Another day, another remaster, right?
I’ve assumed as much for quite some time now. After all, why wouldn’t companies be interested in up-resing a game, putting it in a new box, and selling it on another system? Add in some DLC, call it the ‘definitive edition’, and it makes a huge amount of sense as far as profit goes.
Insomniac games is one of few companies that have earned my respect for going beyond what we now have come to expect from remasters, remakes and “collections.” They have set out to bring the original Ratchet & Clank game, first released on the Playstation 2, to the Playstation 4 system. Why? I can already play a prettier version of the game in the Ratchet & Clank collection available on PlayStation 3.
But as Insomniac has stated, this is not just a tacking on of 1080p graphics in order to ship it with a new cover (don’t panic – 1080p is still there). James Stevenson, Community Lead at Insomniac, describes Ratchet & Clank on the PS4 as a “re-imagining” of the original game. Just what does this mean? This version of Ratchet & Clank will take the best parts of the original title and the best parts of the Future series that were released on PS3, and combine them for a brand new experience. This is not just a prettier Ratchet by any means.
The game will have new controls, new planets, new and updated gameplay segments, all-new Clank gameplay, new boss fights, new flight sequences, and more. This is exactly how you get me to play an updated version of your game. Give me a reason to be excited about jumping back into a game that I already may know about as far as the story and its secrets go. It peaks my curiosity just to replay it to see if I can spot what is new, while also experiencing a sense of nostalgia for a game I haven’t played in quite some time. This is not just an external studio porting a game – this is the original makers of a game working hands-on and claiming that “almost everything in Ratchet & Clank PS4 has been touched, updated, or is new.”
But it gets better. The game will arrive with a $40 price tag. They easily could have priced it at what seems to be the default AAA price of $60 and I probably still would buy it and play it. And yes, it is a full game according to Insomniac, who note it is longer than the last PS3 release, Into the Nexus, which ran about 10-12 hours. I previously argued that the upcoming God of War III Remastered isn’t worth the $40 it is being sold at, but I believe that this new iteration of Ratchet & Clank certainly is. When it comes to God of War III Remastered, you’re getting a game that you could play on PS3 and get the exact same experience, albeit at a lower graphical quality. This new version of Ratchet and its original are “two very different experiences” according to Insomniac, and I’m willing to put forward that money to get to experience it, while simultaneously being thankful that they recognize this is still based on a game that many who buy it probably have already played, and its reflected in this price tag.
When I dive into Ratchet on PS4 next spring, I won’t be doing it to see how beautiful space looks (though it does look amazing). I won’t be doing it for some tacked-on mode where I can take photos of what Clank is doing to share it with my friends. I will be doing it to see how an amazing game can be improved after a developer has found what works for the franchise and what doesn’t. And for that, I’m sold.