In the ever apparent world of games being re-mastered and re-released, it has become a thing to expect where gamers are to re-buy games even if they’ve already purchased them in the past. Countless titles come to mind, old and new. Over time this trend has gained popularity, it becomes a bit disheartening to learn that even though you own some of these games from the past, should you want to re-experience it in a new light, or hell, just play the same game on another platform, you need to shell out full retail price for a lot of these games. Let’s face it, games are pretty expensive now a days, at least here in Canada.
Why am I talking about this? Well because I recently noticed in my Steam library, I was given a free upgrade to Dark Siders: Warmaster by simply owning the originals. When news of THQ remastering this game was initially announced, I had just purchased both of the original games and felt foolish that I had just spent money on games that were being remastered. I felt I could have just waited and gotten a better version of a game I never played, but Kudos to THQ for providing this free of charge to those who owned the original game on Steam.
This isn’t the only isolated case where this happens. Upon my searches in the world wide web, I’ve also found out that Bioshock 1 & 2 also followed the same path for PC. Those who owned the game through Steam, or registered it through Windows Live or several other means were also entitled to free upgrades. Very impressive
Another example from this week, Starcraft Remastered. We are not only getting a glorious high res version of Starcraft, but the bit that stands out to me, and this is going way beyond my expectations, is that Blizzard will allow the original game including Brood Wars to be downloaded free of charge. Say what!?
The few examples I cite are exclusively for PC as far as I know, and not all PC games offer these benefits, but it’s still nice so see this being done. Console players on the other hand are not subject to the same treatment, and I’m writing about this because I think this should be mandatory for all platforms of games, and more games in general. Moving onto the darker side of things, the Nintendo virtual console is plagued with many releases that don’t carry to other platforms. You can own the original Super Metroid cartridge for SNES, have purchased it on the original Wii, yet you still need to dish out money for each of the other versions available on the Wii U and more recently the 3DS. Sure you can run in Wii mode but that’s a hassle and you need to have Wii compatible controllers around. Mind you these are all the same version of the game. There are countless releases of older titles mainly on console platforms that fall into this category also. Take as well games like GTA:V and Skyrim, both had released on Xbox 360 and PS3. Without the inclusion of backwards compatibility, gamers who wish to continue playing these games must shell out more money to continue playing them. What makes it better for Xbox 360 fans at least is the fact that they are constantly rolling out games in their library of backwards compatible games, yet certain titles have been omitted like the two just mentioned amongst others.
Mind you, I do recognize that there are times when there needs to be work done to bring games to different platforms, or remaster them. However the main bulk of the game has been done, designed, tested and such, so the work should be minimal. Going back to Skyrim, the recent remaster looks very identical to the original PC version of the game that PC players have been enjoying since day 1 of the games release. Don’t believe me? Check out the video below. Does this warrant another $50 purchase?
To me things like this really come off as a cash grab. This is something that is not new by any means, we see the same trends in the music and movie industry where albums are remastered or old movies are enhanced for blu-ray release.
Sure this is great for newcomers to Skyrim, those who missed out on the original can now enjoy a better looking and performing version of the game on PS4 and Xbox One. But what about those who purchased it on PS3 and Xbox 360, and simply want to keep playing the same game? They can’t and their options are to either dish out another $50 on top of what they spent for said companies newest console, or keep that old console out on the shelf, taking up space and having to keep around other controllers just to play only a handful of games.
To me this is a step backwards in the technological advances in gaming and the innovations brought to us by companies like Sony. Back when the PS2 came out, man oh man wasn’t it amazing that not only would this console be able to play next generation PS2 games, but you could play your entire library of PS1 games that you already owned. This was huge as other companies tried following this approach. Nintendo used this quite extensively, the Game Boy Advance, could play Game Boy games, the Nintendo DS could play Game Boy Advance games, the 3DS could play DS games.
We’ve now hit a point where only one company is following this trend, that is Microsoft, and to some limitations as I’ve already mentioned, key titles that conveniently got re-releases for next gen are omitted from this list of backwards compatible games. If you’ve read my first article on here, I go in depth why I hate that the Switch will have no way of playing Wii U games. Especially knowing that Mario Kart 8 will be released with all the same DLC that I already purchased, it’s infuriating to say the least. As great as the PS4 is, not being able to play any of my PS3 games on it is a let down, and to play these games, you must subscribe to PS Now and pay a monthly fee to essentially play games you already own.
I don’t cite these example because I think all companies should be giving away all their remakes cost free to those who already own originals of the same game, if they do, great! More power to the gamers, but I think something as small as a discount applied to a purchase of the remastered game would go along way even. It’s not always fair that a gamer has to pay full retail price for a remake of a game that in a lot of cases, has very minimal things added to it. Again I acknowledge that there is work done to bring these games to us again, so these companies should be compensated fairly, but at the same time options like this can go a long way to giving gamers a fair option when it comes to playing older games. It seems that PC more often follows this flow, there are clearly exceptions, but I’ve yet to hear of anything like this happening for any of the major consoles.
Do you think that gamers are justified to receiving benefits from owning an original of a game that has be re-released? Do you think the industry is taking the right steps to address this gap? Share your thoughts in the comments!