HD re-releases and remakes of games are becoming more common than Zubats in Pokémon caves. There is a place for them, however, and that is to teach us why games are considered classics. Recently, Arrowhead Game Studios (Magicka) announced that they were remaking the arcade legend, Gauntlet. This got me thinking, and I have come up with three games that could seriously use one of those clichéd HD makeovers.
Top 3 Games That Could Use an HD Re-release/Remake:
#3 Fallout (1997)
Fallout is one of those games that can make you or break you when it comes to being a gamer. In its day, it was one of the most trailblazing and innovative games ever made. The story and atmosphere the game creates are truly to be reckoned with. The game’s mix of 1950s pulp sci-fi and modern fear of the apocalypse hit the nail on the head way before its time and set the tone for many games, like RAGE, Borderlands, and Metro 2033. Of course, the game is a spiritual successor to the 1988 game Wasteland, but Fallout took everything that game had and fed it steroids. In today’s gaming world, though, the original Fallout is not as accessible when it comes to gameplay. The slow, turn-based gameplay and dated graphics are a turn off for many modern gamers looking to see where the brilliant Fallout 3’s roots lie.
In regards to a re-release, Fallout has two paths it could follow. One would be to revamp and speed up the combat system and keep the top down view, while updating the graphics and implementing an advanced navigation control. This would please the “purists” of the Fallout fandom, but might not please the mainstream audience that gravitated toward the newer games, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. The second method would be to completely overhaul the game to be more like the newer iterations in the franchise. This would mean completely redesigning the game with the Gamebryo engine (Oblivion, Fallout 3), or maybe with the Creation engine (Skyrim), while keeping the same basic story.
Likelihood of HD Re-Release:
The odds are not exactly in our favor to see this ever happen. In the past couple years, the Fallout license has been in a legal upheaval with Bethesda—the company the made Fallout 3—in terms of them buying the rights to the franchise. Originally, Bethesda purchased the rights to only a few games, while the original developer, Interplay, kept the rights to do an MMO. This agreement eventually broke apart like The Divide and all the rights fell into Bethesda’s hands. Unfortunately, for Bethesda to create a remake of the original would be like twisting the knife in the wound, so this likely will not happen.
#2 Super Mario 64 (1996)
And the gaming gods said, “Let there be platforming perfection.” That was when Super Mario 64 was released. I remember receiving this game as a child and being blown away by the pure essence of it. The basic control scheme is still used today with Super Mario 3D World and almost every other 3D platformer out there. Jumping from goomba to goomba, racing giant turtles, and running into lava pits when your overalls catch fire are some of the things that make this adventure come just shy of gaming nirvana. If any game can be credited with the success video games have seen since the 2000s, I imagine this game would be in the top running.
A re-release was a launch title on the original Nintendo DS back in 2004 and added Yoshi, Wario, and Luigi to the mix, but I am talking about a full-fledged re-release on the Wii U in the vein of Super Mario Galaxy. The thing is, it would not be all that difficult. Remake the sprites, add a few more paintings to the over world, and the developers would be done. Not to mention becoming rich from the amount of sales that would follow its release…
Likelihood of HD Re-Release:
I believe an HD re-release of Super Mario 64 will happen in the near future. With Nintendo losing so much money on the Wii U, it will probably happen sooner, rather than later. Nintendo has been playing it safe lately with additions and remakes of its most popular franchises, like Donkey Kong and Zelda. It would not be a surprise to anyone if we saw it on the shelves, or more likely in the eShop, in the next two to four years.
#1 System Shock 2 (1999)
Your first thought is probably, “how do you remake the second game in a series without the first?” My answer is, System Shock 2 was originally developed as a stand-alone title until the “big-bad” game company, EA, signed on to publish. If you have never played this game, it almost defines the modern sci-fi, role-playing/shooter genre we have today. Games like Mass Effect would not exist, at least in their current form, without the existence of System Shock 2. The story revolves around a soldier who is one of the last remaining people not infected by a space-virus that has run rampant on a ship. The antagonist, SHODAN, is an A.I. supercomputer who created the virus and intends to spread it all over the universe. The game features elements of psionic powers and hacking capabilities, a-la Mass Effect, that help you fight enemies and navigate the ship.
Upgraded menus and A.I. could benefit this game, along with some HD graphics and a console port that would help sales. The spaceship setting is amazing, but improving the textures would do wonders aesthetically for the game. The story is one of the best and SHODAN is one of the most horrifying antagonists in video game history, right up there with GLaDOS and Kefka Palazzo.
Likelihood of HD Re-Release:
An HD re-release of this game would be, frankly put, unlikely. Irrational Games (BioShock), the co-developer, has shrunk down to the size of an indie-development team. The other developer, Looking Glass Studios, closed in 2000, so that is another barrier. If Irrational Games put on their “man-pants” and either actually developed the remake or sold the license to a company like Arkane (Dishonored), which some of the developers that comprised Looking Glass Studios fled to, they could really do a good job with it.
That is my list. Of course everyone has their own preferences, so let us know what they are in the comments!