Remakes exist for a reason. They serve as a way to take something old and rebuild it for new audience in a new era who can’t, for whatever reason, get into the older piece of work. Very often remakes either tread the same plot points and don’t really mesh together, missing the point of why and how the original was made. Be it horror or sci-fi, no piece is safe from an unsatisfied creator when it comes to entertainment.
Nobody liked when George Lucas went back to tweak Star Wars Episodes IV-VI. There isn’t even a minority to be vocal about them, but there are those who have seen incredible amount of work de-specialise them. Spielberg seems to have realised that going back to your older work and fitting it into your current mindset is not what the audience expect or wants, and regrets his re-edits on E.T.
Game remakes are nothing new, and you could argue that many ports are sort of remakes of their previous games if they have been programmed from the ground up for a new platform. That’s beside the point here, as proper remakes often re-imagine the game with whole new assets and additions. For example, take the Final Fantasy remakes that started with the Wonder Swan titles. Those took the core games as they were, upgraded them to a new hardware, and with their GBA ports, got new translations and fixes. Remakes can tamper with the content of the games to an extent to meet the requirements from the new developers, but rarely content is changed for the worse.
Enter Baldur’s Gate.
Baldur’s Gate got an expansion titled Siege of Dragonspear recently, and rather than respecting the original piece, the writer of the expansion Amber Scott went back to address elements that they thought were clashing with modern day gamers. This, of course, is horseshit.
Baldur’s Gate is a very well crafted game. It represents its genre very well in many aspects as well as the time it was made in and is considered a classic. The linked Nichegamer article showcases the problems that stem from going back to an older work; it clashes with the work, the new and old do not meld seamlessly with each other, and what’s worse, they have changed all these in the name of making it better.
The developer does not decide what is better or worse, that is for the customer to decide, and adding your own personal worldview into a game because you think it’s against that worldview is petty. I’m calling bullshit on not wanting representation for whatever gay or quadgendered bullshit Tumblr’s pushing these days. People don’t play games to deal with politics in-game, they play games to get away from them and it seems like modern Bioware and other developers are having incredibly hard time realising this.
Out of all things, this hit me the hardest;
Or if not a lot, there’s a couple, like Safana was just a sex object in BG 1, and Jaheira was the nagging wife and that was played for comedy. We were able to say, ‘No, that’s not really the kind of story we want to make.’
Amber Scott did not write Baldur’s Gate. The story already exists. Rather than doing competent writing with Siege of Dragonspear and addressing those elements, making these characters go through growth and change in an organic manner, they opted to bomb the shit out of the original author intent of Baldur’s Gate. This is the laziest and hackiest way to forcibly change a story to fit the writer’s own opinions. Going back and retroactively changing and adding elements to the game this forcibly is a sign of incompetence from the current writing staff.
In addition, Safana wasn’t a sex object, she was a lot more than just eye candy, but of course women could never be manipulators or anything. Amber Scott saying that she got a better personality upgrade is her sole opinion, one which has clashed against the fans’ and the almost twenty years history the game already had under its belt.
If people don’t like that, then too bad.
And this quote alone shows that they don’t care about the consumer’s wants or needs. They don’t care about the customer, and there is no reason to care about their products. They are not providing a game for you, they are providing Siege of Dragonspear to masturbate and fellate themselves in a circlejerk over their selected.
The changes made to Baldur’s Gate are essentially fanfiction. This is essentially bastardizing a classic work of entertainment to serve as a vessel to Beamdog’s views on issues. Trying get jabs at a consumer revolt with meme insertion only degrades the quality Baldur’s Gate had, and even the newly added voice acting is less than adequate compared to most of the title’s voices.
This isn’t like Lucas re-editing Star Wars, no. This is more along the lines of allowing J.J. Abrams to make re-edits on those movies to fit the previous films’ narrative with Episode VII.
If the changes had been alongside what Baldur’s Gate already establishes it to be and followed the original intent of the work, the additions may have been good, great even. No product is ready when it’s out the doors, sure. Yet, you need to own that work as it is and try to make your next even better. You may be liable in fixing if the piece breaks or has problems, but as it is in the consumers’ hands, it’s finished and the provider needs to carry that responsibility. Going back to it and changing it because you feel that’s it’s broken or wrong is not owning the responsibility, it is changing and running away from it.
Baldur’s Gate was not broken, but celebrated. Now, it’s more like the statue of David they forced pants on, and that’s stupid. Nichegamer has an article up on Dragonspear’s writing, and it’s worth to read through.