Last week, we saw the release of the Devil May Cry HD Collection. I’m not a huge DMC fan, so I ignored this release, but I did think about some other collections I’ve missed. There’s the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus Collection, the Silent Hill collection, Metal Gear Solid etc. etc. etc. 

In a similar vein to our conversations about backlogs and older titles, what are your thoughts on publishers re-releasing their classic titles for the new generation of consoles and resolutions? So far, I haven’t been bothered to pick up any collections for series I’ve played, but I have been tempted by collections I missed…

like ICO and Shadow of the Colossus…

oh man, what did I just admit to…

Sunday, 2:11 pm – Ricky

Well, that was quite a party. We even found time for half a podcast! We really got into HD collections or remakes that we’d like to see, including Max Payne, XCOM, MechWarrior and the perennial favorites X-Wing and Tie Fighter.

Download it here (right click –> save as) – Gamentary Round 2.5 – or listen below

And here’s the MechWarrior trailer that get everyone going in 2009 (!) – we’re not getting this game, but we will be getting MechWarrior Online, so that’s pretty damn good.

Saturday, 1:51 pm –matt

well count me out for that… don’t think ill make it 🙂 play a session of start the party in my honor…

my disappearing act for this week can be chalked up to busy shoots and my first ever video review. i stumbled in a few spots you can tell, but as long we all dismiss tennis as a sport it works out fine!

Friday, 11:41 pm – Preezie

Oh man.  I was going to post some long, thought out speil about HD collections and Albert just stole my thunder.  Anything I say now will just sound like pure gibberish.  Thanks alot, jerk. 🙂

On a more happy note, we’ll be out celebrating Ricky’s birthday tomorrow so we’ll try to get some pics of Ricky being crazy.  Bring your cameras.

Friday, 10:14 pm – Albert

That was very deep. Like rabbit hole deep.

To me HD collections never really interested me. I find that as I get older, HD remakes of older games were once great games, as I recall, but playing them again in HD just doesn’t really do it for me. I want to remember the game when it was in its original form. Not for what it could become. An example of that was when I played Monkey Island again when the graphics were updated. I could enjoy the new graphics but… something was missing. It might be that i’ve moved on from genre of gaming style, but it just didn’t cut it for me although Monkey Island is one of my favourite series of adventure games.

Developers who create constant remakes with graphical changes are just looking to keep cashing in on a stable IP. The problem is that developers and publishers want to mitigate risk, and that is done by remaking or making sequels on successful IPs. There is always the example of Mirror’s Edge which was a wonderful idea and a great IP yet was not successful enough to warrant more than a trial run. A lot of companies are running on sequels now, which leads me to believe it is not creativity that has run out, but the staying power of a franchise. The gaming industry is at heart a business. If developers put out a “remake” it’s to bring in a familiar and nostalgic cash cow…

…like the not-so-new Case West… I’m looking at you Capcom.

On another topic, this is for all you Skate 3 fans (1:17-1:30 is my favourite part)

Friday 12:19 pm – Ricky

24 hours later and looks like Gavin killed this topic! No more responses? Maybe it was too deep.

I tend to feel like HD collections are a mixed bag – on the one hand, I believe it shows developers resting on their laurels and cashing in on their previous successes, but on the other hand, I think they represent a great opportunity to correct previous “mistakes” and to introduce new gamers to classic series, or catch-up old gamers who may have missed a series.

In the end, it depends on how it’s handled. I agree with Gavin – if an HD collection or remake is put out while a company is working on another title, that’s not so bad. But, if it’s the only thing they have going, I’d be suspicious that maybe the creative well is currently dry.

Thursday – 11:45am – Gavin

I need to tread carefully on this topic, because so many of my favourite games are sequels or franchise players.

I think that HD collections are a sign that the industry (or perhaps more accurately, a developer) is losing its creative edge if they aren’t pumping out new games as well.  I have no particular beef with sequels and “same intellectual property” – I look to some of my most favourite games of all time, and some of my recent favourites, and I realize that Super Metroid was the third in a series, Zelda: A Link to the Past was the third in a series, Metroid Prime is the fifth in a series, Super Mario World is the fifth in a series, SUper Mario Galaxy is the 12th in a series (and 1000th in the Mario franchise), Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was third in a franchise, etc.  Even some of the original property that I loved (Fable, Deus Ex, Half-Life) all ended up becoming a franchise.

If a developer pumps out new games in a franchise, and those games are fun, then that’s a great thing.  If a game feels fresh and fun to me despite wearing the nearly 30-year-old millstone of the Mario franchise, then that’s all I care about.

I imagine that HD remakes are not particularly onerous on game programmers (someone please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).  So if a developer announces nothing in the works but pumps out an HD collection of a beloved franchise, then I’d be a bit suspicious.  I don’t think it’s a big problem though, and I know that there are tons of games that would benefit from improved graphics and sound, so I won’t begrudge a release.  To me, what signifies stagnation in the industry isn’t the lack of fresh IP, but rather when those games that are being released all start to run together.  Bioware may have their own way of doing things and may rely on a lot of the same tropes in their games, just like Lionshead might, 3D Realms, Rockstar, etc.  But when you see a blurring of the lines between the style of game that these companies put out, I see it as the developers pandering to the fans instead of forging a new path.  Perhaps pandering is a strong word, because game developers are profit-driven companies first and game developers second, so I can’treally begrudge someone for going after money, but if the fundamental game play changes to suit the trends of the day, then it’s a sign of lost creativity.

Somewhere around 2006, a lot of developers decided that every game should be poop-brown and grey, “dark and gritty”, etc.  Environments can still look great – the scene in Gears of War 2 where you’re traveling through the Hollow and you come across the town falling into the hole is phenomenally gorgeous despite being brown and grey everywhere.  But they all kind of blend together.  Even my beloved Metroid series caught a bit of this bug in Corruption – Skytown, while expansive, was quite brown, and the greens in Bryyo were muted and washed out.  Compare that to Prime 1, where Phendrana was as white as white can be, Tallonn was a deep green, the Chozo ruins were brown, and Magmoor was incredibly bright orange.  Anyway, despite this trend, Nintendo stood on top of a mountain and screamed out “EAT MY ASS, WORLD – HERE’S SUPER MARIO GALAXY” and it looks like a frigging Pixar movie on LSD.  It was gorgeous.  After that, game developers remembered that there are other colours in the palette besides grey and brown.  Those colours will always have their places, but the games industry is a cruel mistress, and sometimes you need to really stand out.

I swear I was going somewhere with this besides just fellating Nintendo.

HD collections are a wise choice.  They’re cheap for developers, and given the prevalence of video games these days compared to fifteen years ago, you’ve got a much, MUCH larger target market that is always increasing – the number of people who stop playing video games is significantly outnumbered by the number of people who start playing games.  And it’s those new starters you want to get – you want to get them onto your product so that they’ll be gamers for life and recognize your product as a superior one.  So if you’ve got a good franchise that you can get out there to get new gamers onto, then it’s really just a smart decision.  If I were a game developer with the funds to bankroll a few titles a year, I’d have no problem with releasing an HD collection (assuming it was a collection I felt confident could still be relevant today).

Sorry, sometimes I blab.

Thursday, 9:56 am – Ricky

Here’s a point for discussion: Are HD collections a sign that the industry is losing its creative edge?

For example, Nielsen recently released the top ten most anticipated games for 2012 for each major console (it skipped PC). There is only ONE new and original intellectual property on that list: The Last Story for the Nintendo Wii. All of the other titles are sequels or part of an established franchise. So, in addition to pumping out sequels, are HD collections another way for publishers and developers to mitigate risk? Selling games in franchises that they know are popular rather than taking a leap and developing something new?

Wednesday, 12:39 pm – Albert

You’re right Ricky, let’s just finish Dead Island… or Dead Nation… or Dead Rising 2 (again)…

After listening to the podcast, I remembered I have Diablo 3 to look forward to (and forgot about RE:ORC), so in order to not add to the backlog I am only going to wait for it to release and not buy anything else until then. Blizzard has released some character trailers to fuel the hype! Check them out.

Also, since you guys were talking about Red Alert in the podcast, I thought I would remind you of the characters of Red Alert 3 which is the last one I played. The video shows a wide cast of characters, although this one was done was EA and not Westwood. “Oh snap”

By the way, I am a HUGE Sierra fan and I played all the Kings Quest, tried some Police Quest, and played all the Space Quests over and over. Roger Wilco is probably my favourite character from all the adventure games. I remember sitting at my PC when I was a kid and typing out all the funniest things (in the earlier SQ 1-3) I could think of and testing to see whether Sierra programed that action in. I usually got a “No, thats wrong” or whatever they said when your idea was too stupid. I want a revamp of all the Space Quests! Make it so! Below is the intro from Space Quest IV. Probably my favourite.  “You snag a buckazoid off a waitron, how cool you are…”

Wednesday, 12:01 pm – Preezie

Speaking of FIFA12, I just wanted everyone who hasn’t yet to watch this video.  Its… not what you’d expect.

Wednesday, 11:31 am – Ricky

Yeah, I’m kind of done with Resident Evil. I may dip back in for Resident Evil 6, but it looks … bad. I’ll hold judgement until I try it. I have zero interest in Raccoon City though, so you’re on your own Albert. Let’s try and use your limited gaming time to finish up Dead Island!

I’m sure matt will talk about this soon, but I think I’ve decided on my next Vita game: MLB The Show. I’m big into baseball this season, and have high hopes for the Toronto Blue Jays. What better way to complement that excitement than with a baseball video game! I have played a baseball game since the days of Triple Play on the PS2, so I’m sure I’ll have some surprises in store for me.

I also considered picking up FIFA Street (no number, but a franchise reboot) for some couch co-op action. It sounds like they’ve made some significant changes to the aesthetic and style of the game since FIFA Street 3. Then again, I have FIFA 12 on Xbox 360 AND on the PS Vita, so maybe Street would be soccer football soccer you know what I mean over kill.

Tuesday, 11:48 pm – Albert

I’ve heard that zombies are mentioned in the podcast! Sweet. Speaking of which I want to try the recently released Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City. I’ve heard that it isn’t that good, but zombies? Chris Redfield? Umbrella soldiers? Sounds like a winning combination. In relation to the topic of the week, I would love to see a revamp of the original Resident Evil. Maybe make it first person like Fallout? Maybe make it turn based? WHO KNOWS?! Haha, just kidding. Just make new Resident Evils with the awesomness that was in the first. Here is the trailer for RE: ORC. Maybe someone will take the plunge with me when I get time?

Tuesday, 7:22 pm – Podcast!

Download it here (right click –> save as) – Gamentary Round 2 – or listen below

Tuesday, 11:47 am – Ricky

Thank you, Gavin, for breaking the radio silence that was Monday.

I’ll be editing said podcast tonight and posting it later for your audio pleasure. There was some zombie talk, lamenting about backlogs, and reminiscing about older games made new again.

After I’m done, I’m firing up Assassin’s Creed: Revelations for some sweet action. I’ve played every game in the series so far, and as with Brotherhood, I find myself wondering why I waited so long to play the next instalment. As you might expect, it’s more of the same from Revelations, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s great to have a franchise you can rely on to consistently deliver fun gameplay, an engaging story and a beautiful world to explore.

Tuesday, 8:45 am – Gavin

So, as it turns out, commenter Mike and I share pretty much the same brain.  The Metroid Prime Trilogy and Super Mario All-Stars were my go-to examples of great re-releases.  I won’t duplicate what he said, because they’re his words, not mine, and he deserves the proper credit for them.  Thanks, Mike!

I spoke to some of the great collections and some of the points on this week’s podcast, so I won’t duplicate my points either, but I’d like to vouch my support for Steam’s Developer Sales.  If you’re the kind of person who’s cool to buy 20 games at once, then the discounts you can get are tremendous.  The Square Enix collection was on sale on Steam about two weeks ago, and you could get their entire collection for something like $85.00, which is an unbelievable markdown.  Because my gaming time can be limited, I nabbed Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the DLC for 66% off (yes, I could have gotten it for less if I’d waited, but I’ve waited long enough, dammit).  I didn’t get the 81% discount or whatever it was for the developer discount, but that’s what you get for buying in bulk.

What I’m waiting for is a packaged re-release of the Sierra collection.  Basically all of it.  I have the King’s Quest Collection (I-VII, because they NEVER MADE AN EIGHTH ONE, I SWEAR), but I’d love to see Space Quest come out.  They don’t even need to change the graphics or the text-based interface.  Just make the menu system compatible with a mouse, and make the internal PC speaker adjustable by way of regular volume controls, not sound card manipulation like you had to do back in the 80s, and that’s it.  They could even re-release Gabriel Knight, and a remastered version of Phantasmagoria.   The video footage they shot for that game would be in regular 35mm film, so it wouldn’t be difficult at all to remaster it they way they’ve done classic movies for DVD or Blu-Ray.

Monday, 12:00 am – Ricky

Here we go again! Podcast is being recorded tonight and uploaded tomorrow. Should be mediocre awesome!