As the list of HD releases soon to come grows, Final Fantasy X collection, Tales of Symphonia Collection, and the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD collection, one begins to wonder why must they re-release all of these classic titles? We know that they do financially well for the companies involved, for instance The Sly Cooper Collection sold half a million copies world-wide. Not too shabby for a decade old collection, even if they threw some HD polish onto the games. That does help the medium a bit by keeping it alive, but does it help the medium grow? Are there new innovations found in sprucing up older games? No, there isn’t, and that could be bad for the medium as a whole. You cannot stay stagnant and expect to grow and innovate.
However, it does give companies the chance to show younger gamers where the medium has been and in doing so, where it may go. The fact that Namco is releasing some of the harder to find Tales games into one HD set makes some people very happy and very excited. Rare and harder to find games should be the goldmine that companies are digging into to release, who wouldn’t enjoy a Shenmue 1 and 2 HD collection, or and Earthbound collection? These games were the groundwork for the current market today, and sadly most of them are forgotten. Sega revolutionized the open world genre with Shenmue in 1999, without that game, GTAIII may never have seen the light of day. The same goes for Earthbound, had that not been created would we have quirky RPG’s like Paper Mario and the Persona series (another franchise that needs the full HD makeover)? This list could go on for pages and pages, but it is very important for younger gamers to know where we have come from, to know the days before tutorials, and easy mode, and to just know how HARD Mega Man really was.
HD sets can be bad for the industry, if Konami is any indication, they successfully ruined the port of Silent Hill 2 and 3, and shot down any and all chances of Zone of the Enders 3 being made. Let me first tell you a horrifying tale to HD Silent Hill. Konami excited gamers every by announcing that two of the best survival horror games ever created were coming to a flat screen tv near you. Sadly, they didn’t too great of a job, the game was so broken that Konami could only patch the PS3 version to get rid of audio synchronization and frame rate issues. The Xbox 360 version never got a patch to fix the broken game due to “technical issues and resources.” Konami did rectify the situation a bit by offering gamers who purchased the 360 version a free game of their choice from the Konami library.
Hideo Kojima‘s other masterpiece franchise, Zone of the Enders, was also an abysmal Konami failure. Kojima was deeply apologetic to fans of the PS2 version who picked up the HD collection. Sadly the change from 30 FPS to 60 FPS wasn’t smooth at all, an in turn that made the fast action battle sequences choppy and disjointed. After hearing about the problem Kojima and his team went about creating a patch to fix the frame-rate issue, oddly enough the patch is only available for the PS3 at this time. This whole fiasco has caused Kojima to halt his Ender’s Project, which was suppose to be the third title in the franchise. The team on the Ender’s Project has since been dismantled and Kojima is re-evaluating the sequel for the time being, within his own head, and by talking to fans of the series.
With everything you do have to take the good with the bad, sadly the bad was four classic, beloved games getting the shaft from Konami. The good, however, could be so much more. It makes you think, how much history of the medium do younger gamers know? Very little from what’s been heard and it’s mostly about the mainstream icons like Mario, Sonic and Drake. Not gems like, Psychonauts, Haunting Ground or God Hand, sure these games have their little cult following, but they should be so much more. These games are proof that creativity has not been killed off by the Call of Duty clone, and that developers like Tim Schafer and Suda 51 are trying to give originality a shot in the arm in every generation of consoles. It would be nice to think that if companies decided to release HD collections of gaming’s forgotten gems that gamers would develop a hunger for new and creative ideas, and stop being Call of Duty sheep. A Bizzaro game world would be created where Double Fine and Team Ico were bigger than Activision and EA. A place where Suda 51 could make his sequel for Shadows of Damned, and where Mega Man Legends 3 was released. It would be a beautiful world, such a beautiful world that a tear almost comes to ones eye.