We’re living in an age where it’s become particularly prosperous for companies to remaster or remake older titles. Crash Bandicoot and Spyro got the remaster treatment to widespread acclaim, while Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 remake was an outstanding return to form for the franchise that really benefited from looking back.
With all these remasters and remakes leading to critical and commercial success, it’s no surprise that there’s growing demand when it comes to reviving old-but-gold classics. The producers of Simpsons Hit & Run and SSX Tricky both spoke to LADbible recently, separately confirming their desire to give their beloved games the remaster treatment.
I also spoke with the lead designer on 2000’s much-loved Spider-Man last year, who told me he’d absolutely be up for working on a remaster. Evidently, we’re all gripped by remaster fever right now. Well, nearly all of us.
You might remember an often-overlooked but much-loved 1996 game called Die Hard Trilogy. It was, as the name suggests, a deeply ambitious video game adaptation that took players through the events of the first three Die Hard movies. The title was essentially three games in one, which each movie tackling a completely different style of gameplay.
It’s exactly the kind of PlayStation classic that you’d think would be the perfect candidate for a remaster. It’s fondly remembered by those that played it, based on a popular IP, and just rough enough around the edges that a modern take on the could make some welcome changes.
Unfortunately for those hoping to see a fresh take on the game, one of the key players behind the development of Die Hard Trilogy doesn’t think a remaster would be the right move at all. To be fair, he makes a pretty compelling point.
“I’d leave it alone,” Simon Pick, lead designer and programmer on Die Hard Trilogy told me over email recently. “Part of its charm is the clunky, glitchy nature of it.”
“It’s a great big confused mess of a million ideas that we shoved together with our fingers crossed,” he continued. “I also wonder if it would be possible to get away with some of the stuff that’s in the game – running over pedestrians and splattering blood on the windscreen no longer seems even slightly amusing to me.”
I’m sure there are some who would argue that you absolutely could get away with some of the more violent moments in Die Hard Trilogy today… just look at GTA V. Still, I can’t disagree that one of the best things about the original game was that it felt, as Simon says, “clunky”. Maybe we really are best leaving this one alone?
That’s not to say Simon is completely against remasters. When I asked him if he’d be happy to return to any of the franchises or games he’d previously worked on, he told me he’d love to have another crack at an old Commodore 64 game called Nemesis.
“Nemesis on the C64 – sold as Gradius in the US – was the first game I was hired to work on,” Simon said. “Previously I’d just written my own stuff and sent it to publishers. I learned a great deal while developing it, but it didn’t turn out that great. I would love to have the chance to rewrite it again today with all the knowledge and experience I have gained over the intervening 30 years. It would be great!”
There’ll be plenty more to come from my chat with Simon later in the week, including the inspirations behind Die Hard Trilogy, the struggles of developing a movie tie-in, and how difficult it was to develop three games in one. Spoiler: it was very difficult, apparently.