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Your favorite video game doesn’t need a remake

The hero of Bloodborne stands tall.

When you watch as many video game showcases as I do, you start to notice some patterns in the chat. Casual requests for certain games have a way of snowballing into memes. If you watched just about any stream this June, you probably caught pleas for Hollow Knight: Silksong news, even when that didn’t make much sense. While Grand Theft Auto 6 is still the king of fan begging, I’ve noticed a rival in the wings recently: Bloodborne.

Fans of FromSoftware’s 2015 PlayStation 4 classic have begged for any scrap of news about the game over the years. Some of those demands are reasonable; requests for a PC port, a 60 frames-per-second (fps) update, or sequel seem fair considering its pedigree. But last month’s PlayStation State of Play pushed me to my limits when I saw Sony’s YouTube chat floodied with chants of a Bloodborne remaster or remake.

As a career fun killer, I’m here to burst some bubbles: No, Bloodborne does not need a remake. I’d go as far as to say that few, if any, of your favorite games do.

Remake overload

To give the Bloodborne hive its due, requests for a remake or remaster aren’t unreasonable. We’re currently living through a double-dip boom for the video game industry. Just about every major publisher is revisiting their classics to some degree, whether it be Square Enix with Final Fantasy 7, EA with Dead Space, or Sony with The Last of Us. Even Nintendo is all-in on that trend with retouches of Super Mario RPG, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and more. If you love Bloodborne, I can see why you might want Sony to give it some overdue love.

What’s more absurd is the idea that a nine-year old PS4 game is in desperate need of a revisit outside of a modern platform upgrade. Bloodborne still feels like a perfectly modern game by today’s standards. It still looks and plays great today; any flaws it has are still largely present in recent FromSoftware games like Elden Ring. Aside from doubling its frame rate, there’s little FromSoftware could likely do to retouch it in the same way that Bluepoint did with its fantastic modernization of Demon’s Souls, a rougher PS3 game that benefited from a cleanup.

A hunter facing off against an amygdala.

Arguments for a remake would feel more reasonable were it difficult to get a copy of the original, but Bloodborne doesn’t have that problem either. It’s a readily available game that you can buy right now on the PlayStation Store for $20 (or on sale for $10 at the time I’m writing this). You can even play it on PS Plus Extra if you’re already subscribed. A simple PC port would be welcome, but there’s no world in which it makes sense to double-dip on a game like this in 2024.

But that hasn’t stopped publishers from doing it anyways.

While I started this piece talking to Bloodborne fans, that’s not what actually frustrates me. Rather, requests for projects like this speak to the wider state of a video game industry that’s trying to squeeze as much money out of players as possible these days through nostalgia. Though it can be exciting to see a forgotten or particularly dated game reimagined, publishers’ current obsession about bringing any and everything back from the dead — even when it’s not necessary — is building a tiring culture that devalues the very games companies claim to celebrate.

Look at 2024’s release calendar and you’ll find that it’s dominated by remakes and remasters, many of which are head-scratchers. That started in January with a wholly unnecessary (and even detrimental) remaster of The Last of Us Part 2 and has continued for the past six months. Persona 3, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and more have padded out the first half of the year, and there’s way more to come. Until Dawn, Silent Hill 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, and even Epic Mickey are all getting revisits this year. Some projects make sense, like Riven’s reimagining. Others are harder to justify.

Mario bumps into a Goomba in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

Take Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, for instance. Nintendo gave the GameCube classic some love this year with a “remake” that doesn’t really do much that a port couldn’t have. Aside from adding tutorials and refreshing the already solid art, it feels about the same as it did on the GameCube. Some even argue that it’s an inferior version due to slower turn-based battles and a drop from 60 fps on GameCube to 30 fps on Switch. While I enjoyed my time with it, I couldn’t help but ask myself why Nintendo couldn’t have added the original to the Switch Online catalog rather than charging fans for a full-priced revisit.

Other upcoming projects have me even more skeptical. Konami’s Metal Gear Solid Delta will remake the classic Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, but without Hideo Kojima, the visionary game maker who made the original what it is, at the helm. Bloober Team’s upcoming Silent Hill 2 remake is a similarly odd sell, as it looks to smooth over all the off-kilter elements of the PS1 era that define the original.

The message across the industry right now seems to be that old games are broken toys that need fixing. Rather than embracing the warts or design decisions of old games, everything has to look, sound, and play better. Sometimes that can have a positive impact; The Last of Us Part 1 came with a crucial suite of accessibility features. More often than not, though, many of today’s remakes feel more like ways to milk popular IP for all they’re worth. Did we get Persona 3 Reload because the original benefited from a touch-up, or did Atlus see a way to get money out of fans as it toiled away on Persona 6? (For what it’s worth, Reload strikes me as a creative step down from Persona 3 Portable, a game that you can buy on modern platforms right now).

A character swings a sword in Persona 3 Reload.

That’s where I come back around to my frustrations with Bloodborne mania. Remakes have begun to feel less like an act of artistic preservation and more like calculated business moves that take advantage of nostalgia. Very few recent remakes I’ve played feel like they’re in conversation with the game they’re remaking or thinking about what it means to bring them back in a modern context. Final Fantasy VII Remake and Capcom’s Resident Evil remakes go that extra mile, but I can’t say the same for even well-done projects like Dead Space. How would a remake of Bloodborne deepen our understanding and appreciation for that game in a way that just replaying it couldn’t?

Sometimes I can’t help but feel like remakes have become a half-measure compromise for what players actually need: An easy, legal way to buy and play old games. Why can’t I buy the original Silent Hill 2 on Steam? Why was it borderline impossible to legally play Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door until last month? Can’t we just put Bloodborne on PC and leave it there in its original glory? Every time fans buy into the marketing spin, it feels like we get further away from a true preservation solution.

So no, I don’t want to keep playing the same classics with better graphics or modern controls. I’d be happy as a clam just being able to access the games I love anytime. Is that too much to ask?

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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