Remasters, remakes and even just re-releases of older games have proven to be a great source of money, especially over the last few years. Resident Evil 2 sold loads and won various Game of the Year Awards, Crash Team Racing came screeching back with a great remake, Spyro the Dragon got all three original games remastered and even MediEvil somehow managed to clamber out of its grave. Basically it looks like just about any old game has a chance of a second lease on life.
So join me as I list a bunch of games I’d like to see get remastered, remade or even just re-released. Keep in mind that I’ve not really considered the commercial value of these games, by which I mean where or not they’d probably be financially worthwhile for any developer to do.
And it goes without saying that there are many, many other games I’d love to see brought back for a new audience to enjoy. These are just a few I thought of.
The fact that the SSX franchise died out back in 2012 is a little surprising. The last game, the confusingly titled SSX, did pretty well in terms of reception and sales, and it seemed people were still quite into the idea of bombing down hills on a snowboard. The closest we’ve really come to getting the series back was Steep, a sort of fun snowboarding/skiing/wingsuiting open-world thing that came out in 2017.
But I don’t want the 2012 SSX or the even the original 2000 SSX. Nope, I want the best of the bunch back; 2001’s SSX Tricky, a manic snowboarding game where you went bombing down crazy tracks while doing daft tricks. The more tricks you did, the more speed boost you got, so even in the straight races it was worth busting out moves whenever you could.
Looking back now I’m amazed that Tricky had the idea of its roster of characters having relationships which were affected by your in-game actions. Barging into other characters would make them dislike you, in turn increasing their aggression toward you. It’s like the system found in GRID, except in Tricky the relationships carried over and you’d even get little cutscenes before races where characters would flirt, banter or insult each other. Admittedly the concept was a bit ruined by the fact knocking other characters off their boards earned you boost, encouraging you to murder everyone, but can you believe that a snowboarding game in 2001 had such a cool, creative idea?
Ultimately, though, SSX tricky is just bloody good fun to play. It feels great, the tracks are creative and fun to play, the characters have backstories and the did I mention that it it’s just bloody good fun to play? Give us a remaster. Now.
Released back in 1995 Discworld was a point and click adventure game based on Terry Pratchett’s many wacky books. When it was released it did extremely well in Europe and the UK, although our chums in America didn’t seem to quite get it. This was not surprising as Terry Pratchett’s unique humor was very British, and things just didn’t translate well to American culture.
It’s hard for me to tell you just how much Terry Pratchett was involved in my early years. I’ve read every book the man ever wrote numerous times, and his humor helped shape my own barmy outlook on life. As for the Discworld game, and the two that followed it, I was introduced to those through my mum who loves point and click adventure games. and practically raised on me on stuff like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Toonstruck.
Like a lot of the adventure games from that era Discworld was bloody hard, not because it required some serious brainpower but because it was insane. Puzzles often involved ludicrous solutions with zero logic, like shoving a frog into Rincewind’s mouth to stop him from snoring and in turn stop him from scaring a butterfly. Then you’ll use the butterfly on a lampost so that in the future a monk will get hit by a storm and take off his robe. Got that? No? OF COURSE NOT! Who the hell could work that out?
So yeah, it was often infuriating, just like most of the other adventure games of the time were. But it was also hilarious and its puzzles were memorable. Given how popular Terry Pratchett’s work remains even after his death I feel like a Discworld game could do quite well, be it new or a remaster of this point and click classic.
Sadly, it seems like a re-release or a remaster of the original Discworld game is unlikely. Rhianna Pratchett, the daughter of Terry Pratchett and writer of such games as Tomb Raider, has confirmed that they’ve talked to companies like GoG about getting Discworld, Discworld 2 and Discworld: Noir re-released, but it’s impossible because nobody is sure who owns the rights to the game.
Speaking to Kotaku, Rhianna Pratchett said, “We’ve certainly been talking to companies like GOG and Nightdive about possibilities of getting a re-release, but we don’t own the game,” she said. “We own the characters and that has obviously come back to us, but we don’t own the rights to publish a game.”
“And the companies involved have been bought and sold several times, and closed down, and the rights have gone to someone else who has been bought and shut down. So nobody knows where the rights are apart from that we, as in the Pratchett’s, don’t have them. So I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see those be re-released again, which is a big shame, but it’s just down to the chain of title which isn’t clear really.”
This breaks my heart. I’d be happy just to see the games get re-released in their original form. Sadly it seems we’ll never get them back outside of illegal versions running on emulators, although we can always hope for a new Discworld game one day.
Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth 2
The Lord of the Rings has had some pretty varied games over the years, including the awesome Return of the King which I played to death on the PS2. To me though, the best of the bunch was Battle for Middle-Earth 2, an RTS where you could pit humans against Orcs and Dwarves against Elves or just everybody against everybody. Plus, you could do stuff like have Gandalf fight Frodo.
Much like Discworld, though, it looks like we’ll never get to play a re-release or remaster of Battle for Middle-Earth or its superior sequel due to licensing. It was EA who published Battle for Middle-Earth and the sequel, but EA lost the license to The Lord of the Rings back in 2009, meaning they can no longer publish any game using that IP. Currently, Warner Bros. have the license to create Lord of the Rings games via Middle-Earth Enterprises, so presumably the only way we could ever see a new Battle for Middle-Earth or a remaster of the existing games would be if EA, Middle-Earth Enterprises and Warner Bros. could reach some sort of agreement, sort of like how Sony and Marvel came together to put Spider-Man into the MCU.
And in the meanwhile if you still have the game on disc for the PC or Xbox 360 hold onto it tight. I stupidly lost my PC copy a few years ago, and went into mourning for a full month. I totally did not then go and Torrent it. There’s also a fan-made remake in the works which will hopefully come to fruition assuming that nobody from EA or Middle-Earth Enterprises decides to stomp them into the ground.
The Witcher 3 has taken its place in the annals of video game history as one of the greatest games in history, winning hundreds of awards and often being cited as people’s favorite game ever. It put CD Projekt Red on the map and brought newfound attention to the original books. It’s so big, so massively popular that it’s easy to forget that there was two previous Witcher games as well. They both did reasonably well, but in the shadow of their big brother they’ve been largely forgotten about.
Now, The Witcher 2 holds up pretty well by graphical standards and is still a lot of fun to play, even to this day. The original Witcher, though, looks rough and plays rough which is hardly a fair criticism given that it was launched back in 2007. With the release of The Witcher show on Netflix the franchise has only grown bigger with The Witcher 3 currently having a huge amount of concurrent players on Steam. So many of those people, however, have never experienced the prior games. A remake seems like a financially solid move.
CD Projekt Red themselves have commented on the possibility of a remaster, if only to say that if they ever did it, it would be a substantial project rather than something they would do on the side. It would be a true rebuilding of the game from the ground up, which is an enticing prospect but also makes it clear why they aren’t planning on doing it any time soon: they are hard at work on Cyberpunk 2077 and maybe even The Witcher 4, and don’t have the resources to spare to work on remaking the original Witcher game.
But maybe one day we’ll be able to experience the game that laid the foundations for The Witcher 3 all over again with better graphics, a user interface that doesn’t make me want to commit murder and a few gameplay tweaks.
Back when I was a lad and attempted to sneak in as much time on my Playstation 1 as humanly possible one of the games that I kept going back to was Sled Storm, an arcade racer featuring snow mobiles, music from Rob Zombie and brilliant physics. Keep in mind that I’ll be talking about Sled Storm which was released in 1999, and not sequel on PS2 which was also titled Sled Storm. For some reason. Seriously, developers, please stop naming your games like that. It’s bloody confusing.
Aside from the kickass industrial rock soundtrack Sled Storm’s brilliance was in how it played. The snow-covered tracks are covered in bumps, jumps and hills, resulting in you constantly bouncing across the circuit like a lunatic while pulling off tricks. The handling model was superb, always keeping you feeling on the edge of control while never being unfair or feeling unresponsive.
As for the tracks they were brilliant, featuring numerous shortcuts and engaging layouts, although the snow did mean they kind of looked the same, a fact not helped by the PS1 era graphics.
In many ways Sled Storm reminds me of one of my favourite racing games ever: PURE, an arcade racer that also featured amazing tracks, superb handling and great physics. I’m really not sure if there would be enough interest in Sled Storm to warrant bringing it back, but if it ever did get a remaster I’d be the first in line to blast around tracks listening to Rob Zombie’s Dragula.
Oh, and bring back PURE while you’re at it. That game is outstanding.
The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Released back in 1999 for the PS1 and the Dreamcast, The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is actually a sequel to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, though it wasn’t originally planned to be.
In Soul Reaver you play as Raziel, a trusted lieutenant of Kain in his vampire army. One day you wake up to find that you’ve grown some wings, a next step in the evolution of vampires. However, Kain is not pleased that you were somehow the first to acquire these and not him, and so he casts you into the merrily named Lake of the Dead. Raziel’s fate is not meant to be so simple, though, and so an Elder God brings Razier back to life many years later, granting Raziel a ghostly blade named Soul Reaver in order aid in his quest to destroy Kain and all of his old brethren. Hell, Razier was the Kratos of the time, showing no mercy in his mission to single-handedly destroy the vampires of Nosgoth.
The story juggled concepts of destiny and whether or not we have control over our own lives, and wrapped it all up in a brilliantly atmospheric, gothic art style that is immediately recognizable. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver practically oozed creativity and brooding darkness, with some truly outstanding character designs and world building. It makes me think a little of the 2003 Underworld movie.
In terms of gameplay, we got an action adventure game which took place on a sizable map with no loading screens. Razier was capable of shifting into the spectral realm at any time, altering how things like water and gravity worked. Sometimes even the layout of the world would change. This formed the basis of many of the puzzles.
Truthfully, Soul Reaver doesn’t play all that great. The combat, for example, consists of hammering attack until an enemy is stunned, then picking them up using an incredibly slow animation before inching your way toward something sharp and hoping that the game actually lets you hurl them onto the object. As for the platforming, it suffers being a 3D platformer on PS1, so the camera is a constant pain in the ass and it’s hard to judge jumps correctly.
But the puzzles are mostly okay. Er, mostly.
Really, Soul Reaver, and indeed the whole series, are all about the story. But with a remaster or a remake a lot of the gameplay could be rebuilt and tweaked to be much more enjoyable. Though I’d like to see all of the game’s get remade or remastered, I’d be okay with only Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 getting the treatment. At the moment you can experience both games on Steam, but they have a lot of issues running on modern machines. It’s time to bring this franchise back, and if we can’t get a proper sequel or reboot then at least let us experience Raziel’s journey all over again .
Another 1999 PS1 classic makes my list in the form of Ape Escape, a stupendous game where you chase a bunch of escaped apes around, using the analogue stick to desperately swipe at the little bastards with your net. It was a bonkers concept, the kind that could probably only originate in the 90s. The last time we saw Ape Escape was in 2010 where it got some baffling Playstation Move exclusive that nobody played.
My desire for a remaster or even for the series to be revived with a new game might be close to reality. Last year saw some evidence that Ape Escape might be returning, especially since it was the 20th anniversary of the franchise. And then just last week a Tweet suggested that Ape Escape news will be forthcoming sometime this year.
Basically I just want to run after chimps while waving a new without zoo staff telling me to stop or they’ll ban me. Bastards.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (And The Sequel)
Technically I’m cheating with this one, but if you’re going to remake KOTOR then you may as well tackle KOTOR 2 as well.
The Star Wars IP has been on one hell of a rollercoaster ride, from the beloved original trilogy to the mostly disliked prequels and now the modern, divisive trio of films. As for the games, we used to have a lovely plethora of awesome Star Wars titles to choose from, like the original Battlefronts, Jedi Knight and Republic Commando. More recently however, things have been a lot rougher. EA got the coveted rights to publish Star Wars games and have somehow managed to barely do anything with it, only putting out the new Battlefront games, which have gotten a mixed reception, and the recent Fallen Order.
Maybe it’s time to bring back two of the greatest Star Wars games ever, then. I’m referring to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, both of which are massive RPGs developed by none other than BioWare, who obviously aren’t having the best time right now. But Knights of the Old Republic was BioWare at its finest, spinning a brand-new tale in the Star Wars universe well away from the movies. There’s an awesome cast of characters, loads of interesting choices to make which can result in the deaths of your crew mates and even the freedom to fall to the Dark side of the Force, taking your friends with you. Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel are the best Star Wars stories outside the actual movies. And talk about a fantastic twist.
Looking back, a lot of Knights of the Old Republic ended up informing the Mass Effect games. The emphasis on dialogue, tough choices and a crew of fascinating characters made Knights of the Old Republic special and BioWare carried that through to Mass Effect.
A small problem presented itself a few years ago when both of the Knights of the old Republic games were wiped from the official Star Wars canon. That however, has changed slightly as a new Star Wars book ( Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary) refers to a Revan legion of Sith Troopers, which is a clear nod to Darth Revan from KOTOR. With that said, it could just be an easter egg and nothing more.
As it stands you can pick up both KOTOR games on things like Steam or GoG and they are absolutely worth playing, but I’d love to see them get a fresh coat of paint and perhaps a few quality of life improvements.
God damn this game is so criminally underated that everyone should be forced to play it at least once in order to experience it’s madness and its brilliance.
It was 2009 when Brutal Legend was released, an insane game built around Eddie Riggs, a legendary heavy-metal roadie played by none other than Jack Black who was on top form and clearly having a heap of fun. After building an epic stage for a shitty band who plays “heavy metal” Eddie winds up having to save the life of a band member and getting himself crushed by his own creation. Talk about a bummer. But Eddie awakens to find himself transported to a bonkers world where the landmarks are taken straight for classic metal album covers, there’s an S&M demon running around and Ozzy Osbourne is in charge of a car garage.
In terms of gameplay the hack and slash combat and the driving were nothing new. And the strange RTS sections were incredibly divisive. But what made Brutal Legend special was its cast of amazing characters, its adoration of metal music and its zany humour. With a cast including the likes of Tim Curry, Lemmy Kilmister and Ozzy Osbourn as The Guardian of Metal is it no wonder that Brutal Legend was something incredible? I mean, this is a game where shredding on the guitar electrocutes enemies, you drive a customizable hot-rod around and Eddie has an actual axe to go along with his axe.
Brutal Legend has become something of a cult classic, and I’d highly advise you to go and play it, especially if you love rock and heavy metal. While the version available on PC still holds up quite well even eleven years after the game came out, I’d love to see the game get a remaster and brought back for newer gamers to appreciate.