Just wanted to apologize again for my previous post. Normally I don't rant, but when you feel strongly about something, so impassioned that it bottles up, it's hard to ignore. Or I'm just a huge nerd. :)
An extraordinary event has occurred in the industry. Deciphering why the phenomenon has happened is for a madman, therefore I won't try and spin my head around it. Why the sudden, reinvigorated interest in franchises past? This year has seen an uptick in the amount of studios reviving dead franchises and releasing HD remakes of classic trilogies. I feel the gaming industry is running out of ideas and relying too heavily on nostalgia to sell games.
Of course, I am inspired because of the major release today in North America, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Unfortunately Ion Storm, the original developer, doesn't exist anymore but to Eidos' credit, the game is receiving rave reviews. The Metacritic score reflects this. I have yet to actually play (though I'll probably do a review sometime in the near future) but some fans are extremely delighted that the born-again sequel recaptures the magic first witnessed in the original Deus Ex. Some are even saying it exceeds what Ion Storm did. Clearly, Eidos made the right choice.
However, 2011 will ultimately be remembered for the resurgence of Duke Nukem. After thirteen years in development, Forever was railed for being bland, clearing showing its age and incessantly trying to reinvent the main character's manliness. Gearbox was noble in taking over the franchise's rights, and if Duke Nukem is slated to continue, perhaps having a dedicated developer will see the series return to prominence. But it's extremely difficult to be anxiously optimistic about the return of the series. I was never a big fan of Duke Nukem anyway.
The argument is all about the intention. Are gaming companies seeking a quick buck, or are they trying to appease fans? Twenty years ago, as gaming was still in its infancy, I would have guessed the latter. But the industry has exploded rapidly and the companies are still learning how to adequately capitalize. Frankly, relaunching old franchises is a cheap gimmick and the audience is falling for it. I'll never invest in games re-released as "high definition" remakes if I've played them in a past life. Beyond Good & Evil is the exception.
Strictly speaking, there is only one case where releasing past games is credible. If a studio is planning a sequel and trying to grow interest back into the franchise, it's a great marketing ploy. Just consumers being aware of "the next game" means the gimmick has worked to its full effect. For example, the smarter choice for the Sly Cooper franchise would have been to hold off releasing The Sly Collection until this year, possibly early next year, because Thieves in Time is hitting store shelves in 2012.
This whole trend leaves me skeptical. I can't help but wonder if companies will adapt to relying on this for marketing purposes or diabolically re-releasing for a quick buck. Thankfully, Human Revolution isn't a dead game walking and will surely sell once word spreads of the review scores. But as a gaming audience, we can't fall victim to these cheap tricks. Don't feel guilt-tripped because obligation shouldn't be motivated by nostalgia.
Do you guys approve of the recent trend? Not only for reviving once-dead franchises but companies blatantly releasing HD remakes of trilogies for diabolical purposes? Shout in the comments below!
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