The practice of re-releasing games that are only a few years old as an “HD remake” or remaster has rubbed people the wrong way for the last few years. There’s just something about being asked to pay as much as $60 for re-releases of games we’ve already paid for oftentimes in the last three or four years. Sometimes these games are presented as a package, therefore offering a ‘better’ value, such as the Borderlands Collection, Master Chief Collection or Final Fantasy X / X-2.
The practice of re-releasing games dates back as far as 2009, with the release of the God of War Collection on the PS3 (well I suppose you could say it goes back even further, with Super Mario All Stars on the SNES, but I’ll keep it recent). The re-releases really started to pick up steam with the current console generation, and early on during this cycle people started to fatigue of these games since there seemed to be more re-releases than new content being produced.
With all these re-releases seemingly milking more money for the same product, people have been speaking up, announcing their displeasure with the practice often in comment sections and on places like Reddit. I myself have even rolled my eyes at some re-releases (looking at you Deadpool), but at the same time I’ve purchased many of them, and I don’t regret it. I’ve had more fun with the Borderlands collection on the Xbox One, even though I’ve owned both games on the 360 and PC. They simply felt more refined on the current gen console (I wasn’t much of a PC gamer at the time). The Master Chief Collection is still one of my favorite game releases of all time. I love being able to switch between all of Halo games with ease, and appreciate the touched up version of Halo 2. I no longer have a PS2 (I’m not one to keep old consoles lying around), so of course I picked up Final Fantasy X HD when it released on PC, and I think there’s no better way to play it.
Fortunately, you don’t always have to open your wallet again for these re-releases, at least if you’re a PC gamer. Bioshock’s updated version was free for those who already owned it, as was today’s release of Skyrim Special Edition (at least if you already owned the game and its DLC). That’s a nice gesture, as they certainly could have asked that we pay again (and they have if you’re a console gamer. Sorry!).
So I can understand that people have a problem with paying for updated visuals, but I’ve been thinking about it this way. We often have no problem upgrading other forms of media as technology has evolved. How many of us have owned movies on VHS, then DVD, then Blu-ray and then digital (or even UHD Blu-ray)? When we upgrade our technology (be it media players or TV’s) we want to get the best possible version of our media available to us. Now movies aren’t quite priced the same as a game, but how often are you going to watch those movies? Once or twice? So you might pay $15-30 for a few hours of entertainment, versus paying $60 for an HD remake of a game that can offer upwards of 200 hours of shiny “new” entertainment.
If you’re not convinced, there’s no problem holding onto your 360 or PS3 version of Skyrim, but I personally want to play the best available version. Besides, part of me likes to think that these releases help to fund new and exciting projects. Game development is more expensive and time consuming than ever, but game prices haven’t risen in years. That’s part of the reason why so many games have micro-transactions, whether we like it or not. Re-releasing an “old” game with a new coat of paint may just provide a publisher with the confidence that consumers are still interested in their products. Maybe I’m just viewing things from a glass half-full perspective, but I like to remain positive whenever possible.
I’m going to stop rambling on now and go enjoy some Skyrim Special Edition in 4K. Thanks for reading! If you feel I’m flat out wrong, or want to express your opinion, I encourage you to comment!