The Necessity of Game Remakes

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The Necessity of Game Remakes

In the past five years we have seen a surge in the number of remakes in mainstream media. Mainly in movies, and video games, we have seen remakes for many different intellectual properties (I.P.) and franchises. Skyrim, Call of Duty, Ghostbusters, All Quiet on the Western Front, Wargames, and Scarface to name a few, however these are just the remakes that are marketed, and acknowledge themselves as remakes. Many other media, intellectual properties, and sequels to existing franchises are hidden remakes, as they either reuse plot points, existing themes, deep questions, and or characters.



For example, Star Wars the Force Awakens reuses many ideas and plot points from the story arc of A New Hope. We see in the Force Awakens a death star-like structure that essentially has the same function as the death star; the only difference is that it is bigger and can destroy multiple planets at once. In both we see a naive young person who has no immediate family leave home on a desert planet. The reused character flaws shown at the start of both films where Chewbacca and Han Solo are scum bags that are only interested in money. (regardless of the fact that Solo should have remained with the rebellion regardless of his relationship with Leia, because he was a general) There are many other good examples of the Force Awakens reusing plot points, but I want to point out why the plots are so similar.



The biggest reason Disney had the plots so similar was to protect their investment into the franchise. As a company Disney spent a lot of money on the Star Wars brand. It would be a big blow if the new films failed to generate enough revenue. So to limit the risk, Disney had the film’s writers implement plots and ideas from A New Hope because they knew that alot people obviously liked the film, and if their film had similar things to it, there would be fewer people who would hate the Force Awakens. Basically Disney has sacrificed uniqueness for less of a risk in their investments.



This business strategy isn’t only being practiced by Walt Disney; tons of publishers are using this tactic. It’s because of this that the entertainment world has entered an age of remakes. Every remake in production has investors who only have ties to the films to make money, so it makes sense that they would invest in a film that already has a fan base, because it holds less risk. Sure, the remake could be awful, but that doesn’t matter. Because it has a guaranteed audience. Who cares if they hated it, they already spent their money, and now it’s in the investors’ pockets. So if you are an investor, you would want to invest in remakes or films that are similar to its predecessors because it will hold less risk than a new I.P.



Video games are also very similar, but there are some key differences. Video games run typically on either PC or consoles but most on consoles. Unlike PCs that can be upgraded with new components, consoles have to be upgraded all in some swoop through the sale of a whole new console. This is a console generation, and it gives developers an excuse to remake their old games from the older console generation because old games typically don’t run on the new machines. So all developers need to do is update their graphics and models and you got a whole new product that required far less capital to make. Not to mention that it holds less risk because if the original sold well, then the remake will sell.



Video games also have problems with developers using content from past titles in their new releases. But unlike movies that use plot points, video games reuse physical assets from their predecessors. An example is Assassin’s Creed, if you look at Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, you will notice that both use the same code for ships including AI pathing, scripting for combat, combat AI, and how ship battles themselves function. Rogue also uses the same character movement animations, and enemy types. A lot of Black Flag can be found in Rogue. However, this wasn’t done to have players like the game; this was done to ease development of the game. In the end it does the same thing. It saves time, and it saves money that the investor needs to spend.



Recycled content in movies is a lot worse than those in games, because games still can be different from predecessors even though using the same assets. Remakes as they are today are bad. They are taking the creativity out of the entertainment industry. So go buy a game from a new franchise, or watch a new movie in theaters, because in the end we dictate how the future of entertainment turns out. If you don’t want a remake-filled future, then don’t pay for them. You vote on what gets made with your wallet. If more people started seeing new films, then more investors would start to pay for those films. It’s all up to you.


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