Red Dead Redemption for PS4 proves Rockstar still doesn’t know how to remaster a game

By Mason Berlinka

Updated Aug 16, 2023 at 05:54 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Games are always coming back to our screens in a variety of new ways. From big budget remasters to ports of old classics, gamers love to relive the glory days. One game rumoured to be making a return was Rockstar Games’ iconic cowboy adventure Red Dead Redemption, with the internet abuzz with suspicions that a big budget remaster was on the horizon.

Unfortunately, fans were left disappointed as the announcement trailer that dropped on 7 August 2023, revealed that all we’d be getting is a direct port of the original to PS4 and Nintendo Switch, complete with last generation graphics, and uncanny lighting. No big frills overhaul to the likes of Capcom’s hugely successful Resident Evil remakes to be found here.

This release came as a huge let down to those who had been clamouring for a reimagining of the original a little closer to the insane fidelity we saw in 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2—a sequel that blew audiences away with its revolutionary graphics, and immersive gameplay feel. PC gamers were also downtrodden, having hoped they’d get a chance to play this classic.

To top it off, Rockstar is asking for $50 dollars for the port of the RDR game that came out 13 years ago, with zero graphical upgrades. Fans wasted no time ripping the AAA studio to shreds in the YouTube comments, with one user sharing “You have to give credit to Rockstar. They managed to not even reach my lowest expectations.” The company has the budget, and the manpower but unfortunately it seems like Rockstar has no desire to bring one of its most esteemed games back to life.

This isn’t the first time that Rockstar Games has let down fans with the remastering of its older titles. Remember the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy–Definitive Edition collection that came out in 2021? Again amid rumours that Rockstar were planning to remaster classic GTA titles, all fans got was a port of the originals, with an updated lighting engine, and seriously dodgy AI upscaled textures.

Rather than work on a genuine recreation of the older games, complete with modern gameplay overhauls, Rockstar opted for the cheapest option available to it. A glorified port with little added on top. The worst part? The original versions of these games were previously available on video game marketplaces but were delisted once the “definitive” editions were announced, forcing players to fork out for the pitiful remaster, rather than just buying the original.

The games industry has long messed up with remasters and ports—Rockstar Games aren’t the only offender in this tradition. But what about some video games that got the remake goodness they deserved? We can name a few.

The Resident Evil games are examples of remasters done right

Capcom has been showing developers just how you remaster an old game, ever since it blew audiences away with the release of the updated Resident Evil 2 back in 2019. The original version of the game came out in 1998, and Capcom spared no expense bringing the game completely to life from the ground up. Watch the comparison for yourself:

The developer’s formula for updating its older titles has proven so successful that it’s taken to updating the rest of the Resident Evil franchise for the modern gamer. The innovative and exciting updates have inspired numerous developers to follow suit, like with last year’s reimagining of the 2008 horror classic Dead Space from Electronic Arts.

It’s a real shame that Rockstar haven’t seen to have gotten the memo on how to do good remasters yet, but if you’re desperate to play the first RDR game in its original form, the port will arrive August 17 for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

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