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Remakes, reboots and remasters are now major cornerstones of modern gaming. Scan ahead in the release schedule, and you're fairly guaranteed to spot an old name returning with a fresh lick of paint. For example, February 2021 brings us Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection and March a remake of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Beyond that is Pokémon Snap, arriving on April 30; Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139..., due the same month; and eventually, perhaps in late 2021, the second chapter of Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Rumours of remakes keep coming, too. Metal Gear Solid for a second time (see the video below). Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Resident Evil 4 is a controversial one, as there does seem to be significant evidence of a remake being in the works - and fair enough on Capcom's part here, as both the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 have been critical and commercial hits. But there comes a point with remakes where you have to ask: does the last version of this game, which perhaps isn't even the original at this point, really need refreshing?
For many players, the 2005 release of Resident Evil 4 is the only one that ever needs to happen - although the more recent HD remasters were welcomed, of course. A full-blown remake, though? Unnecessary, we argued in 2020, as the game's an "untouchable masterpiece" already. Resident Evil 4 looks like, and plays like, a modern-era video game. It pioneered the over-the-shoulder, third-person action genre, which the likes of Gears of War and Uncharted then refined.
Less controversially, there are calls for older, rougher-about-the-edges favourites of old to make a comeback. We see you in the comments, calling for GoldenEye 007 to be officially remade with new graphics (never gonna happen). For Grand Theft Autos Vice City and San Andreas to progress from fan-made mod demos to Rockstar-helmed remakes proper. For any number of ancient Star Wars games to be revived with new engines, for new consoles, for new and old audiences alike.
And look, I wouldn't say no to those. But I ask you: are they the kind of remakes we need? Why not look, instead, to games that weren't already runaway hits at the first time of asking. Games that have grown in column-inch acclaim over time but sometimes remain hard to play, absent from contemporary consoles. I'm not saying: don't remake those great GTA games. I am saying: wouldn't it be cool if a game that costs a lot of money to buy for outdated hardware was to be remade and released anew, so a wealth of curious gamers could finally press start on the thing.
It's been fantastic to see games like Demon's Souls and Shadow of the Colossus receive modern-era remakes in the past few years, and the PlayStation exclusives have introduced new players to titles that were, in the PS2 and PS3 eras, more (large-scale) cult concerns than outstanding sales successes. And with that approach in mind, I have some other ideas regarding games to remake alongside the ones that are going to have gamers buying them for a second or third time.
I put four such games into a Twitter poll, to see which 'needed' a remake the most. First, Konami's Snatcher, a Hideo Kojma-directed Cyberpunk adventure that only received one English-language release - for the SEGA Mega CD, in 1994. It sold incredibly poorly, and later releases for PlayStation and Saturn were Japan-only affairs. The game resurfaced on the PC Engine Mini in 2020 - but again, in Japanese. Its unplayed popularity has only grown and grown, however - not surprising, given its director - and with second-hand copies of the Mega CD game regularly selling for hundreds of pounds, it's become unobtainable for most. A new Snatcher in an open-world Neo Kobe City? What a rush that'd be. (Or, y'know, just re-release the Mega CD game on Switch... I'll take it.)
Second, Capcom's Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. This terrific, beautiful-looking puzzler released for Nintendo's twin-screen DS and iOS in 2010, and never quite reached the audience it deserved at the time. It's still fairly available on the second-hand market - the 3DS being backwards compatible sure helps - albeit for around the price of a new release, between £25 and £40 depending on where you look. Its wonderful visuals get rather fuzzy on the (3)DS screen, though, and an HD remaster of this (Ace Attorney creator) Shu Takumi-directed title for Switch would be fantastic. But a remake might be the way to go, given Ghost Trick's current reliance on dual-screen (and touch-screen) play.
Third, Square (Enix)'s Parasite Eve. Now this really is one of those unheralded classics of its era that there's a considerable groundswell of remake support for - borne out by the fact that it won my little Twitter poll, with 33.3% of the overall vote. (Bring Me the Horizon also named a very lyrically-relevant song after it, last year.) Square's first-ever M-rated video game came out in 1998 for the PlayStation, but only in Japan and North America - those of us in Europe were left out. A horror-tinged action-RPG, it cast the player as New York police officer Aya Brea uncovering all manner of supernatural terror, and left a powerful impression on anyone who got to play it through to a (not exactly) secret, second ending. A sequel followed in 1999; and the third game in the series, 2010's shooter-styled The 3rd Birthday, really wasn't what fans were asking for. What is being asked for, clearly: a remake of the original game (maybe even with voice acting this time, eh?), so that many more players can enjoy one of Square (Enix)'s most undeniably unsettling games.
Fourth and finally, Chrono Trigger. A more traditional Square (Enix) RPG, this is one of the best games ever released for the Super Nintendo - albeit one that, again, never officially came to Europe - and is arguably amongst the finest titles of its genre. Certainly, the GAMINGbible team rate it highly, placing Chrono Trigger at number 14 on our Greatest Games of All Time list. Yep, we like it. Love it, even. You can still get the game easily via its DS port, and it's on Steam too; but the idea of Chrono Trigger getting the same kind of remake love as Final Fantasy VII is... Well, it's exciting. Never gonna happen, but what if. All those fantastic Akira Toriyama-designed characters, the vehicles and buildings, and those wildly vibrant worlds and eras in time, brought to life like never before in a newer, three-dimensional engine. Could be fantastic.
Of course, it could also be a disaster. We've seen enough remakes crash and burn. Did anyone need the 2019 remake of MediEvil? Or the 2018 remake of Secret of Mana? I can't think of anyone who'd say: yep, I want to play those versions, over the originals. And the fact that the still-amazing 1993 Secret of Mana is easily playable in both the Collection of Mana compilation for Switch and on the Super NES Classic Edition mini-console practically renders the remake irrelevant. You almost feel sorry for it.
Beyond my Twitter poll, naturally there's a wealth of old favourites that you and I would like to see reborn. I didn't put it as one of the four options as it's almost sacrilegious to say such a thing, but imagine 1990's The Secret of Monkey Island as an actual open-world adventure; albeit with the same visual style as the celebrated 2009 remake, with the same goofiness and same jokes from 30 years ago. Just, bigger. (Maybe fold in the content of the sequel, too?) See more of the magic and mystery of Mêlée Island. Smell the salty sea air from the beer garden of the Scumm Bar. Taste the grog as it burns the tip of your tongue and melts through your teeth. I know, I know: nobody would dare to attempt such a thing. Then again, The Secret of Monkey Island was made by Lucasfilm Games, and Lucasfilm Games just announced its comeback, so...
What I'm saying is: give us remakes, absolutely, because we love them. But more than that, give us remakes of games that we can't play any more; remakes of games that we could never play in the first place; and remakes of games that were restrained by the technology of their time, but could soar to new heights with today's hardware. Games like Demon's Souls, like Shadow of the Colossus; games like Parasite Eve, and Snatcher, and Ghost Trick. These are the games that really deserve their time again, whereas San Andreas, y'know, it did pretty well for itself already.
Featured Image Credit: Square Enix, Capcom
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