Emotionally attached and rewound

It feels like both Hollywood and video game industry is full of rehashed products nowadays. HD releases, 3D releases, re-imaginings, compilations, upgrade releases for newer platforms and so on. Sometimes it looks and feels like we’re getting only these and sequels and less original, new products.

This ties to the previous post to some extent, with us expecting new products that would be better than out favourites. Having a movie that is better than something that has come before is always a positive thing. Having a game that obsoletes a previous one is just as great.

It’s never that simple thou. We’re not absolutely rational beings that can wage things with a perfect balance. We have preferences and we like things we know is most likely bad for us or is generally considered as shit. Some like modern pop music, some like the 80’s rocks and so on. We tend to be on the offensive when something we like is called out on its less than high quality nature or when something better comes up. We don’t just prefer what we know already, we are heavily biased towards to what we have forged an emotional bond with, and that’s what providers like. The moment they manage to make you emotionally attached to their brand and franchise, they are able to sell side products and other items to you. This isn’t something we should be ashamed of, as we do it willingly and we enjoy it to large extent. This applies to our philosophies and personal believes too despite them being absolutely insane at times. Then we look for similar circle and disregard the opposition most of the time, but we are able to step out from this circlejerk and observe ourselves and our interests and choices from a third view point. More often than not we simply do not enact this option due to comfort we have. It would be healthy and recommended thing to do, and I encourage everyone to do so occasionally.

But let’s move the talk towards remakes.

Remakes, any sort of remakes, is perhaps a bit too common thing nowadays. HD upgrades are a bit too common nowadays, but I it is in fashion to bring up older games to new hardware that does not support backwards compatibility. This is something that companies should avoid, as backwards compatibility was once a standard, and then came back with the PS2 and similar devices. With the increasing complexity in hardware, true backwards compatibility is becoming a rarer thing and companies are thus resorting in emulation. Emulating backwards compatibility is not the best option, and 360’s compatibility list is riddled with errors. Xbone’s compatibility is very, very low at this moment and it seems the developers needs to code an emulator for each and every single game separately to achieve at least satisfying results. Then again, consoles like NES don’t demand as much as juice to gain high accuracy emulation, and Nintendo should already offer cross-platform accounts, so we don’t need to buy Super Mario Bros. for each console one has.

In this sense, remakes do make sense. With a new release the developers are also able to upgrade the visuals to modern day standards if they so choose to, but also to fix errors and bugs in the game code. Perhaps even add a better translation, if necessary. This is very rarely the case. Remakes are more or less HD ports of PS2 games, and I would even call the games that were developed for the 360 and PS3 and then ported to current generation consoles as HD ports too. I’m not sure if they lump the DLC content with them, but if so, then you’re really getting the game that it should’ve been in the first place.

But if we have backwards compatibility, even if it is emulation, do we have a need for remakes? Seems like the customers seem to think so, especially if there’s an emotional attachment to the product.

You saw this coming; does Final Fantasy VII need a remake? Who am I to argue against the core fans of the product or those who have a deep emotional connection with the Final Fantasy VII as franchise? We all know it’ll make truckloads of money simply because it has such rabid fanbase and a lot of the people who weren’t even born when the game came out can now play the game without any problems with emulation or dated graphics.

Remakes can never really stand on their own because of their inherent nature. They will be, and should be, compared to the original piece they are based on. It’s not a given that they’ll be better than the progenitor. Maverick Hunter X on PSP, a remake of Mega Man X, is often regarded as a lesser version due to chances it made to the overall feeling of the game.

A question is; how can a remake of FFVII stand up to the original? Well, it really needs to be the same shit in different pants with better graphics and it’ll do fine. We know that the devs want to stick with the original as much as possible, or at least so they say. We’ll have to wait for the actual results when the game is released.

Let’s disregard the emotional and clear nature of the remake and fans. Let’s ask if a game that managed to be a huge hit in really needs to be remade. If the product is as good as people say and has managed to hit just the right spot with so many people across the world, then why should it need a remake? Because times have changed? Because they know how there are people who can’t stand pre-2010 graphics?

Final Fantasy VII doesn’t need a remake, as the original game plays as intended to this day and fantasy stories like this rarely lose their power. However, it does need a remake because Square-Enix likes to get money and the development team seems to be unable to make a better product. We can argue whether or not either Final Fantasy VIII or IX are better than XII, but that’s up to individual opinion. What we can’t argue against is the popularity VII still enjoys and the amount of its copies always sell. Then you have the fact that VII is the only series that has become a franchise of its own. It’s only natural to appease the long time fans and introduce the game to people who haven’t experienced it before.

The question is; will it concentrate on the plot more than previously? If it is a proper remake, it would also upgrade the game mechanics, but seeing how badly Final Fantasy XIII was handled as a whole, I’m not holding my breath. It is kind of sad to say that the only way to make a product obsolete is to remake that exact same product, just with a lick of new paint on it with additional bells and whistles, and then see it fly off the shelves. I don’t know if tells more about the consumers or about the companies.

Perhaps the remake turns out to be completely awful and everybody will be disappointed after their initial hype. You never know, but it wouldn’t be good to assume either direction. You always have the original, and it’s not going to go anywhere.