GR Debates | Should game remakes make big changes to the original?

GR Debates is a weekly Game Revolution community feature where we ask our readers to vote on a topic. The results will be revealed in next week’s GR Debates!

Final Fantasy 7 Remake makes some pretty huge changes to the iconic game, to the point where it has divided fans of the original. While many have praised some of the bold new directions the game has taken (Jason, our reviewer, described its unusual approach in last week’s GR Show), others are upset with some of its key changes. This is similar to the response to the Resident Evil 3 remake, which also made some controversial changes that weren’t entirely well-received.

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In this week’s GR Debates, we discuss whether or not game remakes should take such substantial creative liberties with their original inspiration. Vote in our Twitter poll below, and discuss your thoughts in the comments section:

Here’s the Game Revolution team’s thoughts on this week’s topic.

“Remakes should be able to make bold decisions’

Michael Leri, lead writer: Remakes should be able to make bold decisions as the original will always exist. There are many ways to remake a game, but changes should always be a part of that equation, especially depending on the scope and how many eras the game is jumping.

The Resident Evil 1 remake was only one generation from its source so it made sense to not be such a drastically different game. It was prettier and even had a few gameplay adjustments to bring it more in line with modern 2002 standards. RE2, on the other hand, completely leaped over two whole generations so it made more sense to bring it to 2020 standards and make it a full third-person shooter.

Changing the viewpoint was a bold choice but it kept the soul from the original intact. It was tense and scary like the 1998 game yet elicited those feelings in a different way. Despite what purists say, remakes should feel free to make changes like that as long as they pick up the torch and move forward in a faithful fashion, making meaningful additions along the way.

RE4 will be an interesting test for Capcom as many don’t believe it needs one in the first place. But if Capcom is smart about keeping what fits and figuring out how to modernize it, then it can use the brilliant game design at its core to once again be one of the best games ever made.


“Remakes should attempt to surpass the original game”

final fantasy 7 remake 2

Jason Faulkner, senior editor: I think the degree to which a remake should change the source material is dependant on how realized the original game was in the first place. For FF7 Remake, Square Enix had to create the entire world outside of the limited viewpoint the original showed us. FF7 was always a game that reveled in the scale of the world, and now we get to see that rather than imagine it. Story changes aside, almost all of Midgar brings changes simply because we had such a limited viewpoint before.

The exemplifier of this argument is Resident Evil 2 remake versus Resident Evil 3 remake. Both these games were fully realized when it comes to environment, gameplay, and plot. RE2 remake celebrated the original game by including practically every aspect of it as a foundation and then building new content on top of that. Because it respected the original game, which is considered by many to be the best title in the Resident Evil series, it ended up being one of the most lauded games of last year.

Resident Evil 3 remake, on the other hand, cut content and presented a much more linear experience than the original game. As such, it was rightly criticized at offering a subpar, too short experience that only offered graphical improvements over the original RE3.

I think it’s okay if remakes have added sections where they do their own thing. I’m also fine with games like FF7 Remake putting a twist on the story. I’m just not a fan of cut content, and I think that remakes need to attempt to surpass the original game, not offer a watered-down version of it.


“The last disappointing remake I played was Goldeneye 007: Reloaded

crash n sane trilogy

Mack Ashworth, lead editor: While I commend developers who successfully improve a game through a remake, especially with regards to gameplay and story elements, it seems like a huge risk that comes with a lot of pressure. Do the original proud and you’ll be praised by the gaming community, but get it wrong and you’ll be abused.

Thankfully, the many remakes that we’ve seen in recent years have all been solid. I think the last disappointing “remake” that I remember is Goldeneye 007: Reloaded. Since then, I’ve been pleased with all that I’ve played.

When it comes to a remaster, I think it’s important for the developer to stay pretty true to the original. For example, minor changes to the Crash Bandicoot remaster caused an uproar with players, as Crash‘s animation was a little out of whack. For remakes, however, I say let the developer have at it, so long as a lot of thought goes into the changes and they are justified.


“The pinnacle of game remakes is Conker: Live and Reloaded

conker live and reloaded

Paul Tamburro, executive editor: It’s a fine line between making changes that fans of the original game would want to see, and making changes so drastic that it alienates its existing audience while failing to please potential newcomers. Judging by the reaction to Resident Evil 3‘s remake, it seems that it skirted this line too closely, while Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a good example of a remake that made meaningful changes (even if they weren’t completely well-received).

The pinnacle of game remakes is, of course, Conker: Live and Reloaded. The only reason to own an OG Xbox aside from Halo 2 and Project Gotham RacingConker: Live and Reloaded combined an updated version of the Nintendo 64 platformer with an excellent team-based multiplayer mode. So if you just wanted to replay old-fashioned Conker with some prettier graphics, you could do that, while a whole bunch of new content was packed in on the side.

What I’m saying is, Rare, please remake the remake of Conker. All I want to see is Conker: Live and Re-reloaded. This is my Final Fantasy 7 Remake.