Tuesday, 24 July 2012

HD Rereleases: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

Because the world NEEDS Sonic R in HD.
I have been under the impression for some time now that Sony's PS3 is a PS2 in disguise. With so many compilations discs containing PS2 remasters can you really be blame me? It's something I've had to take into consideration as both a pro and a con before purchasing one. This isn't to say that the rereleases are not good value for money, as the vast majority of the games rereleased were and still are of superb quality, and a lot of them are also making cross-platforming appearances on the Xbox 360. There are many arguments as to whether or not such a high volume of rereleases of older generations games is a short sighted business plan for game publishers that will inevitably cripple the game industry years down the line. In a world where big budget sequels and remakes are the seemingly the only safe investments by developers and publishers, will we face a second video game crash as a result of market stagnation? I've simply not read into it deeply enough to even consider answering the question properly, but I will say that I have a bad feeling in my tummy about it.

I never thought I'd be seeing DMC on an American console ten years ago.
On a personal level, as a retro gamer, I do find it a tad disheartening when games that I would regard as the gems of my collection get remade or rereleased. For example, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which included the rare Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, was announced only a few weeks after I found and purchased my copy of the original PS2 version. Now the same has happened with the two Zone of the Enders PS2 titles only a few months after finding and purchasing Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner.

There's no denying that these HD screens are mouth-wateringly gorgeous, though.

At the risk of being called a hypocrite, I'd be the first to say that one of my favourite game developers and publishers, Sega, are a prime example of a company that must make a considerable amount of its income from rereleases and compilation discs.The original Sonic The Hedgehog must be one of the most widely available games ever, bar Tetris, and is available in one form or another on practically every single major console from the sixth generation onwards including handhelds; on the Xbox 360 alone the game can be downloaded via XBLA, be played as part of the SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection and can even be played in its entirety from within Sonic Generations. Yet most Sonic fans are completely unaware of the existence of Knuckles Chaotix, a game that has not seen the light of day since appearing on the 32X.

If you've never seen this game before then, well, you're welcome!
While these rereleases do mean that more people will have access to what are undeniably good games that would have been all to quickly pushed aside by the tides of time, I can't help but find myself wishing we just had 'Zone of the Enders III' or 'Sonic Adventure 3' to look forward to instead of essentially paying for the same game twice or in some cases (Sonic Adventure 2), thrice.

The topic of rereleases and sequels on the long term sustainability of the game industry is one that has been discussed for many years and almost everyone has an opinion on it. As such, please drop me a comment describing your feelings on the matter as both a modern gamer and a retro gamer as I'd love to hear what you all think about it.

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