Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Pros and Cons of remakes and sequels

As I'm sure most of us are aware of, there is an ever-increasing trend in media today which seems to be sweeping every element of the entertainment industry.

I'm talking of course about the constant string of remakes and sequels that have popped out of the woodwork

I'm sure all of us have seen it lately in one form or another, particularly in movies and series. Everywhere we look, there is a remake of something, and of course this has spilled over to games as well. The A-team, Indiana Jones, Rocky, Rambo, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street are just a few examples of movies that spring to mind....and I'm sure there are many other examples that you could add to my list. 

Nostalgia is a very powerful thing, and the industry has begun to realize this.

Why create a fan-base when there is already one waiting to be resurrected? They know that if we loved a particular show, movie or game when we were younger, we will definitely be lining up to watch or play the remake in a heart-beat.

The problem in this however, is that the creators of these remakes or sequels don't always seem too concerned of the expectations of those who enjoyed the original. I'm sure they would never admit it openly, but the initial sales on release date seem more important to them. A fast and easy sale, I guess.

Personally, I put Duke Nukem Forever in this category, with it's almost complete disregard for the original. Sure it's got the cheesy dialogue and the political incorrectness that we all used to love...but now it seems forced. Combine that with very disjointed pace in gameplay, frame-rate issues and very limited guns and you have a very ugly, very annoying, but profitable game. Not good enough. Sorry.

This of course applies to sequels as well, and when looking at the gaming industry, it's interesting to note that almost all of the big titles have a number on the end of the title. Not all of them have the same quality though, and it seems at times that the developers are just resting on their laurels.

I must admit that many of these remakes and sequels are masterfully done and not only cater to our feelings of nostalgia, but add something extra that just wasn't possible when originally released. One of the most notable examples is the brilliant re-imagining of a TV series I used to love as a kid. - Thundercats. This is a perfect example of a remake of a TV series that not only improves on the original in quality, but addresses any issues that fans may have had with the original.

Another good example is the remake of Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time on the 3DS. This was originally released on the Nintendo 64 more than 10 years ago and even though the game is almost exactly the same, save for a major graphical overhaul and 3D and motion controls to make it more immersive, it's the features of the hardware that makes the difference notable.

On a similar note, Microsoft is re-releasing the original Halo for the Xbox 360.....with support for Kinect.

This could be very interesting and potentially extremely enjoyable if pulled off right. Of course, as one of the Xbox 360's most successful titles, it's a safe bet to say that they'll definitely give it their best shot.

Remakes and sequels in general are definitely not a bad thing. I certainly appreciate it when they're done right. My greatest concern though, is that the industry starts becoming complacent and begins to neglect the release of potentially ground-breaking and original content due to the fact that it might not be a success in comparison.

They should never forget about the fans, because in the case of remakes and sequels......we are the ones who ultimately decide whether they're worth it or not.

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