How do you recreate a classic? It’s a challenge that plenty of developers are taking on these days. Understanding the context of the original is key in finding the answer, as it usually illuminates the game’s achievement. Doom brought gore and gunfights to players who had been hanging out with Mario. Square Enix has created magical worlds through Final Fantasy many times, with new stories and better graphics each time, but the essence of the series is in far more than this.
In reimagining past glories, developers know they need to do more than give them a new coat of paint. Instead, they are trying to recapture the feeling these games evoke. The Resident Evil 2 remake fills you with unease as you slowly wander through Capcom’s recreation of Racoon City’s police station. Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII remake is on the horizon, too, and in ending its first episode with Midgar, may hope to conjure the same wanderlust that leaving the city for the first time did.
In the meantime, we’ll have Infinity Ward’s reimagining of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. As ever, CoD is a war on two fronts: we’ve seen the single-player campaign demo, and its bold decision to explore the darker, grittier side of modern conflict. Now it’s time to look at the multiplayer, which has always had a more playful, irreverent tone. We enjoyed what we played, but were left with questions for design director Jack O’Hara and PC production manager Paul Halie at the recent reveal event.