Remakes, Remasters, and HD Collections by the Numbers; How Prominent are They in Gaming?

on July 16, 2016 12:00 PM

A question that is often asked is why are there so many remasters happening? Whether it be an HD version of an older game, a remake, or a remaster of an already released PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 game, these appear to be cropping up more and more. After finding and organizing a spreadsheet of all remasters, remakes, and HD collections I could find from 2007 onward, I found some trends and a comparison between this current generation and the last.

First, I only counted console games. No handhelds were counted unless it was a handheld game remastered for a console, such as Gravity Rush from the PlayStation Vita to PlayStation 4. The PC was not a platform considered due to its ability to play games from almost any release year. I also limited the data to the North American market, so no European or Japan-only releases were included; sorry, Sengoku Basara fans.

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Beginning with the seventh generation of consoles (that is the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii), we have a steady increase in remasters until the peak in 2012. This is followed by a steep decline until it ends, along with new releases for the generation, in 2016.

There were ninety-three remasters, remakes, and HD collections released over the course of the seventh generation of consoles, culminating in twenty-one releases in 2012. While the trend is generally credited to the God of War Collection that released in 2009 for PlayStation 3, remasters are nothing new for video games. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena came with a remastered version of Butcher Bay for Xbox 360 (which was originally released for Xbox/PC in 2004). Other examples include Bully: Scholarship Edition was a remade version of Bully for Xbox 360 and the Wii. The Wii also received its share of remasters, including the remade versions of Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes when the Metroid Prime Trilogy was released for the Wii.

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A large majority of remastered games during this generation came from the generation that immediately preceded it: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and Dreamcast. Forty-seven games from this generation were ported upwards, compared to ten from the Nintendo 64 generation. Some games were even remastered within the seventh generation of consoles itself, such as Dead Space: Extraction being remastered for HD on PlayStation 3, or Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop being a remake of the original Xbox 360 game for Wii. We also got double dips of games with GoldenEye 007 being remade for the Wii, and then again as GoldenEye 007: Reloaded for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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When it came to the newest batch of consoles in the eighth generation, remasters were already popular and continued to be so. The peak, twenty-two remasters in 2015, even topped the peak of last generation. However, the overall number remains lower, currently standing at fifty-three compared to ninety-three. There is also a steep decline, as the only remasters we have to look forward to are Full Throttle on PlayStation 4, Vita, and PC, BioShock: The Collection, as well as Batman: Return to Arkham (which was recently delayed indefinitely). This data is incomplete, as it only includes remasters announced as of July 1, 2016.

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One of the major criticisms of remasters in the current generation has been the argument that they tend to focus on recent games we already got in HD before on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and are repackaged with a slight visual upgrade and some additional extra content (that may have been previously sold separately). This stance holds up with the data, as the PlayStation 3 generation sees the majority of remasters, with thirty-four so far. Next up is the PlayStation 2 generation, thanks to multiple GameCube remasters for Resident Evil, Resident Evil 4, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

Comparing year over year, from the beginning of last generation to the eighth generation, we have the following data for the number of remasters released each year:

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If things continue the way they are, the steep increase in remasters will be met with an equally steep decrease. While last generation we were still waiting for a large portion to be released, this time we have already hit the peak and it doesn’t appear we will ever reach that point again.

While remasters are a great way to relive classic games with upgraded hardware, part of me will always be a purist. Virtual Console and PlayStation Classics are great in that they keep everything the same from its original release, so you can see how the game holds up compared to your memories of it. There are some essential remasters, such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection reviving the online portion of Halo 2, or Grim Fandango Remastered bringing a classic title back from obscurity. Given the ability for publishers to reach back into their owned IPs for the chance to release them again to the masses, I doubt we have seen the last of the HD collection.

Have remasters been prevelant? Yes. However, overall they don’t appear to have reached the same level as we have seen from the last generation. With there being only three more confirmed remasters for the foreseeable future, as well as the introduction of new IPs like Sea of Thieves, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Pyre, Bloodstained, and Scalebound, you don’t have to worry about being inundated with remakes.

Remasters are nothing new: it’s an easy way to quickly turn around a game previously released on a new console to build its library and make some more income off of an already existing title to fund a new project. While the number of remasters appear to have reached their peak for this generation, they certainly aren’t going away and it’s not a bad thing to give someone a renewed chance to play some of the classics once again.

*The full list of remastered titles that were considered for this editorial can be found below:

Eighth Generation of Consoles
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
The Binding of Isaac Rebirth
Bayonetta
CastleStorm: Definitive Edition
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Grand Theft Auto V
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
The Last of Us Remastered
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Metro Redux
Gunman Clive HD Collection
Resident Evil HD
Grim Fandango Remastered
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Castle Crashers Remastered
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition
Deadpool
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition
Dishonored: Definitive Edition
DmC: Definitive Edition
God of War III Remastered
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition
Prototype Biohazard Bundle
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
Tearaway Unfolded
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition
Resident Evil 4
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Doom
Constructor HD
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir
Ratchet & Clank
Beyond: Two Souls
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Dead Island Definitive Collection
Heavy Rain
Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 6
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
Gravity Rush Remastered
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Shadow Complex Remastered
Deadlight: Director’s Cut
Bioshock Collection
Full Throttle Remastered

 

Seventh Generation of Consoles
Sensible World of Soccer
Tomb Raider: Anniversary
Hitman HD Trilogy
GripShift
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Jetpac Refuelled
1942: Joint Strike
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
Banjo-Kazooie
Bionic Commando Rearmed
Vigilante 8 Arcade
Bully: Scholarship Edition
Siren: Blood Curse
Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis
Metroid Prime: Trilogy
New Play Control! Pikmin
Banjo-Tooie
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – The Director’s Cut
Lode Runner
Serious Sam HD
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
God of War Collection
Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop
Earthworm Jim HD
GoldenEye 007
Perfect Dark
Tecmo Bowl Throwback
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge
The OddBoxx
Medal of Honor: Frontline HD
The Sly Collection
Tales of Graces ƒ
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Trilogy
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection
Under Defeat HD
Resident Evil Revival Selection
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Prince of Persia Trilogy
Tekken Hybrid
The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection
The Tomb Raider Trilogy
Beyond Good & Evil HD
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
God of War: Origins Collection
Sonic CD
Dead Space: Extraction
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise
The House of the Dead: Overkill – Extended Cut
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD
Prince of Persia Classic
The House of the Dead Collection
Sonic Adventure 2 HD
Doom 3 BFG Edition
Devil May Cry HD Collection
Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection
Jak and Daxter Collection
Killzone HD
Okami HD
Project Zero 2: Wii Edition
Ratchet & Clank Collection
Ratchet: Deadlocked HD
Rayman 3 HD
Silent Hill HD Collection
Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Edition
Zone of the Enders HD Collection
Sengoku Basara HD Collection
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
Nights into Dreams… HD
Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection
Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee HD
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
Soulcalibur II HD Online
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
DuckTales: Remastered
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky HD Edition
Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: Missing Link
Tales of Symphonia: Chronicles
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD
Cel Damage HD
Resident Evil HD
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas HD
Syberia: Complete Collection
 /  Staff Writer
Born in Queens, 21. I talk about video games and film. Favorite games are Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Pokemon Gold, and Persona 4 Golden. Favorite films are The Grand Budapest Hotel, Princess Mononoke, and Skyfall.
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