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Roundtable - October 12, 2003 - Part 2

Googleshng: Moving along to our next topic, for the last several years, remakes of older RPGs seem to be outnumbering new titles on store shelves. While I'm all for exposing the youngins to the classics, am I the only one who'd like to see dev teams concentrating more on new stuff?

Brian: No.

Susan: Dull, for those of us who have played the games first time around if they don't add anything - usually half-assed, buggy ports to catch a quick buck. When they bring something new, it's too easy to ruin the original feel of a game, or what made it special (retranslating FF4 for example ruined the game for me... Just kept remembering the old translation)... but it does bring older games to a new generation of players.

Sean: Well, most of the releases I've seen have been fairly low-effort. In that case, your dev-team is hardly taxed to the point where they can't be doing other things.

Brian: I dig remakes of classics as much as the next gamer, but new stuff will always be better than old stuff, no matter how you look at it.

James: I'm all for remaking classics, but I think the purpose of the remake is lost when the game was horrible back then...

Susan: Though I am agreed that... generally speaking, it's more fun for the consumer when new material is presented than when old material is rehashed.

Paul: Final Fantasy IIj of Origins comes to mind. At least Square-Enix got the remake game right the third time around, but FFIIj isn't a game I'd play again anytime soon.

Sean: And if you have a legitimate remake (Tales of Phantasia PSX, Dragon Quest IV), then the game's repackaging makes it a lot closer to a new game than an old game.

Googleshng: One of my biggest gripes with remakes honestly is that developers insist on trying to "update" the gameplay. Look at Dragon Warrior for example. The only reason to play the sucker is the bragging rights you earn slogging through all that slime slaughtering. For the GBC port, they upped EXP rewards and lowered prices. What's the point?

Paul: Seriously, the original Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy titles are being remade for cell phones now. Not that the hardware can't handle the games, but...

Sean: In that sense, the argument against ports reminds me a lot of the argument that better graphics take away from the story, as if they took three scriptwriters and had them create character models.

Brian: Well, Goog, you have to consider the medium for the original Dragon Warrior remake on GBC. It IS a portable game.

Googleshng: Sean: Yes, but see, graphics have no effect on gameplay. Tweaking balance, or replacing the magic system as we're seeing with Wild ARMs, that's another story. Plus I find most developers become less competent overall.

Paul: Well, as long as options are kept to keep the difficulty at its original level, I'd be fine with gameplay tweaks.

James: I think "Remake" is a term that should be used loosely. A lot of these remakes just seem to rehash the game. Same old game, same old problems, really. No real effort is made to fix up the game, they just slap a fresh coat of paint on and hope everyone buys it.

Brian: And that is a prime example of what NOT to do. That's more like a port than a remake.

Googleshng: Well yes. I personally have only ever played one game I could call a true remake, and it wasn't an RPG.

Sean: And, really, most everyone calls most of those ports, not remakes.

Brian: True.

Paul: Reminds me slightly of the Phantasy Star Collection for the GBA. Mostly everything was as is, including localization errors.

Googleshng: Paul: That's next topic.

Sean: Well, they're out there.

Susan: Prettying up graphics and providing a slightly altered translation is not remaking a game... but at the same time, do we really WANT them tampering with what made a game good in the first place?

Googleshng: That depends on the developer really.

Brian: Exactly. If they're going to put some serious effort into it, I'm all for "tampering" with the game. As Sean has stated, a good remake is closer to a new game than the old game.

Googleshng: Comparing, say, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, we can safely say Square should leave well enough alone. Shinji Mikami on the other hand did a wonderful job of remixing Resident Evil.

James: Wasn't the Chrono Trigger port's story altered to fit with Chrono Cross's story?

Googleshng: James: They spliced a little bit on the end yes.

Googleshng: Looking at the other side of the coin for a moment, are there any RPGs anyone would actually like to see remade, or at least ported with updated graphics?

Brian: Quest64. *runs away*

Sean: Honestly, I've already played remakes of both the games I had a substantial want for.

Brian: Seriously, though, I'd kill to see Square finally release a version of Seiken Denetsu 3.

Googleshng: That would be fairly nice yes.

Paul: Agreed. It might even be an appropriate title for the GBA...

Brian: It'd be perfect for the GBA.

James: I think pretty much everything that can be done to death already HAS been, but seeing a whole Seiken Densetsu series port for any system would make my century...

Googleshng: I'd honestly like to see Wild ARMs 2 retranslated, but otherwise I say leave well enough alone.

Brian: Yes, I've heard the earlier Wild ARMs games left a little to be desired in the sound / translation departments, although personally I've only played III.

Paul: Well, aside from Tellah's famous line in FF4, I don't think any games redone for the sake of localization would be a bad thing.

Susan: THEY RUINED FF4 by RETRANSLATING IT.

Googleshng: Anyone have any final thoughts on this topic?

Brian: To summarize, a remake isn't a remake if they don't change much. It's a port. And both of them suck if the developer doesn't put any real effort into it.

Susan: Or if the game sucked in the first place.

James: I'll have to add to that by saying: Remake good. Port bad.

Brian: True.

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