Remakes and Reboots

Two things have been recolouring these early 2000’s have been remakes and reboots. Much like many things like them, the two divide audiences. Some enjoy remakes of old things they never saw, or how something is updated for the modern day while some see these nothing but blight on the creative industries. Reboots on the other hand may have a different take on familiar characters, but in story terms replace everything that has been in the canon previously. Sometimes.

Langrisser Reboot on the 3DS is the reason this post is made, to be honest. When you think about it, it’s been more than a decade since the last console based Langrisser, less so when we take Schwarz and Tri-Swords into notice. Seeing how Tri-Swords was killed in 2012 and Schwarz never got out, Langrisser hasn’t seen a true title since Langrisser Millennium WS: The Last Century, which is actually pretty good all things considered. It shows that whatever team made it wanted to step away from the Dreamcast Millennium game and stay true to the name Langrisser.

The 3DS reboot game can be good, if the execute the reboot properly, that is take the concepts Langrisser had and reintroduces them either with drastically different take, or with slight variation to fit into the otherwise revamped world. For example, the sword Langrisser does not need to be a holy sword, embed with a king’s soul and blessed by a goddess in the reboot, but it does need to stay true to the idea of a magical sword, able to cut down magical bullshit to defeat gods. In the reboot, Langrisser could just be Excalibur with further magical forging. While I don’t like the idea of forcing Excalibur into Langrisser due to the series already having its own number of magical and technological things, forcing Arthur’s sword into the series, reboot or not, just feels off. Then again, Japan loves to use Excalibur pretty much everywhere to different degree so it just might be a cultural difference doing its deed here.

One of the biggest successes in reboot history has to be the Silver Age of comics reboot. Granted, at that point no DC heroes had not been in a magazine for some years, but the reboot defined numerous concepts that modern reboots don’t even dare to touch. For example, the Green Lantern was changed from a man gaining his magical powers from a green lantern into a space police who got his cosmic power from a green lantern. The concept, at its core with a hero striving for justice with a green lantern giving him powers, stays the same. Everything else was shuffled around.  Similarly, the Flash stayed the same at the core with the high speed hero. Jay Garrick and Barry Allen share similar power acquisition of chemicals doing their stuff to their body, Garrick inhaling fumes and Allen getting struck by a lighting and smashing into a shelf filled with chemicals. Allen also took his name from a comic character, namely Jay Garrick’s Flash.

A well done reboot, and actually do a proper reboot rather than what DC did with New52, can be as big success as it is a chance. All it takes careful planning and design. Design here being not just how the magazines are layed out, but the actual character design from the start to finish. The concepts for a reboot character needs to stand on its own rather than lean unto the old and busted. Otherwise you’ll end up with a remake.

Remakes on the other hand have lean unto the past version. That is their weakness in many regards, one being that remakes just end up being nothing but rehashes. Still, even rehashes have their audience, so it’s not filled with negativity to the brim.

Remakes more often than not should use the same concepts and the same characters. Unlike with reboots, they are retellings of the same story, sometimes with very similar outlook, sometimes less so. The New52 reboot DC did was far more a remake of  their previous characters than a full blown reboot, as the characters stayed pretty much exactly same with minor variations here and there. The reboot wasn’t badly designed just from that one perspective; 52 magazines were launched with this to keep the whole 52 numbering, which now has subsided and DC has dropped the whole New52 naming.

However, it can be argued that remakes are not for people wanting to get into something. A remake can simply be for the fans, an alterantive retelling or similar. Maleficent from Disney is a good example how to remake the same movie with a perspective change, thou we can argue on the movie’s storytelling, consistency and quality otherwise.

The most prevailing remake type is nevertheless the direct retelling or remaster of a product. Nightmare on Elm’s Street and other horror flicks have seen a loads of remakes, keeping the concepts similar while updating the visuals and some elements of the mythos. We can argue on the same aspects as with Maleficent, but it should be asked whether or not a direct remake is better than the ones with things changed to somewhat larger extent.

With games people seem to want remakes of old games. Super Mario All-Stars is essentially just a direct port with upgraded graphics, so wen can’t really call it a remake as such. However, Metal Gear Solid; Twin Snakes is a remake through and through. Then again, the first three sequels to the first mainline Metal Gear game are more or less remakes of the previous one. Opinions are widely different between parties whether or not Twin Snakes is a good remake, but in a direct and objective comparison between the PlayStation original and the GameCube remake, the original does draw the shorter stick. Granted, the argument that the added MGS2 gameplay elements does make an already easy game even easier, even making a certain boss battle a run-through deal. Nevertheless, some people welcomed these changes, and some simply choose to ignore the additions. The same applies to the Resident Evil remake, that has now seen a HD port, where gameplay and visuals were upgraded to some extent with some elements shuffled around. Both Twin Snakes and REmake are essentially the same game as their original versions, but upgraded. I can understand people not liking the cinematography of Twin Snakes, but it’s nothing different from what Metal Gear Solid as a series would become. I’d rather have the action packed choreography over man covered in bees or cosmonaut in constant fire, but all the previous have nothing bad in them. As said, opinions vary.

There is a middle ground where reboots and remakes cross over. As they both share similar elements already, it’s not too uncommon to see a remake of something with reboot qualities.

Nevertheless, remakes or reboots, the products that once was will never go away and we can read, play and watch them over and over again and disregard the new products if we so choose.