for their remake? Change the combat? Make it more like Final Fantasy (Fill in a number here) or more like some other RPG as an example? No matter what they changed to this people would be outraged. Change it from turn based to real time. Change to a karma system. Change to a more strategic system, Combo system, Rage system… There is no winning and if they keep it the same people will complain and say they were lazy… Or that it feels dated… Which even at the time of release it kind of did. If they changed nothing why even do a remake?
Change the sounds/color scheme/story/characters… Change nothing just add a few cut scenes or some content… This would all end just as badly as anything else.
Seriously ask yourself “What would I want them to change? What does the original lack that I want to see changed?” Then realize that 95% of the fanboys out there think you’re a moron and that what you want changed was a core mechanic of the game and blah blah blah. Then ask yourself “What would be the true benefit of changing the original? Is it broken? Is it really that old that it needs a makeover?” You’ll probably realize you feel as I do and that its fine the way it is.
What we should ask for.
Well this is a good question. Someone asked me once “Why not do a Bionic Commando Rearmed style remake of FF7?” I didn’t have much of a reply at the time. Honestly though who would this benefit? The fans? They already own in on PS1 or PC. The people who never got a chance to play it? Well they can either buy the downloadable release or an older version. So what I feel we should ask for is another take on it. Maybe take the FF7 story and use another group that were working behind the scenes to help Cloud and his gang. They were hidden out and followed them secretly from place to place planting treasure chests and helping take down monsters from behind and helped out without “Team Cloud” knowing… This would go back to FF7 and give another perspective. This would expand on the teams concept. Anything changed or updated would not really be arguable. It would be a win/win. Do a prequel. Do an epilogue. Do an alternate story line. As long as they don’t mess with the original then I am happy. They won’t mess it up. They won’t hit the crap storm and fail like so many others have. Just release FF7 for download. Up scaled to HD and that’s it.
Doing a full remake would take a lot of time. Many resources and quality/creative people would be forced to be uncreative and useless to rehash a decade old game… They should revisit the story and characters just like advent children did. Why redo something when the team could be making something new, creative and fresh instead. We already have FF7 do you really need a remade one? How long before we want a 3rd remake of it? Why waste the time when we could be seeing something better?