There are fewer words in gaming vernacular that are as divisive as the word “remake.” This is a term that can instill feelings of anxious dread or joyous elation, and for good reason — video game remakes tend to either completely miss the mark, or nail it entirely. With so much of our childhood nostalgia being cynically repackaged and sold back to us, often with mediocre results, it’s only natural to be skeptical when one of your favorite games gets the remake announcement.
But, when done well, remakes can be extremely exciting. Recent footage of the Final Fantasy VII remake has most gamers pretty optimistic, and none more so than the diehard fans who grew up with the original (for the most part, anyway). With an announcement that turn-based combat would be returning to the remake, many folks are finally starting to think, “wow, they might actually pull this off!”
Needless to say, the prospect of a perfectly-remade Final Fantasy VII gets us pretty excited. But it also makes us wonder, what other games would benefit from this kind of remake treatment? There are some titles that immediately came to mind. Here are the games we’d love to see remade, balls-to-the-wall, full-on FFVIIR style.
Note: This article assumes that these hypothetical remakes would actually be good and give adequate justice to their original games. Naturally, there are a million ways to screw up a remake; we’re imaginging a best-case scenario.
While Square-Enix has our attention with the Final Fantasy VII Remake, we of course must wonder what it would look like if they did the same thing to some of their other properties. Chrono Trigger immediately comes to mind.
For the uninitiated, Chrono Trigger is a JRPG masterpiece that originally released on the SNES. It featured a compelling narrative that put its lovable band of heroes through a time-travelling journey, and gameplay that was innovative and engaging for the time. Many players still affectionately refer to Chrono Trigger as one of the best games of all time, and Square’s negligence to the property borders on criminal.
Chrono Trigger could benefit big-time from a remake treatment. Its story is nothing less than incredible, and the action-packed combat gameplay of Final Fantasy VII Remake would be a perfect fit. And, if all these things weren’t reason enough, just consider this: a completely reorchestrated version of Chrono Trigger’s iconic soundtrack. Case closed.
Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid is one of the most legendary Playstation games of all time, but going back to its PS1 graphics and gameplay is… a little rough. Metal Gear Solid could benefit greatly from a deluxe remake treatment. The tech is already there with MGSV’s FOX engine, and the story is so well-told that a major graphical overhaul is really the only thing that this classic game would need.
Metal Gear Solid has already been remade in the form of The Twin Snakes, but as great as that game was, it left many fans wanting. It’s also notoriously hard to play these days, being a Gamecube-only title — and a fairly rare one at that.
Finally, the biggest argument towards remaking Metal Gear Solid is that it seems like a better alternative to Konami trying to make new games in the universe. Metal Gear is their cash cow and hell will freeze over before they leave it to die, but without Kojima at the helm, we have major doubts about them creating new games. Why not just devote their energy into remaking some of the existing ones instead? If they suck, they suck, but if they’re great, it’d be an amazing way to freshly experience some of our favorite games.
Knights of the Old Republic
Look, none of us are terribly thrilled with how EA has handled the Star Wars license, but let’s give credit where it’s due: from an audio and visual standpoint, it’s never been better than EA’s Battlefront II. This is a game that looks jaw-droppingly beautiful, capturing familiar Star Wars vistas in a way that makes us feel like we’re really there, especially when the incredible sound design is bursting through surround-sound speakers.
As far as gameplay goes, opinions on Battlefront II are divisive, but there’s no doubt that they’ve nailed the presentation. So, what if you took a game that was already good, and gave it a makeover in the same graphics? Knights of the Old Republic comes to mind, and the results would be glorious.
KOTOR is widely considered to be the best Star Wars game of all time. This was Bioware at its best: the story was jaw-dropping, the characters were memorable, and it felt like a worthy addition to Star Wars canon that could stand toe-to-toe with the films. Today, KOTOR’s popularity is no secret, and there are even whispers that it has inspired an Old Republic-era Star Wars trilogy. I can’t think of a better excuse to remake it for newer generations.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Okay, hear me out. Yes, Symphony of the Night is so good that it doesn’t really “need” a remake. But that’s true for just about every title on this list. Since we’re writing this list under the assumption that these remakes would actually be good, can you imagine how awesome Symphony of the Night could be at its fullest potential?
Castlevania is a bit of a hit-or-miss franchise, but when it’s good, it’s REALLY good, and few would argue that there’s a better title in the series than Symphony of the Night. This is the title that coined the term “Metroidvania,” giving Castlevania the legacy that many gamers know it by today. It also featured a rich narrative, with fan-favorite Alucard in the protagonist role.
My vision for a Symphony remake would be the Castlevania equivalent of Metroid Prime. Almost nobody believed that Metroid could be adapted to 3D, but lo and behold, Retro Studios proved that it was possible — and with results that eclipsed people’s expectations. Could the same be done for Symphony of the Night? With the right team of talented developers, I’d say the answer is yes. Will it actually happen? Most definitely not, but a man could dream.
Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time is arguably my favorite game of all time (contested only by its direct sequel, Majora’s Mask), and I’ve always been in the “do not remake” camp because the game is fine just the way it is. But if we’re contemplating the hypothetical idea of a perfect remake, one that truly improves on the original while still doing it justice, it’s hard to not get giddy at the possibilities.
A big part of OOT’s fame is how it completely revolutionized gaming at the time. For people who weren’t there for it, it’s easy to miss how much Ocarina brought to the table. It was a game-changer in every conceivable way, and to call it utterly mind-blowing would be an understatement. That, of course, begs the question: what does Ocarina of Time bring to the table in an era where its mechanics are no longer revolutionary?
For my money, the answer is, “a lot.” Ocarina may have set a new bar for gaming, but that wasn’t only because of its design. The story of OOT is something special, even if it’s relatively simple. It wasn’t full of narrative twists and turns like Final Fantasy, but it was a poignant, emotional journey about adolescence, and the crushing responsibilities of growing up. Ocarina is at once melancholic and hopeful, and its fairy-tale like atmosphere is something that is rarely replicated by other games. If a remake could capture these things that made the game so special, it would be a must-play.
With That Being Said…
Despite the fact that I wrote this list, I would actually prefer that we stay away from remakes and pursue original ideas instead. I feel this way about the Disney movies, and I feel this way about my favorite games as well. But, it never hurt anyone to fantasize a little bit. I’m pretty anti-remake, but when they’re done well, they can be absolutely amazing, and I’d be lying if I said that the Final Fantasy VII Remake doesn’t have me feeling giddy.
I suspect this article will be controversial, and if you have strong opinions about how wrong (or right) I am, be sure to sound ’em out in the comments!