Yesterday Nintendo announced in a sneaky under-the-radar direct that several Wii U games are planned to be released on Switch like Hyrule Warriors and Donkey Kong Country.
Remastering a game isn’t something new in our industry, in fact it first started to become a trend on the PS3 when Sony decided to give the HD treatment to some of its most known IPs: Ratchet and Clank, Sly, Jak and Dexter. Soon enough these remasters have began to pop up before every new release in an established franchise. For example PS4 owner received the Uncharted trilogy shortly before Uncharted 4, same with Microsoft’s Gears of War. Nintendo choice to remaster Donkey Kong Country might indicate that a new entry in the series is prepared.
Marketing wise, re-releasing an old game isn’t a big investment. On the contrary. Sometimes publisher use this technique to milk their beloved franchise for revenue. It’s also a great indicator for the franchise’s popularity; Saying a publisher wants to release a sequel for a last-gen title and not sure if there’s a demand, a remastered port could estimate its success.
Nintendo isn’t strange to that concept, as both the Wii and the WiiU have gotten several re-releases, some even being launch titles. With that it’s important to distinguish these ports; In some cases games underwent more than a plastic surgery to the point they almost stand for their own, Zelda Majora Mask is one example. On other cases it’s a simple copy-paste like Pokken Tournament DX.
What we’ve seen in Nintendo’s latest presentation is somewhere between the lines. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze would be the same game with an added play mode, while Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition wouldn’t offer anything new and is just packed with its paid DLCs.
There’s also an important fact that one should consider when assessing this situation, and its the Switch portability. With the added option to play these games on the go comes a great appeal. Just imagine playing a quality game on the ride home or in your comfy bed. For me this option is even greater when we talk about JRPGs. I know for a fact that there are a lot of people waiting for Persona 5 to hit a portable console as the game’s mechanics are easy to jump into for a quick play.
Last thing to consider, some might regard it as the most prominent aspect, is related to the young generation. It’s hard to believe, but not all of us grew with an N64 and Ocarina of Time, although these childhood experiences are what made us interested in video games. The new generation has already been born into an era where realistic 3D graphics are just a mile ahead. Bringing the same classic games in a new modern package would guarantee a longer lifetime for the franchise.
What are your thoughts on these remasters? what would justify a re-release? Let us know under comments.