Welcome back to Press Start! This week’s article is a little late as I had to sleep off the chaos of Gamescom, which was an amazing experience. While I was there I got to play the new Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. This is basically the game remade for Xbox One. It got me thinking of all these buzz words that exist in the gaming world now such as ‘rehashed’ and ‘remastered’. I want to look at certain games that fall under these buzz words.
Before I jump in, I just want to explain in my terms what I think these two buzz words mean to me. I like to think that a ‘rehash’ is mainly just a game ported over to new consoles and the odd time maybe some extras added or graphics updated. However, a ‘remaster’ in my mind is a complete overhaul of the whole game.
The reason I explain the above is because game companies themselves don’t seem to get this; either that, or they like falsely advertising to buyers. For example, Square Enix had a field day with saying Final Fantasy X HD was a ‘remaster’. It is far from a remaster, in fact it is a rehashed rehash. Final Fantasy X was originally a PS2 game they then ‘remastered’ on PS3. A few months later it was ‘remastered’ for PS4. I have played both games and there is absolutely no difference even in terms of up-scaled graphics. As I said above, a remaster should have a lot more to it than just porting. In my opinion, companies know this and they just want to make more money by falsely advertising a game to consumers.
While attending Gamescom I happened to overhear the producer of Final Fantasy XV say that changing and up scaling the graphics isn’t exactly hard to do. So this leaves me thinking the company spends barely any money and charges a full price. It is also a safe option to release a game that the company knows people are crazy for, especially if it was from the past when they were a child. It is easy money after all. This is not an article dissing Square Enix; not at all. However, we are going to look at another title from Square Enix that really did do a remaster. We are going to look at the Tomb Raider remake. Square- nix pegged this as a whole new game. Technically it is a remaster; it is an old game that has been overhauled. So therefore it is a remaster.
I know a lot of people might make the point that remastering is rebuilding and changing the original game, but if you are editing the original game and keeping all the content and files, then that surely it is still a rehash. However, I would definitely consider Tomb Raider a remaster. What I just don’t understand is how companies view these two words. I have seen many titles that have said the game is remastered and it just looks the exact same. In that same vein, I have never seen a company say rehashed when it clearly is. I understand the company may not want to say a game is a rehash because it does have a bit of a stigma about it, but at the same time, wouldn’t lying about it just result in negative consequences? In my opinion, that is even worse! Maybe we need to define this remake area a little more with rehash, remake and remastered (remake is used more as a general word right now in the gaming world, rather than an actual defined definition). That way you can have a remake which can be a whole new game, a rehash which is just porting and a remaster that is a game that has been improved upon and adds a lot of extras. That way, everyone knows what to expect. The only problem here is whether or not companies will take this kind of issue on board and work on it.
Let us get some visual perspective. The above image, as you can see, is of Duck Tales. This is where the labelling gets pretty hard to place. This game is technically both a rehash and a remaster. The reason for this is that the game looks completely different and all the content created is new and not reused, however the game plays the exact same as the original and there is no difference in terms of playing content such as worlds and levels. In my head, this is ultimately a remaster and the simple reasoning for this is because everything was made from scratch again. This leads me back to my original point that Final Fantasy X is not a remaster as it is using all the previously used contents and files. Final Fantasy X is a rehash. A great one at that, but still a rehash.