Tuesday morning, I had just woken up and I decide to check out Destructoid to start off my day. Scrolling casually while glancing at headers and reading blurbs, I try to see every news post I had missed while a slumber then something catches my eye. ďPersona 3 Portable Announced, adds new characterĒ. For a second, I have to register this and then quickly click on the story. Reading it, I discover that one of my favorite games is coming to the PSP and adding the ability to play as a female. I literally am overcome with joy! I was throwing the idea of buying a PSP since persona one is coming out but now I am practically sold! The whole day I have a much better mood knowing this little tidbit of news. I try to imagine what will change with this new female character and what else could be added!
I have already mentioned that P3 was one of my favorite games of all time. I had first gameflyíd it and loved it so much I bought a copy and proceeded to waste 120 hours of my life playing through it. The copy is sitting with the rest of my games next to my wii. There is nothing wrong with it, no scratches, and no problems with it playing on my PS3. So why should I be so excited for this remake? Why when I am perfectly able to play the game right now, am I eagerly anticipating itís release even willing to put down two hundred plus dollars to buy a system to play a game I already own? This got me thinking about remakes. How is it that I and other gamers can get so excited for something like this? Looking at the comments for the initial announcements I wasnít the only one excited. A few commenters I know had played the game too because I had talked to them about the game. So knowing Iím not alone, why is it exactly that we as gamers are so eager to get excited about remakes. I think there are four main reasons for this phenomenon: replacement, additions, renewed relevance, reliability and reimagining.
Let us first start off with the two most understandable reasons, replacements and additions. Replacements is a very simple concept, the remake is able to replace the original of the game. Whether the disc is broke, the Nintendo seems to refuse to play Adventure Island or you had a nasty habit of selling all your game once the next generation came about; remakes allow you the convenient access to a game from yester year with a cheaper price tag than tracking down the original most of the time. One example I can bring up is the recently re-released Marvel Vs Capcom 2. I own MVC2 for the Dreamcast, but I had two problems. The disc had a nasty gash on the label side of the disc and a replacement on the Dreamcast would have cost me upwards of $70. Luckily since it came out on XBLA, I was able to snatch it up for $15 and start playing! As a cool bonus it also had online play! Which of course falls under the idea of an addition, Persona 3 Portable is probably most exciting because I get the chance to play through the eyes of a female character. As long as the additions do not seriously hamper the original core of the game, I can think of no reason having additions to a beloved game not exciting anyone.
Renewed relevance is something that appeals to people who were huge fans of the first offering. When a remake comes out a lot of new people will be experiencing it for the very first time, and suddenly the game that you had loved for ages is cool and exciting to talk about again. Iíve noticed talking to other gamers that the window to talk about new stuff isnít very large and if you donít share an interest in the same game it probably wonít be brought up. I would get a lot more interesting conversations talking about Shadow Complex in IRC than Jet Set Radio Future. There may be a person who likes JSRF and we could talk about that for a bit but Shadow Complex would most likely draw a much bigger response leading to more people to talk to. I imagine if something like Earthbound was released on virtual console, I would be so happy that there would be more people eager to discuss one of my favorite games of all times. The feeling of renewed relevance is probably never the sole component in exciting some one about a remake but does contribute to a small part of it.
Remakes can also be tantalizing is the fact that they are reliable purchases, meaning you know itís going to be good. When a game receives a remake it most likely was popular and is a safe investment for the publisher, which usually translates to itís a game that was really fun. People complain that it seems like gamers get more excited for a remake than a brand new IP, while it would be stupid to flat out ignore the new IP, I think it is reasonable to be a bit more excited for a remake. If itís something you played you know what exactly you are getting. Let me put it this way knowing how Mirrorís Edge turned out would you have rather had that or a remade Skate or Die? Even though Mirrorís Edge was a exciting new idea it turned out to be not so great but a remade pseudo 3d skate or die sounds great, WHERE IS IT EA?
While this could technically fall under the idea of an addition, I am going to keep it separate. Reimaging is basically giving the original game a graphics overhaul, video games tend to progress faster than any other medium. The visualís of games a scant six years ago are even a bit lack luster by todayís standards. Since we are only just now having realistic graphics and are minds are no longer filling in spot the graphics canít a game getting new graphics will likely be an increasingly common thing. For me I see two different types of reimaging that are possible. Games that are redone graphically due to the low quality of graphics in the time period they were released and games that are redone simply for the sake of vanity. While a Final Fantasy VII remake doesnít actually exist there is a good reason while people were flipping out when that PS3 tech demo was showing. Anyone who has had the chance to play through seven recently knows that while the core game play is still amazing, the graphics are so dated and the 3d models so poor that it is almost laughable when you sit and actually look at the characters. A new set graphics wouldnít improve the game but it would make it easier to look at. An example of vanity would be the HD 8/16-bit game mock-ups. Does Super Mario World really need a graphical boost, of course not, it looks perfectly fine the way it is. But damn if it donít look fucking gorgeous with HD sprites.
I know that some people are critical of gamers for getting really excited about a remake and then barely noticing something new and original. I donít really think that itís entirely their fault. Hopefully the reasons above should give some insight as to why we tend to do that. If a new IP is up to snuff weíll know about it and hopefully that word of mouth we cause will help it a long. I just donít think remakes should take blame for a new IP failing. You wouldnít necessarily blame a DVD of a new movie failing because Rocky just got released on Blu-ray, would you?