When should developers go back and remaster or remake their most popular games?

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    6 months ago

    People aren’t against them. They are against pointless remakes like the PS5 version of The Last of Us 1 (not the remaster, they fully remade the game), which changes…fuck all. Like seriously, what does it change of significance?

    Like, sure, if the game isn’t otherwise playable on the platform then by all means, but otherwise why waste all that time?

    Then there is the confusion as to the categorisation of returning games and what label to put them under. In my book, you’ve got:

    1. Emulation: literally the same game from the old console running in an interpreter program. Examples: NSO Collections, MGS 1 from MGS Master Collection

    2. Port: Same game, more or less, but running natively on the console/PC.

    3. Remaster: As above but with updated textures, models, FMVs, etc

    4. Faithful Remake: The game code, assets, etc are completely re-done but the game strictly adheres to the source material, save for a few modern amenities like auto save, ironing out bugs and maybe some things they wanted to do but couldn’t because of hardware limitations. Examples include Spyro Reignited, Resident Evil 1, Halo Anniversary and Kingdom Hearts 1+2 on all consoles except the PS2.

    5. Interpretive Remakes: Basically a completely new game using the old game’s basic plot points and designs. Examples include: the Resident Evil Remakes (except 1) and the Final Fantasy 7 remake.

    But my list isn’t industry standard. There is no industry standard. FF7R and the REmakes are considered as much a remake as Spyro Reignited or Crash N’sane trilogy. The version of MGS 1 in MGS Master collection is sold as a remaster despite being blatant emulation. It makes it very hard to know what you’re gonna get.

    • insomniac_lemon
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      6 months ago

      Some people might be against them for the reason that they can de-list their old games from digital storefronts. For newer games especially it’d make that hard to compare what was changed.


      I guess it’s not as relevant with newer titles, but I feel like many of the classics looked fine (especially with higher internal res which is a good option for emu) and had some really cool tech that gave it a nice aesthetic without it being bloated. So it kind of feels like it’s missing the point (limitation and ingenuity or something like that).

      Like with Spyro, a big draw for me is the usage of vertex color including the skyboxes (one example, album). So it went from ~300MiB to 30-60GiB+. I mean sure some old games were designed with raster graphics that look crusty now, but for something like Spyro I’d rather play even a fan _de_make (leaning further into vertex colors) with more fleshed out gameplay (/more content) though too many fan game creators haven’t learned to distance even their game titles from trademarks.

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        16 months ago

        I mean, indie games do exist that scratch that itch, so you do still have options

        • insomniac_lemon
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          6 months ago

          Well I have a lot of problems with how people design games so I don’t really buy stuff anymore, plus I haven’t really seen a lot of stuff that focuses on vector (esp textureless). In other words it’s pretty niche even for indie, and discoverability generally isn’t great even on the best day.

          I’d probably have more luck doing it myself, I’ve done a few 2D things (meme made with Godot 3.X, 4.0 eye animation, not-yet-in-4.X test of someone elses’ PR) but I’m not a dev and I don’t have much energy or many ideas.

          • 520
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            16 months ago

            Ah. I think the problem there is that pure vectors can be much harder to work with. it’s hard to make something that looks good with purely vector based approaches, especially as your scenes get more complex.

            • insomniac_lemon
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              16 months ago

              I don’t think that’s it. For 3D the workflow is already there and vertex colors are powerful (though usually used for shaders or other effects like terrain-based sounds). Even going for Spyro’s approach (esp. grayscale textures that disappear with LoD so it’s just color) wouldn’t be too bad as I imagine its music/voice is actually what takes up the most space (newer audio compression or MIDI-like music would reduce that), though a more minimal/stylized look could make it a lot easier. Certainly some things are more suited for it than others.

              I could say a lot of technical reasons for or against this workflow, but I think the biggest is just that it’s something that people don’t think about or would rather have photorealism or blocky pixels instead (or at least that’s a large chunk of the market). Vertex lighting is cool but doesn’t have much use over modern lighting (if it did, it’d be very niche) and developers often don’t really care about optimization much, instead telling players ‘upgrade your PC’.

              (admittedly my experience with 2D vector seems less supported as far as editors and AA, though I’m not sure if Godot’s clip children feature has an equivalent in 3D or if you’d just need to use meshes/rigging more cleverly… which is fair, I’m not aware of non-skeleton rigging tools in Godot’s 2D either)

              • 520
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                6 months ago

                3D vectors can work well, but as an artist you are often better suited by going with the N64 approach. Due to technical limitations, textures were often used quite sparsely, with vertex shading providing the main colour and textures providing details. It was especially prevalent in games with cartoon art styles such as Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie, but even games like GoldenEye used this trick to a degree.

                The problem with pure vertex is, the more detail you add to stuff, the more calculations you are doing, and they can really add up. The same is kinda true of bitmap (in terms of resolution) but the problem doesn’t scale the same way. With that said, it will work well for a cartoony/anime art style where massive amounts of detail isn’t necessarily needed, and shaders can be used to complete the look.

                • insomniac_lemon
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                  6 months ago

                  I mean yeah we’re mostly on the same page… but it should be clear that I’m not suggesting crazy detail everywhere, mostly just being a bit more intentional with model design when possible to integrate vertex color (or another old technique, use multiple objects when it means a simpler mesh). And I mentioned Spyro’s texture/LoD system which is good, was going to mention sprite usage and also Crash having only 2 textures (shoes, back) but was too wordy (also Crash taking advantage of a linear camera for custom culling and view-specific models).

                  I’d say it’s really good to give variation (and unique-ness) on detail and effects that way every tiny thing you decide to add isn’t a fixed workload. Or in some cases the opposite approach, a more re-used/modular design for certain things like characters.

                  The problem with textures (aside from data w/high-res/high-color, resolution dependency, and workload) is that when you play an older game at modern resolutions (higher internal res or even just a Flash game) the elements that were designed for older resolutions/displays are really apparent next to the meshes that scale perfectly. Particularly if it’s a GUI or pre-rendered cutscene (sometimes other random stuff). Textures on meshes can still be a really solid aesthetic for the environment/characters.

                  Also generated textures (see .kkrieger for an extreme example) might be a potential fix for the drawbacks, or something like textures that are designed to be used with an upscale filter (or in a similar way, maybe converting to SDF textures).

                  • 520
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                    16 months ago

                    Yeah, we are definitely on the same page. What they did with classic Crash with minimal textures on the character, they also did the same thing with Mario in 64 and Banjo in Banjo-Kazooie.

                    You could do a similar approach to environmentals for a decent effect too, such as having the texture essentially act as a very restricted form of bump map for the vertex shaded polygon. Goldeneye did this a fair bit.

                    I would be interested in seeing this kind of art style make a return.

    • @echo64
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      06 months ago

      People are against them. Demonstrably.

      Also worth reading everything I wrote not just the bits you want to read

      If developers want to re-release their games on new platforms, I say sure? No skin off my back, helps them work on engine and tooling for the new platforms, gives games another wind. Literally does not matter to me.

      • 520
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        6 months ago

        None of what I wrote contradicts that. Like I said, they are against pointless remakes and remasters. That’s what’s being discussed in the article.

        While PS1, PS2 and even PS3 games could do with a fresh lick of paint if released today, it’s not exactly uncontroversial to say that PS4 games don’t need it. PS4 games don’t even have the argument of simply making it available to modern consoles because PS5s can play PS4 games directly.

        The law of diminishing returns has hit this generation pretty damn hard, to the point where most people are hard pressed to tell a PS4 game from a PS5 game. So when the differences are that miniscule, you aren’t really meeting the objectives of a remaster. Just do a straight port with better FPS and/or resolution support.

        • @echo64
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          06 months ago

          Like, sure, if the game isn’t otherwise playable on the platform then by all means, but otherwise why waste all that time?

          If developers want to re-release their games on new platforms, I say sure? No skin off my back, helps them work on engine and tooling for the new platforms, gives games another wind. Literally does not matter to me.

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            6 months ago

            I mean of course they’re free to, and I don’t take any any sort of umbrage against those who do but… How does it make more sense than something like a paid compatibility patch? (Tbf that’s what TLoU2 is doing with its ‘remaster’)

            • @echo64
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              6 months ago

              you can’t do a ‘patch’ for a new platform, you have to release a new SKU. that’s just the mechanics of it. that’s what 99% of these things that people are mad about are. it also gives people an excuse to print mode physical medias which makes people who like physical media happy.

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                26 months ago

                you can’t do a ‘patch’ for a new platform, you have to release a new SKU.

                Tell that to Microsoft and Sony. Xbox Series X and PS5 have been enabling exactly this for X1 and PS4 games respectively.

                The consoles not only have native backward compatibility, but they allow developers to make patches for 8th gen games to specifically target 9th gen hardware.

                • @echo64
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                  6 months ago

                  No, they have unlocked profiles. This is absolutely not the same thing as releasing a game made for previous gen for current gen it does not give you access to most of the graphical and audio capabilities of the modern platform, nor does it give you access to features like duelsense triggers and rumble.

                  It mearly takes the speed limit off the ps4 abstractation layer.

                  I want to be super clear about how these are very very different things. And also about how it’s petty to go and press the downvote button on someone’s posts when you’re having a conversation with them. Numbers don’t mean anything here, it’s just petty and makes conversation weird.

                  • 520
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                    6 months ago

                    They aren’t limited to unlocked framerates and higher resolutions though. Some games also add additional graphics effects.

                    it does not give you access to most of the graphical and audio capabilities of the modern platform

                    Except where it clearly can. For example, Witcher 3’s next gen update adds features like ray tracing.

                    And also about how it’s petty to go and press the downvote button on someone’s posts when you’re having a conversation with them.

                    Im not the one pressing the downvote button, heck my client doesn’t even register you as having downvotes (I’m on Kbin) but I presume someone else is doing it because you are demonstrably incorrect. Go look at Witcher 3. Go look at Cyberpunk 2077. These developers are doing what you deem to be impossible.