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Refactoring/refreshing a previous gen title for this gen

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Hello, Was playing Shadow of the Colossus recently and thought that it's a shame that it's a PS2 game. What I began considering was "Why not freshen this game and bring it to the PS3?" So what prevents this from happening? I'm not talking about a successor I'm talking about taking this game's source material, refactoring some, rewriting some, re-rendering some, etc. and making a release for the PS3. Is it the case that the developers get burned out on the same title and the stress and strain to get it released that it just makes them want to wash their hands of the entire project? Is it too much work for too little gain? Going from PS2 resolutions to PS3 1080p is just too much work? Porting from PS2 to PS3 is essentially a rewrite? None of the source material can be leveraged and therefore there's really nothing to be gained? i.e. it's an intractable proposal? If it's just not worth doing due to one or more of the above then, what a shame. If it is possible why isn't it done? Or is it done? Continuing on with the assumption that it's possible..... Could they charge say $20 instead of the full price of a current gen game?

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- The rendering hardware and APIs are very different, so you probably need to rewrite a big chunk of the rendering code.
- The artwork was designed for SD resolutions and PS2 triangle budgets, so much of it may need to be redone for higher resolutions and triangle budgets.
- Everyone who already owns the game will be unlikely to shell out $20 for an update that doesn't add anything but a little eye-candy, thus cutting your market by a huge amount.

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Original post by swiftcoder
- The rendering hardware and APIs are very different, so you probably need to rewrite a big chunk of the rendering code.
- The artwork was designed for SD resolutions and PS2 triangle budgets, so much of it may need to be redone for higher resolutions and triangle budgets.


Ok, that makes sense.

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Original post by swiftcoder
- Everyone who already owns the game will be unlikely to shell out $20 for an update that doesn't add anything but a little eye-candy, thus cutting your market by a huge amount.


Those that own it would not be the target. The target would be new PS3 owners that never had a chance to play it and won't get a chance since their PS3 won't do PS2.

Let me expand a little on the idea. What I was thinking was that maybe a couple of veteran developers get the toolchain set up and get a good workflow layout. Then hire less experienced developers and artists to "port" the game.

The goals would be:

o get a popular last-gen game onto the current gen quickly.
o low price to increase palatibility
o leverage some IP i.e. squeeze some more money out of the IP
o give some experience to those less experienced in game prod.
on a lower profile game
o maybe take some pressure off of the team creating the sequel
o possibly create a mid-market that would effectively obsolete
the previous gen game and provide some revenue for the current.

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Original post by PokerFlat
Was playing Shadow of the Colossus recently and thought that it's a shame that it's a PS2 game.

What I began considering was "Why not freshen this game and bring it to the PS3?"

So what prevents this from happening? I'm not talking about a successor I'm talking about taking this game's source material, refactoring some, rewriting some, re-rendering some, etc. and making a release for the PS3.

Is it the case that the developers get burned out on the same title and the stress and strain to get it released that it just makes them want to wash their hands of the entire project?

Not quite sure what you're suggesting/asking.
Are you asking why the publisher of the game doesn't port the game to the newer hardware?
Or are you saying you want to make this newer version?

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Original post by PokerFlat
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Original post by swiftcoder
- Everyone who already owns the game will be unlikely to shell out $20 for an update that doesn't add anything but a little eye-candy, thus cutting your market by a huge amount.
Those that own it would not be the target. The target would be new PS3 owners that never had a chance to play it and won't get a chance since their PS3 won't do PS2.
But ask yourself this - what percentage of the gamers that Shadows appeals to already played the PS2 game? It was a fairly popular game after launch, so it probably reached a good 30-40% of its intended audience.

So now you are talking about spending real money to produce a title that: a) only has 60% of the usual audience, b) can only be retailed for 1/3 the price, and c) is a port of an elderly game, which tend to sell less well than new games.

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Original post by PokerFlat
Those that own it would not be the target. The target would be new PS3 owners that never had a chance to play it and won't get a chance since their PS3 won't do PS2.
I presume you are aware that all early model PS3s *can* play PS2 games, and Shadows of the Colossus plays fine on these machines, including upscaling to 1080p.

In addition, it is widely rumoured that Team Ico is currently working on a sequel, this time for the PS3.

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Original post by swiftcoder
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Original post by PokerFlat
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Original post by swiftcoder
- Everyone who already owns the game will be unlikely to shell out $20 for an update that doesn't add anything but a little eye-candy, thus cutting your market by a huge amount.
Those that own it would not be the target. The target would be new PS3 owners that never had a chance to play it and won't get a chance since their PS3 won't do PS2.
But ask yourself this - what percentage of the gamers that Shadows appeals to already played the PS2 game? It was a fairly popular game after launch, so it probably reached a good 30-40% of its intended audience.


All supposition. I have no idea what the penetration was either. I'm suggesting that the game was good enough and there are enough PS3 without PS2 BC that the market's big enough.

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Original post by swiftcoder

So now you are talking about spending real money to produce a title that: a) only has 60% of the usual audience, b) can only be retailed for 1/3 the price, and c) is a port of an elderly game, which tend to sell less well than new games.


Since you said "real money" I'm guessing that you think it will take a lot of money.
i.e. real money == a lot of money
How much money do you think? Since I know enough to know that a dollar amount
would be hard to come up with here. Maybe guess at a percentage of what it would take
to develop a completely new title.


The question, which I posited earlier, is "Can the IP be leveraged?"
Also implied in this whole notion "Is it cost-effective?"

So would the cost to "port" the game to the current gen be too high?

I think the fact that it doesn't happen may answer the question, but maybe not.
I haven't seen this topic discussed before so maybe it's just never been spread out and considered comprehensively enough.



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I think its simply to much work for what its worth re-factoring an old game for a newer platform.

They may aswell make a whole new game because like already stated.
hardware is entirely different.
artwork is design for PS2 poly budget, texture sizes.

however I do think that even though a ps2 game shadow of the colossus is a beautiful game it still looks nice, and the whole idea of the game is amazing, it gives me this feeling of solitude and I feel cold in the world, yet i just love coming back to it.

they are working on a new one anyways on ps3 which will feature better stuffs and be tailor made for the PS3 so for now.... enjoy the PS2 game and just wait for the new one on PS3 which will rock...

don't own a PS3 yet but a new SOTC or ICO would make me get one :)

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The PS2 and PS3 architectures are massively different, so the cost of such a "refresh" wouldn't be that much less than that of developing a new title, yet it would probably have to be sold for a lot less to be attractive to consumers. Also, SOTC, while well received critically, was a commercial flop. All in all, it doesn't make good business sense.

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Original post by PokerFlat:
>The question, which I posited earlier, is "Can the IP be leveraged?"

That question is easily answered, but that's not what you asked originally. Originally you wrote:

>>it's a shame that it's a PS2 game.
>>..."Why not freshen this game and bring it to the PS3?"
>>...what prevents this from happening?

And it wasn't clear (to me, at least), whether you were wondering about the publisher's reasoning, or if you were asking about the feasibility of someone other than the publisher doing it. Once I had clarity on the question, I was prepared to write an answer. (I don't like answering ambiguous questions, since the answer can often miss the target by a wide margin.)

>Also implied in this whole notion "Is it cost-effective?"

That implication was not self-evident in your original question. As another poster has written, the cost is most definitely the major factor, either for the publisher to fund it or for another party to license it and fund it.

>So would the cost to "port" the game to the current gen be too high?

"Too high" depends entirely on the projected sales. It's a matter of balancing the return on investment, the cost vs. the potential profit.

>I think the fact that it doesn't happen may answer the question...

It does imply one, to be sure. (^_^)

>I haven't seen this topic discussed before so maybe it's just never been spread out and considered comprehensively enough.

No, the question hasn't come up a lot before. It's an interesting issue, and I think the other posters' discussions of costs and sales potential have answered it well, in this instance.

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Original post by PokerFlat
Those that own it would not be the target.


If I was an investor/shareholder, ignoring 100% (well actually probably more like 90% since some would dig a remake) of your entire existing market is not something that I'd invest in. The PS2 game is only a couple years old. The people buying PS3s for the most part owned PS2s. If they didn't buy the game (which was critically acclaimed) then, they probably won't buy it now without a serious marketing investment.

Plus, developing for next-gen systems requires a huge investment. It's not as trivial as you make it sound. Do you have any idea how long it would take to remake that world for a next-gen platform? That's a full development cycle for the artists (save for maybe a bit of concepting since it's been done for the first game, but you're not saving anything from a sequel).

I guess the argument I'm making, is that from a business standpoint, a sequel is a much more viable option, as its intended audience INCLUDES the 100% of the people that bought the first game, and adds the new market you're talking about (plus new players would be intrigued and might buy the original).

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Original post by Driv3MeFar
The PS2 and PS3 architectures are massively different, so the cost of such a "refresh" wouldn't be that much less than that of developing a new title, yet it would probably have to be sold for a lot less to be attractive to consumers. Also, SOTC, while well received critically, was a commercial flop. All in all, it doesn't make good business sense.



Time is also money. Earlier I mentioned a mid-market for lack of a better term. What I'm getting at is that the team making the next release won't be done until 2010 from what I've heard. So if it took only a couple years to refactor the PS2 title and work began when PS3 was released then the game would be available now and until the sequel is, released which is possibly still two years away. So you also provide a nice lead into the sequel, which for many probably won't be a sequel as it will be their first time playing.

Actually I'm starting to like this idea more rather than less, even after the trend in this thread that the problem's just not cost-effective.

By the time the sequel's out it will have been a long period of time between the two releases. To me it's good business sense to leverage whataver you can in those duldrums between releases. You keep your old fan base interested (even if they're not buying) and you initiate some new fans. And when the sequel's released you have more fans ready to buy that sequel.


But it all pivots on just how much work is involved. But if Sony considered the effort into their marketing budget it might not seem so far-fetched.


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It was attempted with a game called Chrono Trigger for the SNES console, to upgrade the graphics from low-res 2d into nice 3d. Unfortunately, it was an unofficial attempt, and it got shut down, but they did seem to be making very impressive progress. Just check out the trailer.

http://www.opcoder.com/projects/chrono/

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Original post by shurcool
It was attempted with a game called Chrono Trigger for the SNES console, to upgrade the graphics from low-res 2d into nice 3d. Unfortunately, it was an unofficial attempt, and it got shut down, but they did seem to be making very impressive progress. Just check out the trailer.http://www.opcoder.com/projects/chrono/
That is a right shame, it looks like they were doing a beautiful job!

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Chronicles of riddick: escape from butchers bay is being re-released for the 360 with updated graphics, art and a new chapter of story. Like an expansion + original revamped. I finished the first one on pc and I might get this one aswell because its a great game.

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Though some interesting points have been made (and certainly apply to other games), the real reason this wont happen to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus isn't any of the ones previously mentioned, unless I overlooked it. The real reason these games wont have sequels or revamps on higher gen systems is because they were designed to be at the graphical cutting edge at the time. The reason they produced both games was because they had the knowhow to create games that set the industry's standard for years to come. Now the methods they used to generate the displays you see are either outdated, or commonly used. An update would require a complete rewrite of the entire graphics engine, and it would be far more profitable and wise to simply make a new game with the new graphics. As mentioned earlier, people won't pay a decent ammount of money for a remake that doesn't add much in terms of content. It may appease graphics-slaves, but not the gaming market in general. Furthermore, games are now constantly pushing the edge, and there is no easy way to make a standard setting game anymore.

There's a blog (more of a postmortem) from the creators about the creation of Shadow of the Colossus (graphics, anyway) and it includes a mention of this. I don't remember the name of it, but it's easy to find on google.

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I think that, at this point, the PS2 is still to modern; reach farther back. The way I see it, the best - albeit possibly dangerous - point to "refresh" an IP is at the point of 2D/3D conversion. Look at franchises such as Metroid, Bionic Commando, Prince of Persia, and so forth. They have already jumped the gap in the technological sense, which is really the first step.

After that point, it is more a matter of re-imagining a predefined archetype, than repeating the same content. If you take a game - no matter what that game may be - and break it down into its base elements, what you are left with is a (hopefully) tried and true shell, that is simply waiting to be filled with content; allowing players to re-experience the original game's structure, without having to risk alienating your core audience to the same extent as you would with a direct update.

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Original post by shurcool
It was attempted with a game called Chrono Trigger for the SNES console, to upgrade the graphics from low-res 2d into nice 3d. Unfortunately, it was an unofficial attempt, and it got shut down, but they did seem to be making very impressive progress. Just check out the trailer.

http://www.opcoder.com/projects/chrono/


According to wikipedia the game did get a make-over but it was official. So then my idea's not far-fetched in all cases.

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Original post by RivieraKid
Chronicles of riddick: escape from butchers bay is being re-released for the 360 with updated graphics, art and a new chapter of story. Like an expansion + original revamped. I finished the first one on pc and I might get this one aswell because its a great game.


Cool, a little more support toward the idea.

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Original post by dashurc
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Original post by PokerFlat
Those that own it would not be the target.


If I was an investor/shareholder, ignoring 100% (well actually probably more like 90% since some would dig a remake) of your entire existing market is not something that I'd invest in. The PS2 game is only a couple years old. The people buying PS3s for the most part owned PS2s. If they didn't buy the game (which was critically acclaimed) then, they probably won't buy it now without a serious marketing investment.


Not ignoring, just not targeting. There's a difference. I disagree that people buying PS3 now also owned PS2. And I think that people that didn't try it out but knew about it would be tempted to try it out as the game has had good word-of-mouth.

Quote:
Original post by dashurc
Plus, developing for next-gen systems requires a huge investment. It's not as trivial as you make it sound. Do you have any idea how long it would take to remake that world for a next-gen platform? That's a full development cycle for the artists (save for maybe a bit of concepting since it's been done for the first game, but you're not saving anything from a sequel).



Not sure where I made it sound like development for multi-core consoles is trivial. I think everyone knows it's not trivial. It's kicking people's butts.

The point that the "concepting" (that a real word?) is already done is part of my argument for doing this. You can farm this out to lower paid workers in Korea or Vietnam, etc.
So you are saving.

Quote:
Original post by dashurc
I guess the argument I'm making, is that from a business standpoint, a sequel is a much more viable option, as its intended audience INCLUDES the 100% of the people that bought the first game, and adds the new market you're talking about (plus new players would be intrigued and might buy the original).


All good points, except for the last one, I'll get to that but first....
I agree that a sequel is preferred over this mid-market release, or makeover. But I thought that coming into this. It's implied really.

The last point, that about buying the original, would likely mean they'd buy a used copy
and Sony don't care about the used market since they get no money so that's not a selling point of this idea anyway.

I still like the idea, it may just need more thought and consideration for it to start happening. There's a potential for a mid-market industry I think. If you had PS2 experience and PS3 experience and solve some of the hard problems up front you may be able to recoup that time spent on the hard problems by applying it to converting other titles.
Once you get a pipeline then you need less highly skilled people on the projects.

Maybe I am trivializing it but hard work doesn't scare everyone away from money.

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I would say publishers only give money for what they expect to sell well.
The thing with remakes is, that your chance to target completely new audiences is relatively low compared to a whole new game or franchise.

Over at the worldofrisen site the team members of piranha bytes answer peoples questions on the forums. When asked whether they were going to make a gothic 1 remake they stated that this is not likely to happen. The reasons mainly being that they have another project to work on and that such a remake was not likely to be commercially viable.

Think about it. Whom are you going to reach with such a game? First and foremost the die-hard fans of the original, and maybe some players who for some reason didn't play the original, but would enjoy this kind of game anyways.

The ones who didn't like it back when it first came out are not going to buy it now either. And even some fans of the original might think that it's not worth the full price of a new game, since it is not essentially going to add anything new. Games are not exactly cheap after all.

So the bottomline is IMO, that remakes do not promise enough commercial succes to get the funding needed to produce them.
I might as well be wrong and maybe someone knows of a successful remke, that was done by a professional team with funding from a publishers (as opposed to a hobbyist project.)
I doubt that it happened, but in case it did, I would be interested in knowing about it :)

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Original post by buckED
I would say publishers only give money for what they expect to sell well.
The thing with remakes is, that your chance to target completely new audiences is relatively low compared to a whole new game or franchise.

Over at the worldofrisen site the team members of piranha bytes answer peoples questions on the forums. When asked whether they were going to make a gothic 1 remake they stated that this is not likely to happen. The reasons mainly being that they have another project to work on and that such a remake was not likely to be commercially viable.

Think about it. Whom are you going to reach with such a game? First and foremost the die-hard fans of the original, and maybe some players who for some reason didn't play the original, but would enjoy this kind of game anyways.

The ones who didn't like it back when it first came out are not going to buy it now either. And even some fans of the original might think that it's not worth the full price of a new game, since it is not essentially going to add anything new. Games are not exactly cheap after all.

So the bottomline is IMO, that remakes do not promise enough commercial succes to get the funding needed to produce them.
I might as well be wrong and maybe someone knows of a successful remke, that was done by a professional team with funding from a publishers (as opposed to a hobbyist project.)
I doubt that it happened, but in case it did, I would be interested in knowing about it :)


Couple of things. I'm not suggesting that the team doing the sequel work on a remake.
Read this thread to understand what I'm getting at. From your reply I think you may have not read this whole thread. It's not that long is it? (^:

Commercial remakes were mentioned in this thread, they've been done.

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Oh, by the way, apparently I was wrong. Team Ico is developing a new game, though very little information has been released about it. Ico 3: The Queen is a hoax, and that's most of what google returns, but many reliable gaming databases (IGN and Gametrailers each have mention) have announced that, at the Tokyo Gameshow, Team Ico announced their new game.

Just being made by them made it one of the most anticipated games previewed at TGS, and the most anticipated according to Gametrailers.

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Original post by PokerFlat
Quote:
Original post by buckED
I would say publishers only give money for what they expect to sell well.
The thing with remakes is, that your chance to target completely new audiences is relatively low compared to a whole new game or franchise.

Over at the worldofrisen site the team members of piranha bytes answer peoples questions on the forums. When asked whether they were going to make a gothic 1 remake they stated that this is not likely to happen. The reasons mainly being that they have another project to work on and that such a remake was not likely to be commercially viable.

Think about it. Whom are you going to reach with such a game? First and foremost the die-hard fans of the original, and maybe some players who for some reason didn't play the original, but would enjoy this kind of game anyways.

The ones who didn't like it back when it first came out are not going to buy it now either. And even some fans of the original might think that it's not worth the full price of a new game, since it is not essentially going to add anything new. Games are not exactly cheap after all.

So the bottomline is IMO, that remakes do not promise enough commercial succes to get the funding needed to produce them.
I might as well be wrong and maybe someone knows of a successful remke, that was done by a professional team with funding from a publishers (as opposed to a hobbyist project.)
I doubt that it happened, but in case it did, I would be interested in knowing about it :)


Couple of things. I'm not suggesting that the team doing the sequel work on a remake.
Read this thread to understand what I'm getting at. From your reply I think you may have not read this whole thread. It's not that long is it? (^:

Commercial remakes were mentioned in this thread, they've been done.


Actually I did read the thread. I must have overseen the part about commercial remakes however.
If I sounded in any way ignorant, I wish to apologise.

Maybe it's just me focusing too much on PC games, whereas you are specifically talking about PS2->PS3.
Maybe if it was considered worth it a publisher would even step in for that.
But I cannot imagine it happening for PC games, since the old versions will still work with the latest machine. So the only improvement would be on a technical level. Changing game mechanics or stroy elements would make it another game after all.

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