Connect with us


The Unsung Value Of Video Game Remakes

When done well, remakes are good for developers, publishers, and gamers alike.



Remakes and remasters have undeniably become a needed element of the gaming industry. Luckily, with the advancement of hardware and technical prowess, the distribution has been leaning increasingly more on remakes rather than remasters. While these remakes of classic games have a tendency to occasionally stir up controversy, their value is acutely apparent to the vast majority of audiences. But every time a classic game is remade it comes with inherent risks that are just as obvious as the benefits. What people often overlook is the positive externalities that come with remakes to help the respective franchises at large capitalize on existing products while also increasing the potential for future projects.

The gaming industry is currently in what is arguably the golden age of remakes. Games like Resident Evil 2, Dead Space, Halo 2 Anniversary, Mafia Definitive Edition, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and of course Demon’s Souls have all done both their franchises and publishers huge favors. These remakes have taken the term “remake” to the extreme by using their original versions as a foundation of design and guiding principals to build what feels like entirely new games on top of them. 

Image: Square Enix

This modernization of some of the greatest classic games ever not only preserves those classics for the older audiences of the originals but also makes them more accessible both literally by bringing them to modern platforms and figuratively by updating quality-of-life features with modern design sensibilities. In addition to the preservation argument, remakes also give developers the opportunity to correct both technical and design mistakes. The original Dead Space ran at 30 frames per second on the Xbox 360 and PS3 but the remake has provided players the option to prioritize 60 fps. The remake also took the opportunity to update some of the more tedious sections of the game like the asteroid sequence transforming it into a more modern more exhilarating action set-piece. 

Some developers take things even further when remaking classics like what Square Enix has done with Final Fantasy VII Remake. When setting out to remake what is arguably the most beloved entry in what is arguably the most beloved JRPG series ever, Square opted to use the original game as a jumping-off point to tell a totally reimagined story, an opportunity that wouldn’t have existed for a totally original title. The benefits of remaking games are many but on the flip side there also are numerous risks. 

Inherent risks come with remaking some of the most prestigious games ever, the most obvious of which being the risk of tainting a brand. If a publisher sets out to make a remake then they have obviously determined that the venture will likely be profitable. A projected profit can presumably indicate at least a slightly positive sentiment toward the game or the franchise in general from audiences and in that comes risk. If there is positive sentiment then there is inherently something to lose, so if a remake were to be made and either perform poorly, not look good, or fail to meet expectations in some other way the publisher runs the risk of burning that positive sentiment, tainting the brand and in turn potential future earnings. 

Dead Space video game remakes
Image: EA

So with remakes, there are quantifiable risks and projected benefits, but there are also benefits that are more difficult to solidify on a ledger. A remake offers another chance for the same title to create a loyal audience and with an advantage that the original didn’t have. Dead Space was a stellar game in 2008 and the remake is arguably even better in 2023, the difference between the two is in the sequels. People who played and loved the original Dead Space in 2008 then had to wait more than two years for the follow-up Dead Space 2. I, on the other hand, am just playing through Dead Space for the first time and am loving it! But being that my introduction to the series has been through the remake, I have the advantage of the sequels already existing. So as I gorge myself on the thrill ride that is the Dead Space remake I have already scoured my local game stores to find used copies of Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3.

 In addition to my seeking of sequels, I am also now eagerly awaiting news of another possible Dead Space remake or more hopefully a Dead Space 4. While I bought used copies of the sequels and that doesn’t generate any revenue for EA, the games are also available on EA’s subscription service. So were I not so interested in collecting physical copies of games I would have even more easily simply subscribed to EA Access to play the second and third entries. At that point, the sequels have created a new subscriber and potentially recurring revenue as well as a new loyal fan of the series who is eagerly awaiting the chance to spend money on future Dead Space games. 

Video game remakes resident evil series
Image: Capcom

When done well, remakes are good for developers, publishers, and gamers alike. Their benefits are both obvious and more subtle on both sides of the transaction while also being a relatively low-risk investment for publishers. While not appropriate for all games, it would be nice to see more of the all-time greats get the remake treatment for new players to be introduced to and become invested in great stories and for older players to relive some of their best gaming experiences in the same visual fidelity in which those games have lived on in their memories.

News writer and Xbox reviewer. Patrick lives in Minneapolis Minnesota with his wife and their dog Ghost. Patrick studied economics at the University of Northern Colorado and is particularly interested in the market dynamics of the video game industry. When he's not working Patrick can be found walking Ghost through downtown MPLS, binging The West Wing on repeat, or playing hockey. You see everything Patrick does right here on