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The Tug-Of-War In Video Game Remasters/Remakes Between Preserving The Original Release's Atmosphere And Crafting A More Detailed World

With the launch of the PlayStation 5 also came that of Demon’s Souls, the remake of the 2009 PlayStation 3 original to be precise. Reviews have generally praised Bluepoint Games’ attempts at revamping the graphical assets to show off the PlayStation 5’s increased horsepower. But some critics also pointed out that in the process of updating the art design, Bluepoint also sacrificed a bit of the original’s feel and atmosphere, the increased detail depriving the art of the lack of clarity that lent the original its eerie tension.

In light of these observations, it’d be fitting to have an article that takes a closer look at video game remakes/remasters, particularly the tug-of-war between updating assets that may not hold up well to scrutiny on more modern displays and preserving as much of the source material’s original atmosphere as feasible. Other examples of game re-releases that attracted scrutiny for their reinterpretations of the original art design, such as the Silent Hill HD Collection and BioShock: The Collection, can be mentioned and explored.

The potential article’s main line of inquiry could be the following: Why is there an appeal in preserving a game’s ambiguous details—particularly those stemming from technical limitations on original hardware—in the face of visual touch-ups for remasters/remakes? In the case of games with eerie ambiances, for example, could such an appeal lie in wishing to preserve the uncanny valley and fear of the unknown (e.g. unclear details on characters and environments that heighten the fear of the unknown and make players fill in the blanks with their imagination)?

  • This is a great point! I also would mention The Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, which were from the ground up remakes of classic games. Bluepoint also made the Shadow of Colossus remake as well, which is another game worth discussing! – Sean Gadus 10 months ago
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  • Also, you want to make the difference between a remaster and remake clear. A remaster often refers to a game given new polish or update visuals for a port (example is Bioshock Collection or Ico/Shadow PS3 collection). Full on remakes are usually more like RE2, FF7, and Demon's Souls for PS5. – Sean Gadus 10 months ago
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  • A good point on this could be Oddworld. The developers sought to remaster Exodus after the success of New n' Tasty but then ended up making a quasi-reboot/remake rather than remastering the original game. – Marcus Dean 7 months ago
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