Like a fart in an elevator, remastered games are going no where, according to Capcom at least. The publisher of the Resident Evil and Street Fighter franchises have recently announced they plan to follow up the successful remastering of the original Resident Evil with more remasters of past favourites. During a recent financial briefing, the Japanese publisher announced, “HD remasters of our catalogue hit titles will be one of our key business activities … [digital sales] created new demand for these titles. For example, overseas download sales of “Resident Evil” (HD Remastered) in the past fiscal year were far higher than we expected.”
This would suggest that Capcom intend to remaster their entire back catalogue of Resident Evil games, which will give them around four remasters to release (if they do a full HD remastering of Resident Evil 4). The Resident Evil games, at their release were universally praised, but will a fancy new coat of paint be able to overcome the clunky controls and weak story? If the sales of the remaster of the original is anything go by Capcom have nothing to worry about. Resident Evil HD broke all company sales records for a digital download across three platforms in North America and Europe. So the market is certainly there, as younger generations want to be able to experience titles they will have missed, while nostalgic gamers will pick it up too.
A deal with Sony is already in place for Street Fighter 5, Sony fans may also be treated to PS4 exclusive remasters. Capcom certainly have the back catalogue, and a remastering of a lesser known game may see them be able to make it relevant again in today’s market. Underutilised IPs like Dino Crisis and Mega Man may find a resurgence if they are treated to a HD makeover (or new game in Mega Man’s case).With Sony providing financial support for the release of Street Fighter 5 it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that they can strike up a deal for some PS4 exclusive remasters.
In recent years Capcom have had to re-evaluate their business strategy, and they appear reluctant to release new IPs, so HD remasters may be the way for the company to remain profitable, whilst also having a constant presence in the gaming world. As we have seen recently with Konami, Japanese game development is not as lucrative as it once was, so striking the balance of remastering classics and occasionally releasing newer versions of existing franchises (I’m looking at you Mega Man) could prove a shrewd move by Capcom.