Of all the games that I played in 2020 (and thanks to Covid-19, there were a lot!), what I enjoyed the most was Resident Evil 2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, and Assassin’s Creed 3, all of which were remastered or remade versions of previous games. At first I thought it was just me, I enjoy nostalgia and had happy times playing the original versions, however, I noticed more and more games being remade and got to thinking; is the video game industry running out of ideas?
This has long been a question debated about Hollywood movies, with only a handful of original films listed in the all-time box office list. This stands to reason as the cost to make a film increases, so does the studio’s investment and their concerns about whether they’ll make it back, which is why they trust bankable properties (e.g. Marvel, etc). Is this the reason the video game industry is going this way as well?
It may appear that it’s a cheap way of making some quick money. Update the graphics a bit and release it to much fanfare. But that isn’t the case with most versions; Resident Evil 2, for example, was a completely remade version of the game. So, what’s the reason? According to the Wikipedia article ‘List of video game remakes’ (yes that article exists!), 2020 had 29 remakes or remasters released, the highest number ever for a year (tied with 2011 – is it cyclical?). Could it be that it really is running out of ideas? The original game with the highest-profile marketing released in 2020 has to be Cyberpunk 2077, but with the issues that it had on release, and the fact that it was in development for almost a decade, signifies that it is maybe much harder to do in this age of huge stories and focus on multiplayer and microtransactions.
2021 has an impressive list of games due for release, such as Hogwarts Legacy, Gotham Knights, and Lord of the Rings: Gollum (not all releases are based on books, they’re just the ones this writer is most looking forward to!), but there is a smattering of remastered games coming out too (and the list I linked to isn’t exhaustive), including GTA V on its third generation of consoles! Whatever it brings, let’s hope we get some absolute classics!