Daily Reaction: HD Remastered Edition – Does Recycled Content Hurt the Industry?

April 27, 2015 Written by Dan Oravasaari

 Daily Reaction Remastered

No, you didn’t misread the title. Daily Reaction is back. If you’re new to the feature, welcome! We hope we don’t scare you away. If you’re a long time veteran looking for your fix after over a year away, it’s time to fall off the wagon. We’re here to take a deep look at every facet of the gaming industry and do what we do best: React. This isn’t just Daily Reaction Remastered. This is an all new and evolving approach to an old idea.

Before we start off on some tirade about remasters, we wanted to say that we have missed being able to open up a dialog about certain topics. Daily Reaction has always been about being able to speak freely about a topic, which in turn has always had the goal of getting those who are reading it to think about certain subjects. With so many diverse gamers who are passionate about the industry, sometimes it is too easy to find the lines that separate us and forget that no matter where we stand, we are all here for the same reason. So be good to each other.

Dan: Now, on to the subject matter at hand, remasters or HD remakes. Over the first year of the PS4’s lifecycle we have seen a number of older titles see a second trip around the new releases shelf at our local retail stores. This has caused a number of gamers to become weary of the lack of new content, and create a backlash from the community.

Like any business model, there is a significant need to maximize the profit margin of any investment, and while this is ‘just’ video games, it is still the world’s best selling form of entertainment. While this may sound like a defensive strategy to excuse any action taken by a publisher, it isn’t, it is just a fact of reality. But, it also does need to be stated that with any product that’s being cycled through the consumer base again, there needs to be a sign of improvement that warrants the resetting of a game’s price point.

This, I think, is the biggest issue with remasters, as with just about every existing product, there is a diminishing value of worth, which is why we can find older titles for cheaper. But, with a remaster, the experience is sadly, more often than not, the same but at full price. This opens the question of how much effort do we want to see made to change an existing title, as the more effort that is put into it, the more developmental assets are going to be needed to do that. Which, in turn, I think sparks the biggest argument against remasters, the fear that needed assets are going to be pulled from existing projects.

It is a difficult balance that I think is creating the majority of the irritation we are seeing from the various fanbases. Some gamers don’t want to see a product rehashed, while others would love a chance to revisit or even catch up on something they missed. So where do publishers and developers set their goals regarding a remaster? Honestly, I don’t think you can make everyone happy, especially on the internet, but I do think that as with any title, remasters, sequels or even a new IP, it should always be developed offering an experience worthy of its price point. If a game releases and no one wants to buy it, they won’t, which is the benefit of a free market, so if you don’t want remasters, speak with your wallet, it’s louder than your keyboard.

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Chandler: HD remasters are an odd issue, and one that I actually stand on both sides of the fence for. I’m just hoping that it’s a low fence, and perhaps not chain link, otherwise that sounds like it would hurt. On one side, remastered games are a chance for many people to play games they didn’t otherwise get to. Those Xbox 360 owners that migrated to PS4? They can still have the opportunity to play amazing games like The Last of Us, and soon, Journey. Maybe someone skipped last console generation? Factors like this facilitate a desire for remastered products.

Dan, you touched on the need for there to be value and significant enough improvements to validate resetting the price point. While I do agree, I also want to add that the essence of value largely depends on the nature of the remaster — or in some cases, a port. Take the recent release of Bastion on the PS4 for example. Very little was changed or improved upon from its original go, but the value in the release was founded in becoming available for a platform family that it had never previously been available on.

On the other hand, we have titles like Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, which houses an immense value by including two games, all currently released DLC for each game, and being playable on the current generation of console while allowing cross saves with last generation and even Vita. That is an immense value proposition for nearly anyone, whether you are a long time Borderlands fan, or are brand new to the franchise.

The faltering point is when the value is not offered in some way. Too many times we are given HD remasters that in no way offer us value, or at least don’t offer enough additional value to warrant another purchase of the product. Ironically, or perhaps completely on purpose, this brings me to a point that we’ll save for a future Daily Reaction, and that is the individual perception of value. Each HD remaster is created because it offers a value to some subset of people. It may not be you or me, but maybe — just maybe — there is somebody out there who hasn’t played Final Fantasy X yet, warranting just one more release on the PS4, even if it does have the side effect of making the market appear oversaturated with games that many of us played years ago.

What do you think of remastered games coming to the PS4? Have you found value in these titles or are they completely oversaturating the games market? Feel free to reach out to us on Twitter @FoolsJoker and @FinchStrife, email us at DailyReaction@playstationlifestyle.net, and comment your remastered comments about this subject below. And welcome back to Daily Reaction.