Ah, my first day with PlayStation 4 – the agonising wait for the DHL van, the behind-the-telly swearing during setup... and then, I fire up my new console, only to be greeted by an empty games library. Thank God for that Knack pack-in.
If I’d bought myself a new PC, the situation would have been very different. The purchase of a new gaming rig isn’t just an opportunity to play new games – it’s also a chance to revisit your vast library of purchased titles and give that shiny new graphics card a workout by cranking up every visual preset you can find. Buying a new PC setup injects new life into your games library, rather than wiping it out entirely.
Exactly why loyal PlayStation owners shouldn’t be afforded the same treatment is something of a mystery to me. If I’ve purchased Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls for PS3, why should I have to fork out so much money to run them on my PlayStation 4? Unfortunately, it’s a situation that shows no signs of changing any time soon.
If publishers really want to repackage their ageing wares in the hopes of a second sale, it’s about time they started offering something beyond the basic HD spit-and-polish. After all, anyone purchasing a new PC is already able to boot up their older games at higher resolutions, and they don’t have to pay a penny for the privilege. Instead, console remasters should aim to bring something new to the table: bonus features, development commentaries and documentaries... perhaps even playable pre-release prototypes that provide fans with a reason to get excited over a re-release.
And, in fairness, some companies are beginning to realise this. The recent Bioshock: The Collection, for example, offers not only the trilogy of games alongside all accompanying DLC, but also a digital ‘museum’ of canned content and a suite of developer commentaries. Instead of a hasty repackaging, it offers an attempt to provide fans with a window into the games’ creation. And ultimately, that does more than any swanky visual touch-up to get me excited about a return to Rapture.
This article originally appeared in Official PlayStation Magazine. For more great PlayStation coverage, you can subscribe here.