The current generation of consoles, which is a term that is going to no longer apply to the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One in the near future, has seen an influx of remasters and remakes. This habit really took off last generation, and a lot of remasters have focused on games from the PlayStation 2 era. Remakes, meanwhile, have pulled from all over gaming history. If these sort of rereleases are going be a continuing occurrence going forward, then developers are going to really need to step up their game.
This is because the next generation of games is going to come with higher standards. Even remasters released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had clearly shown their age in terms of graphics. The difference wasn’t so great, though, that there was much room to complain. Certainly, some were better than others, but might the gap be too far on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X? It depends.
There are a few ways this can be handled. One way is to release these games digitally at cheaper price points. This is assuming their value diminishes in the eyes of gamers. Backwards compatibility is a common topic of discussion in gaming, though, so the accessibilities given by remasters would still be appreciated.
Then there’s the idea of remasters. A new generation could encourage developers to entirely remaster old games. This makes it more likely that they will also be updated with quality of life changes and elements of modern game design. Recent releases of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 demonstrate how well this can work. The first Tony Hawk came out a year ago, yet the spirit recaptured modern gamers.
Developers could also opt to polish older games or rarer. Gretest Hits from the PlayStation 2 games are great, sure, but the PlayStation One also had a lot of classics that aren’t so easily revisited. And both consoles had games that have grow in popularity that can be tricky to track down. If developers could take the Xenosaga games from the PlayStation 2, package them together as a collection, and resell them with some extra content, that could work. Games from the .hack franchise, which are expensive and hard to find, would also be easy to justify without much work. But PlayStation One RPGs, many of which are in bad physical condition, could get a fresh coat of paint and a few mods to entice players. Square Enix did this with some of its older Final Fantasy games and that seemed to work. The ability to bypass long loading times on long battles is almost worth it in its own right. I’m also pretty sure there are a ton of people out there who would enjoy an easier way to play Xenogears .
I don’t doubt we’ll see next gen remasters by any means. I partially suspect that a lot of the games we see remastered will be from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 generation, though. Those games still look pretty good, though, and it hasn’t become difficult to find most of them. Digital releases of those might still have an appeal, even if the games remain mostly untouched. Hopefully, developers won’t give up on the past. Instead, they should increase their efforts to pull from it.