Today, I’d like to try and make some sense of why some entitled folks are disappointed in some recent game announcements from Rockstar Games. Even if it might seem like a great idea to remake a game, I’d like to argue some reasons why a Red Dead Redemption remake is probably a bad idea.
I can think of two games I wish that I could play right now, but sadly cannot…
Fable II and Read Dead Redemption. An unlikely pair of games, but they are among my all time favorite games I had the pleasure of playing way back when I was still in university. Many after-school hours were spent roaming the vast world of Albion, or doing some hunting in the old American West.
You see, these two games, for a very long time, had been locked to the old family console that was still connected to an old CRT TV. And much like the games we play when we are young, they tend to linger on in our memory as good times.
Fable II only ever saw release on the Xbox 360; in spite of Lionhead Studios being under Microsoft’s wing at the time, it never saw an official release on the PC; even to this day, the only way to play it is if you either own an old Xbox 360, or if you play it via cloud-based Game Pass.
When my brother got Red Dead Redemption as a Christmas gift, I got to enjoy it but not for long. Back when the game launched in 2010, this would have been around the time he was moving out of the house and was bringing the Xbox with him. Around that time, I started getting into Steam and the joys of digital distribution. Many AAA games were enjoyed all thanks to those nice Steam Sales.
I had to make the ultimate choice to either buy my own console, or keep playing games on the PC. I decided on PC, because it would be cheaper for me in the long run to enjoy my games, and upgrade my rig as needed.
And so, I missed out on Red Dead, along with many classic Xbox games. And as the years went by, I always wondered what life could have been like had I remained an Xbox gamer. While I played Borderlands and Skyrim, I watched as friends and loved ones got to enjoy GTA V, Halo, and of course Read Dead Redemption 2.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve been thankful to be able to enjoy games on both my PC and Nintendo Switch (After all, I’m a Nintendo fan at heart!) And of course, when Red Dead Redemption 2 finally came out on the PC, I was quick to buy it and play it as well.
Am I the only one looking forward to this?
I’d like to make it known that I don’t always stay up to date with every single game developer and publisher out there. I’ve got loads of games to play, so there’s no reason for me to sit and wait for the next AAA title. The main way I get any news on upcoming releases is when I look up the official source’s website, or their social media page. I tend to avoid community hype, and make my own opinions on games.
When I found out that Read Dead Redemption was coming to the Switch on August 17, I was really happy to hear the news. At long last, I would get to finally play the game that I ever truly finished, with the convenience of playing it on the go.
I also imagined that the Nintendo community as a whole might be happy as well. This is a game series that for a very long time, only ever saw release on Xbox and PlayStation platforms, and so, another large part of the gaming community has been left out of groundbreaking titles by Rockstar.
(I know that Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy is available on Switch as well, but that will be a story for another day.)
Take one look on the subreddit for Red Dead Redemption, or the YouTube comments, and you will find a very divided community.
I feel like I might be one of the selective few who is actually looking forward to this game when it comes out. Currently, the gaming community seems to be sitting in one of the following boats about this news:
- Entitled people who are pissed that they didn’t get a remake, much less a remaster
- Understandably upset PC gamers who are missing out on a great game
- Switch owners who are looking forward to playing it on the can.
I guess I’m in the third boat.
Now, I have to admit that I’m a little bit perplexed that the game didn’t get a PC port as well. Many games older than 13 years have been able to be ported at some point in the future. Plus, it’s another way to tap into another part of the gaming community. I’m no businessman, but I would think that Rockstar and Take Two are missing out on some more sales.
It seems a little bit dumb for a company to skip out on sales that could easily increase their bottom line, but then again, I’m not business savvy.
What About the High Price of $50?!
Yes, Bill…What is is about the high price? What high price?
When you consider the rate of inflation and cost of living going up every year for many years, video games are one of the few things that always stayed at the standard $60 for a new AAA game.
In fact, this year is the first time I started seeing games be priced above the standard, with the current rate being $70 (US dollars that is. Unfortunately for my many fellow Canadian readers, AAA games these days are more than $90 when you factor in exchange rates and taxes, so think long and hard before you click that buy button!)
In my opinion, fifty bucks isn’t too bad for a AAA game, especially considering the scale and scope of Red Dead.
Know the Difference Between a Remake and a Remaster
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I’d like to remind you of the big difference between a remake and a remaster, because a lot of folks seem to get this wrong.
A remaster is a game that has been re-released, but the underlying game design, story, and gameplay all remain the same as it was on the original game (usually the only changes are with the graphics and assets).
A remake is technically a new game built from the ground up with inspiration from the original game. Remakes will likely have new features and game design.
If you were to put a fresh coat of paint on an old table, that would be like a remaster, of sorts. If you were to take that old table, and build a brand new table with modern tools and make it resemble that old table, then that is a remake!
Some Reasons Why a Remake is Not a Good Idea
Anyways, let’s take a look at some reason why I feel like a remake might not be in the best interest of Rockstar Games. Keep in mind that this is an opinion piece, and is subjective.
Nostalgia is a Powerful Thing to Preserve
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can take players back to a specific time in their lives, reminding them of the joy, excitement, and memories associated with playing the game during its original release.
When remaking an old game, it’s always going to be a big undertaking. Old fans have a lot of precious memories with these games, and it wouldn’t be right to change those things that made it a classic game. But at the same time, remaking a game is more than just making the same game with better graphics.
A lot of folks seem to think that a remake of Read Dead Redemption might look a lot like Read Dead 2… John Marston can partake in more that just hunting, from fishing and treasure hunting to shaving and bathing… virtually all that stuff you could do in the sequel is suddenly available to be done.
A remake might risk altering the nostalgic experience that players associate with the original game, especially for those who end up seeing John Marston in a Viking hat show up in Mexico!
Overall, while aiming to attract a new generation of players, a remake might end up alienating the old fanbase, and if a remake is too different, it can further divide the community.
Rockstar has Bigger Fish to Fry
Say what you want about Rockstar’s reputation as of recently, but never forget that they are a business first and foremost. Their goal is to make money. Whether that is through constant content updates in GTA Online, or working on the next Rockstar Games title (looking at you GTA 6!), they have to delegate their workforce to projects that are going to make them money in the long run.
(If Bethesda were to halt development on The Elder Scrolls 6 just to remake Oblivion for modern consoles, I would probably be a little disappointed.)
Sure, you could argue that porting Red Dead to the Switch and PS4 is a shameless cash grab, but at the same time, no one should be upset about it, especially if good things might come up in the future.
Rockstar doesn’t need to remake their old games much in the same way that Disney doesn’t need to remake their old movies.
If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!
Back when Read Dead Redemption came out, it was a huge hit with gamers everywhere. Rockstar took the open world sandbox-style gameplay of Grand Theft Auto, and adapted it into a new IP that truly stands out on its own.
When people were jokingly calling it “Grand Theft Horse”, I honestly thought it was going to be the same kind of stuff I did in GTA… But the game was very different. There was more of a story; gunfights were intense. Suddenly, I felt like being an honorable gunslinger as opposed to the psychopathic criminal I was in Grand Theft Auto.
The original developers of Read Dead made this game with a specific vision in mind, which might not translate well to modern technology or design trends. Remaking the game could compromise the artistic integrity of the original work.
Not Everything Needs a Reboot or a Facelift
People these days are obsessed with graphics. Every time a groundbreaking game comes out, there seems to always be an unrealistic expectation that at some point in the future, that game will be remade or remastered in some form. Naturally, since nostalgia is a hell of a drug, gamers would very much rather play a better looking version of their favorite game instead of something new.
Publishers know this and often capitalize on these expectations, which is probably why we end up with things like the HD remaster of the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy. The problem is that fans often fail to curb their expectations, and allow themselves to be drawn into false hope and hype.
Unlike a lot of other gamers out there, I am still looking forward to Red Dead Redemption for the simple reason being that I haven’t touched it in years, I miss it, and I’d love the chance to enjoy it again.
When it launches on August 17, I’ll likely pick it up and post my thoughts. Or maybe I’ll hold off and see what the professional critics have to say about the game first. We shall see.
Hopefully something like Fable II could get ported next! But a man can dream…
Thanks for reading! This opinion piece isn’t normally what I like to write about on this site, but if you’d like to read more on these kinds of things, I’d love to hear any requests.
Until next time, wherever you live in the world, have fun, and happy gaming!