Will We Be Paying Full-Price For HD Remakes On PS4 And Xbox One?
We’ve seen HD remakes in the past, it’s not a new concept for the video game industry, but charging full price for an HD remake when the original version is currently sitting in the bargain bin is. The Tomb Raider Definitive Edition is coming to PS4 and Xbox One on January 28th, 2014 and it will cost the same as its previous gen counterpart.
The group at Crystal Dynamics persists that the re-release is much more than a face lift. In a new community Q&A session, one gamer asked the studio outright if they thought the price was justified, and this was their response:
It’s a great question and while I don’t control sales or prices, what I do know is that Tomb Raider is an awesome game. It has received many nominations and has an amazing fan base that keeps us striving to always deliver the best and always pushing ourselves to even do better. If it was “only a facelift” AND we were only reselling it on the same platforms we’d already shipped it on, I would see your point. But as we’re selling it on a new platform, with a lot of development work put in to custom craft it for the new platforms; with the new additions for the aesthetic, the physics, the particles, the lighting – taking advantage of next-gen features – so I absolutely stand by our decision to offer up Definitive Edition the way we are.
We’d love for every Tomb Raider fan to get to experience it on next-gen. We are definitely looking to draw in those folks who may not have experience it yet on the last generation so they can experience this version on next-generation. But even for existing hardcore fans, we are confident in the offering we have as an excellent enhanced experience above and beyond what we’d previously provided. We wouldn’t bring it to you all if we felt otherwise. You are the reasons we do what we do.
The engineering work is said to have been handled by three different teams. However, The development cycle on the Definitive Edition will likely fall short of a full calendar year if it releases on-time. The studio also mentioned it’d be completely overhauling the back-end of the multiplayer system for use on next-gen. That in itself is not an easy task.
Which means their argument does contain some merit. Tomb Raider is widely accepted as one of the top releases in 2013. The title sits within the top five games I’ve played in 2013, but being a great game doesn’t warrant paying full-price twice. Even having enjoyed the original release, I’m having trouble defending Square Enix here. Especially if you take into consideration that the Definitive Edition will likely be on-par (maybe) with what the PC release offered out of the gate, and that Tomb Raider is currently sitting at $24.99 on Steam.
Lastly, Crystal Dynamics still haven’t commented on what frame rate the title will ultimately run at. Saying,
I’m not quoting a framerate as we’re still optimizing the game – even today, even this close to final, we still have teams actively squeezing out everything we can to generate the best experience possible! We will happily talk more about our final end results in January once we’re totally done.
This statement leads me to believe the team is still striving to hit the 60fps mark while maintaining the 1080p resolution that’s needed to justify an HD remake in the first place. I would argue that performance benchmarks need to be heavily weighed in when considering the price of admission.
What’s more, if publishers feel that they can charge the full-price of admission a second time around, we may be looking at a slippery slope. Things have a way of drifting to the background in the eyes of consumers. When publishers floated the idea of DLC, it made gamers more than a bit uneasy. The expectation being that you receive a finished product when you decide to purchase. DLC went against that notion in some people’s eyes. When first introduced, season passes elicited a collective outcry from the gaming community, but that time has passed and the season pass has now become somewhat of an industry standard.
Games are beginning to demand sizable production budgets and publishers are reaching for new ways to turn a profit. Tomb Raider may have been overwhelmingly critically acclaimed, but it’s no secret the title failed to meet sales expectations. To that end I feel inclined to believe SE is simply trying to wring all it can out of the game.
In the end I find it difficult to justify charging full-price for the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition. With development wrapping up within a calendar year and the original PC release sitting at half the price; I just don’t see the appeal. The only audience I see jumping at the Definitive Edition are die-hard Tomb Raider fans and the small percentage of gamers that have yet to try the title out during its first year of release.
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