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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

How Should Games Be Remade For A New Market? 36

Thanks to GamerDad for its editorial discussing some of the problems of videogame remakes. The author, having recently played Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for GameCube ahead of playing the original, comments "I never really came to grips with that game either until I played the VR missions in [the original Metal Gear Solid" He goes on to point out: "Never assume that the audience for your remake is the same as the audience for the original. Hollywood has been remaking a lot of old movies and TV shows in the last few years but they're certainly not expecting audiences to know those plots inside and out to the point of leaving out crucial bits. That's kind of the situation I think Silicon Knights and Konami got in with leaving out the VR missions (or something similar) in Twin Snakes." But he concludes by arguing that 'what makes a remake most worthwhile is when time is spent reworking the game to make things 'different'." So exactly how reverent should a remake be?
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How Should Games Be Remade For A New Market?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hi. I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such remarketed games as "Super Mario Bubba's" (sold only in Alabama) and "Howard Stern's: The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King of All Media"
  • Original MGS (Score:5, Informative)

    by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Monday April 05, 2004 @08:31AM (#8767928)
    Slightly offtopic but, the original MGS for PS1 didn't ship with VR missions. It had short videos explaining the controls and how to do certain actions (like using an enemy as a shield) but no VR missions. The VR missions were made into another game, MGS:Integral, and came out as a seperate game.

    The same thing holds true with MGS2 (the original PS2 version), the original didn't ship with VR missions. Thats why both games plummeted in price so quickly. There was nearly no replay value without the VR missions.

    • Re:Original MGS (Score:3, Insightful)

      Actually, there were about 40 VR missions in the original MGS, but they certainly weren't as replayable as the actual "VR Missions" disc.
    • Re:Original MGS (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kassiopeia ( 671060 )
      Perhaps this holds true for the US version of Metal Gear Solid, but the PAL version for the PlayStation I played in the day had a multitude of VR missions. There was a game packet with a mission disk released later (perhaps this Integral version) but the initial release in Europe had copious amounts of VR training to practice with.
    • Not true. There are ten VR missions accessible for training right at the start. I purposely bought a used copy of the original (not Greatest Hits even) so that I could test it out when a friend recommended I look at those VR missions. They are most certainly in the original game and make learning how to play a breeze compared to Twin Snakes which has absolutely no training available.
    • Uhm.. I'm looking at the original game released for the Playstation called Metal Gear Solid and I can assure you that it has VR training missions. Konami later came out with another VR Metal Gear, with more junk and stuff (I dunno never bought it).. perhaps you are referring to that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2004 @08:40AM (#8767979)
    Games are very different from movies/TV shows. Alot of times what makes a game is the look and feel of the game, not the story. For a perfect example of this look at the quake series. Eventually they just had a paragraph on the inside cover of the cd booklet that said something like "uh, there are monsters, you have a badass gun. get to it."

    The trick is to preserve those traits that make the game. A perfect example is the mario bros. series transition to 3D. Its completely different, but still has the same surreal characters and platform jumping fun factor that made all its predecessors great.

    An example of a game changing too much is civ 3. I LOVED civ2, and I suppose all I was really looking for was an add on pack for civ 2 when I bought civ 3. I loved certain aspects of it, the expanded diplomacy, culture, and automated workers for example, but they made certain aspects of the game so tedious (like defending borders). In general, the game just lost alot for me, it felt like I was playing a game like civ 2, but something very different and not belonging to the series.

    Sometimes remakes just completely miss the boat though. I saw the remake of the original final fantasy, which was essentially the same game w/ updtated graphics and sound, but they just totally missed it. The 8 bit graphics and sound are part of what made that game so great. I completely lost the nostalgic aspect of playing it.
    • Actually, I think this gets a bit tricky since things will vary a lot from person to person. Different people will consider different traits of a game as its core components.

      Quake makes a good example for this, since I liked the bit of story and single player mission components of the first two games. But I never did bother to get the third one. It was not really bad, just not that good in my opinion as it lost too many components that I liked about the other Quake games. I know there are others that

  • by iainl ( 136759 ) on Monday April 05, 2004 @09:10AM (#8768169)
    When its a Sequel. Most Hollywood "remakes" of previously Hollywood films (with the clear and obvious exception of Gus Van Sandt's Psycho) are just retelling the same basic plot as the original, but doing it in a very different way.

    In the game world, however, if it isn't practically exactly the same game with maybe updated graphics (if you're lucky), then it'll get called a sequel anyway. By the above Hollywood logic, every EA soccer game since about '99 should be called a remake, and the same pretty much goes for every other Sports series and half the FPS games as well. There is more difference between New Dawn Of The Dead and Dawn Of The Dead Classic than there is between any Crazy Taxi release, for instance.
    • As for the sports titles, they fit the term sequel much better. If you think of it in sports terms, each title works like a season, which follows the previous title/season in the series.

      Although, in sports themselves, each season is more of a patch to the previous season (same graphics, same engine, same effects, just shuffled some players around and added/dropped a few), with the occasional expansion pack (like the down line, puck highlighting, or a new brand of jersey).
  • by Ayaress ( 662020 ) on Monday April 05, 2004 @09:14AM (#8768180) Journal
    If I told you about Mary, but left out the Little Lamb, do I even have the right to call it the same story? Adding content is one thing, so long as it fits the premise of the game (like the extra dungons in the Link's Awakening and Link to the Past remakes)

    I'll admit there are things they can just take out (like the blue staff from Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, or fourty or so player characters from Chrono Cross), but they never take out the useless/pointless junk. They take out important things, change defining bits of dialog (Square showed great wisdom in not fixing the "You spoony bard!" mistranslation, or they'd have rabid fanboys burning their homes in the night), remove great plot insights, entire sections of the game sometimes, and usually cover it up by adding some completely random and unrelated bonus level that makes no sense in the overall game.
  • My take... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Firehawke ( 50498 ) on Monday April 05, 2004 @10:25AM (#8768868) Journal
    Well, I'd have to say that Twin Snakes ALMOST got it right. It's good enough to be a worthy successor, but it definitely has a few oddities. The complete lack of VR missions was completely incomprehensible, for one thing, and the seemingly random framerate stutters are irritating, but the _massive_ AI improvement, graphical touchups, and ability to use MGS2 moves really does add to the game.

    Now, if only they'd redo the first two Metal Gear games in that style.. it'd be nice to see a real US release of MG2: Solid Snake.

    Another example of how to do it right would be the Mario All-Stars SNES title, with the graphics and audio completely reworked but the underlying game engines left alone.

    One that really DIDN'T quite stand up as well is the Rockman Complete Works. The first three games in the set didn't really add ANYTHING worthwhile at all. The latter three at least have remixed music as an option, but the games really could have used a graphic overhaul. Since a compressed, parial ROM image has been discovered on the discs in question, it's pretty obvious they chose to go with a partial emulation with the audio as XA streams.

    Titles that absolutely borked it? Final Fantasy 4-6. Bad mode-7 emulation, hideous loading times, and tinny audio. FF5 even got a hideous translation out of it.
    • Re:My take... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Titles that absolutely borked it? Final Fantasy 4-6. Bad mode-7 emulation, hideous loading times, and tinny audio. FF5 even got a hideous translation out of it.

      Damn right. But at least having paid for the remakes I feel more comfortable about playing the SNES originals on my PC - including the vastly superior RPGe translation of FF5.
    • Another example of how to do it right would be the Mario All-Stars SNES title, with the graphics and audio completely reworked but the underlying game engines left alone.

      Mario All-Stars almost did it right, but not quite.

      Several levels lost their uniqueness in the remake. Most notable are 6-3 and 8-3 of SMB1. In the 6-3 felt like you were in a cold, icy area (you still walked normally tho). In the remake, the level was bright and sunny just like any other. 8-3 was interesting because of the castle backgr
  • Sequel Bonus (Score:4, Interesting)

    by robbway ( 200983 ) on Monday April 05, 2004 @11:46AM (#8769793) Journal
    One of the nicest things to find in a sequel/remake is when the original game is included, like on Metroid. In these cases the game is emulated, and that's usually fine as long as it was play tested.

    So I typically like remakes with the originals, and sequels with the originals. One game that shows this is Pokemon Coliseum. The battles mimic the Gameboy, except with 3D characters and special effects worthy of Gamecube. It's a shame with this game, as it was with Pokemon Stadium (N64), that they simply didn't emulate the Pokemon Sapphire/Ruby in 3D with the same Pokemon models. Yes, the graphics would have square borders around areas, but it'd be a nice twist on the game play.
    • Metroid Zero Mission was done extremely well. If you knew the original game, then you'd have a decent idea of what you were doing in the remake, but not enough for there to not be surprises. They kept almost every room memorable room from the original. It just had the perfect blend of making you feel "this is what I remember" and "this is new".

      Including an emulated version of the original game really added to the enjoyment, as you could easily compare the two versions.
    • I could write a book on all the little things that they coulda/woulda/shoulda done with the entire Pokemon franchise to make it so much better. It's a bit saddening to me, as an RPG fan, to see probably one of the most strategically complex and promising RPG systems ever crammed into a handheld platform with a mind numbingly easy kid's game stuck on the front end.
  • X-Com Remake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Saige ( 53303 ) <> on Monday April 05, 2004 @12:55PM (#8770526) Journal
    Glad to see him mention the desire for an X-Com remake. I still don't understand why they don't do something like this - surely it would sell well with all the people who loved it the first time around, and would love to see it redone even better.

    Remove the bugs that never got fixed (the difficulty bug, for example, or the base defense missions with sealed off sections). Enhance it in GOOD ways (ie not making it real-time or some inanity like that), with even the options to play it with all the enhancements off, making it just a fancier looking and bug-free version of the original, and you'd make many gamers happy.

    I'm still suprised we haven't had enough fans of the game get together and code up a freeware clone of the game.
  • by AzraelKans ( 697974 ) on Monday April 05, 2004 @02:15PM (#8771373) Homepage
    A great example of a bad remake is the new 3d Castlevania for ps2 a lot of people got the impression that the problem was the leap to 3d, but the actual problem was the "return to form" castlevania evolved with each title to the awarded new Castlevania:SOTN format that we got in the PSX (multiple weapons, inventories, metroid style replayable non linear levels,etc) and the gba remakes, unfortunately they ignored that and tried the same format of the original castlevania, obviously the result is something that is considered dull by today standards: one weapon, no inventory, linear levels. (The same happened to TMNT but for sanity's sake lets not go to there)

    Curiously enough Ninja Gaiden ( a remake of a much simpler in form game) decided to use a format similar to SOTN (inventory, several weapons, replayable non linear levels) while keeping some of the elements that made the series famous (extreme dificulty, teathrical cutscenes, over dramatic story) the result is a game that is considered very varied and well done by today standards.

    I dont know, maybe the trick for a good remake is to add the "commodities" current games have with the "flavor" old games used to have.

    Anyway I wouldnt call twin snakes "a remake" is more likely a port from the PSX version. And taking that into account it should had the features the original had. The vr missions were a "side game" you could do if you got stuck in the main game.
  • Whats wrong with the old games as they are?

    Nothing, really.

    Why not try making some new, unique, and creative games. I know you can. I still see one or two truly unique games a year.

    chu chu rocket, rez, parappa..

    all brilliant, all unique.

    I guess the concept of "new original ideas" is dead, eh?
    • The concept of new original ideas isn't dead, it's the absence of new original ideas in successful implementations that's the problem.

      I'm suddenly reminded of concept cars in the auto industry. Designers are given leeway and resources to design and build a concept car to try out new ideas, to expand the horizon of thinking. Most cars disappear into obscurity and are expected to do so, but elements of these innovative creations show up in what you and I (want to) drive around today.

      Something else that came

  • Strictly On Topic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by robbway ( 200983 ) on Monday April 05, 2004 @05:37PM (#8773467) Journal
    To stay strictly on talking remakes and not sequels, here are the characteristics I prefer in remakes:

    1) Same software, better hardware. Like, Gameboy Advance Namco games, it's best if the better hardware has an advantage over it's previous incarnation, but sometimes it's just a matter of availability.

    2) Cheaper. Activision Classics series are games that wouldn't be worth much today, so they cram a lot of them on one cart.

    3) Better Sound and Graphics. All of the incarnations of Lunar: Silver Star Story keep messing with these, to good effect.

    4) Expanded gameplay, footage, levels, level editor. Old game with bonus modes, a new ability, interstitials, levels beyond the end, or unlimited play on a previously limited game.

    5) Availability. Releasing unreleased games, finished or not. Bloody Freeway for Activision? Maybe Thrill Kill will come out legitimately?

    Things I don't like:

    1) Bad emulation. Sometimes emulators run a bit fast, a bit slow, or totally different AI. Atari Anniversary collection on Dreamcast emulated rasters poorly.

    2) Inappropriate Content. Fighting games on Gameboy are almost always bad because of integrated controller with too few buttons. Another example is Japanese Dance Dance Revolution games on Gameboy Color.

    And of course, I only have myself to blame if the game isn't as fun as I remembered.
  • A Core Idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miyako ( 632510 ) <> on Monday April 05, 2004 @08:16PM (#8775132) Homepage Journal
    I think Capcom set the bar miles higher than it had been before with their remake of Resident Evil for gamecube.
    The thing is, I don't think this had nearly as much to do with the graphical and audio improvements as one would think, nor the added secrets or changed puzzles.
    The difference between the RE remake and a number of other remakes is the feeling of "This is how it was intended to be the first time".
    Although a movie and not a game, I am going to contrast this with the recent Dawn of the Dead remake because it is fresh in my memory.
    The original Resident Evil was an early PS game, and suffered from lack of horsepower when it was released, and still managed to convey the atmosphere of sheer terror. When the remake was done for the gamecube, Capcom took this core idea of terror and re-invented it on the new technology.
    They took things they had learned from the sequals to Resident Evil (and the bigger budget) and used those to enhance the game.
    What Capcom did was to take the seed idea and build a new game around it.
    In the new Dawn of the Dead, instead of a feeling of "this is how it was intended to be the first time", one simply gets the feeling "this is exactly what I'm proud of Romero for NOT making".
    Instead of taking a core idea, a few elements of sheer terror and building a new game/movie around those elements, the director chose to take the most obvious elements and wrap them around a completely different set of core ideas.
    In Movies, Games, hell even software revisions, this is the primary difference between a good remake and a shit remake.
    A good remake will put a new UI (for lack of a better term) over an existing Kernel (again for a lack of a better term), whereas a shit remake attempts to transfer the old UI onto a new Kernel.
    Another good analogy would be, a good remake is putting a tie-dye candy shell on M&Ms, a bad remake is putting M&M shells around peices of catfood.
    Unfortunately the latter is much more common due to the idea that "this time around we can do it better" without giving thought to the fact that by changing things at the heart of a game, for every bad thing thats fixed by new experiences, a good thing is potentially lost because the original developers "didn't know $foo was a bad idea when they implimented it and it turned out to be awesome" but the new developers "know better".
  • Straying a bit from the topic, but... if you like Metal Gear, another great game you should play is Sega's HEADHUNTER for Playstation2 (the Dreamcast version was only released in Europe).

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?