Classic titles get a HD makeover
Capcom started it all, didn't they? If there was one publisher that had no qualms about adding multiple suffixes to their titles, it was the creators of Street Fighter (arguably the greatest fighting game franchise of all time), Capcom. Back in 2008, when downloadable titles were just catching on thanks to Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, a special version of Street Fighter would hit the online marketplace. It was to be the Street Fighter franchise's first foray into the domain of HD in the form of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Apart from having one of the most unnecessarily long titles, SSFII Turbo HD Remix would sport redrawn HD graphics and a balanced fighting engine — one that was more refined than the game, it was a ‘remix' of Super Street Fighter II Turbo (which itself was the fifth arcade release of Street Fighter II). The game was critically acclaimed thanks to the slick-looking visuals and solid online multiplayer component — the HD remix revolution had begun.
Prior to the release of God of War III, Sony announced the release of a bundle called The God of War Collection for the PS3, featuring HD versions of God of War and God of War II. Clearly, they felt players had to play these games before playing God of War III for a complete immersive effect — and their analysts told them they could easily move an additional two million units of a series that had already sold ten million units combined on all platforms. The analysts clearly knew their stuff. The bundle served its purpose brilliantly as a precursor to God of War III as well as managing to make Sony some money in the process. With the commercial success of The God of War Collection behind them, Sony has gone on to produce HD remasters of other classic titles such as the Sly Collection (a bundle featuring three Sly Cooper games), while HD versions of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are in production. During their E3 2011 press conference, Sony also announced another God of War compilation titled God of War: Origins, a bundle that would include remastered versions of both PSP titles God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta on a single blu-ray disc. What's more, Playstation 3 owners will be able to slice and dice enemies in full stereoscopic 3D.
The success of remixes has also prompted third-party developers to jump on the bandwagon, with Ubisoft and Konami announcing remastered versions of their games. First, gamers will be able to explore ancient ruins in ‘glorious' 720p in the remastered versions of Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and once they're bored of booby trap-avoiding and plunging to near-certain death, they can always choose to stalk their prey in silent-but-deadly fashion in the remakes of the first three Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell games. Original remix heroes Capcom have also announced Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD for the PS3, a rehash of the original Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, one of the hardest, most brutal, yet challenging and rewarding titles on a portable platform. The game will feature HD graphics, 3D support, cross-platform save support with the PSP and yet another unnecessarily long list of suffixes to its title (maybe not long enough by Capcom standards). If you can look past action games, there's a lot of other remastering going on as well, most notably in the area of adventure gaming. The special editions of the first two Monkey Island game are an absolute joy to behold — and play, of course. Featuring voice acting, HD graphics and a nostalgic ‘switch to original appearance' toggle, the special editions have taken old-school adventure gaming to the next generation.