Even though this recent article discusses whether video games should be remade at all, here is a list of 5 unique titles that would be very interesting to revisit in a shiny modern jacket.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Original PC Release Date: May 1, 2002
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Official Synopsis: An epic, open-ended single-player RPG, Morrowind allows you to create and play any kind of character imaginable. You can choose to follow the main storyline and find the source of the evil blight that plagues the land, or set off on your own to explore strange locations and develop your character based on their actions throughout the game.
My son recently started playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and I still get nostalgic when I watch The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s opening cinematic with that epic theme song and Sir Patrick Stewart narrating as Emperor Uriel Septim VII. However, I will never forget when I first set foot in the alien land of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I traveled across Vvardenfell on giant creatures with spindly long legs and visited Elves in mushroom houses.
All entries in the Elder Scrolls series have been well received by critics and players alike and the earlier titles can each be considered worthy of a complete remake. Even though Vvardenfell has been reimagined inside The Elder Scrolls Online, many still seek that unique single-player experience that Bethesda is famous for. This is one of the reasons why a form of re-master of this title is currently being undertaken by openmw.org.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption
Original PC Release Date: June 7, 2000
Official Synopsis: Before your fall, you led a crusade against evil. Now you’ve become one of the undead creatures you once battled – a Vampire. Inhabiting the World of Darkness, you must face a series of brutal confrontations with your nemesis Vukodlak, a powerful vampire lord. Your unholy showdown begins in medieval Europe and rages on into the modern-day, as you track a soulless enemy in an eternal struggle to destroy him. For this is the only hope of vengeance for your tortured immortality.
Even though this first entry in the Vampire: The Masquerade videogame series garnered mixed reviews from critics, I personally found it to be an excellent game for its time. The graphics made it very immersive and the storyline, starting in the middle ages and ending in “modern” times reminded me of the epic 1994 movie “Interview with the Vampire”.
As a part of the World of Darkness series, the game’s story is centered around the main character; Christof Romuald, and his journey as a vampire. The game is an RPG played from a third-person perspective with multiple controllable allies, reminiscent of future titles like Dragon Age. With games like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt already drawing a loyal fanbase and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 hopefully seeing the light of day in the near future, perhaps it is high time for a full remake of the game that started the franchise.
Populous: The Beginning
Original PC Release Date: November 30, 1998
Publisher: Bullfrog Productions
Available on: Gog.com
Official Synopsis: Shaman, the path is laid before you. Your destiny is to become a god! But it will not be easy. Not for you, and not for your followers. To become a deity, you must conquer all 25 planets of the system and defeat every other tribe and their shamans. The ultimate struggle will be a difficult one, as you build mystical cities, unleash devastating spells, harness volcanoes, and tornadoes, and shape the face of the planet at your will. Remember, your apotheosis awaits!
I vividly remember Populous: The Beginning. It was the first game I played by legendary game maker; Peter Molyneux, who went on to make Black&White, Fable, and many more. An RTS in a full 3D world with god powers included might not seem that impressive nowadays but back then I thoroughly enjoyed unleashing havoc on enemy villages with spells like earthquake and volcano!!
Even though there is a made-for-mobile game called Godus (from Peter Molyneux’s latest studio; 22Cans) that uses many of the core principles of Populous: The Beginning, a full remake of the original would certainly be a lot of fun. Mobile versions of classics like Dungeon Keeper have already shown us that the freemium model for these games takes most of the nostalgic fun out of them.
The Wheel Of Time
Original PC Release Date: November 15, 1999
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available on: GoG.com
Official Synopsis: For thousands of years the Dark One has been trapped, but now the four seals keeping him imprisoned have been lost. Four organizations of opposing beliefs and principles were searching for these seals. The Aes Sedai sisterhood managed to recover three, but one of them was stolen, allegedly by members of a sect within their organization that worshipped the Dark One. Elayna Sedai, Keeper of the Chronicles of the White Tower, has been promoted to the leader of Aes Sedai and must retrieve the lost seal at all costs.
I got hooked on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books in my teens. To actually be able to play a video game set in that world was wish fulfillment plain and simple. The game had its flaws but I didn’t really care because I could channel the One Power using powerful ter’angreal and cast spells, just like in the books.
The game was overall well-received back in the day and considering the renewed interest in the franchise thanks to the Amazon TV series of the same name, perhaps a remake would be a worthwhile undertaking. The world could be adapted to fit the look and style of the TV show and considering the original was built in Unreal Engine 1, imagine the stunning beauty that can be achieved with Unreal Engine 5.
Original PC Release Date: November 16, 2000
Official Synopsis: The Holy War is over. The demons of Gologotha have been banished, yet the cost has been terribly high. The Creator, god of the Fyllid, has been defeated and the faith of the people has begun to wane. Petty squabbles among the five remaining gods has caused the land to split into five mystical territories – each at war with one another. Into this divided land steps a wizard, a man haunted by his past, whose choices will shape the future.
What I remember most about this game was how unique it was. I played as a wizard that collected the souls of fallen enemies and used them to raise the weirdest minions to defend my altar and attack those of other gods. I had an arsenal of some powerful spells depending on the god I chose. For example, the Earth god; James would grant the power to make the ground collapse, swallowing enemies and allies alike. I spent a lot more time on this game than I ever thought I would and enjoyed it a lot.
The game got some pretty good reviews when it was released and was in particular recognized for its unique spin on the RTS genre. A complete remake of this title would definitely bring a breath of fresh air into a market where the logic of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” spits out sequel after sequel of what are more or less the same games.
Is it likely that any of the above-mentioned titles will ever be remade? Probably, not. Then what is it exactly about a game that makes it eligible for this costly process? Many fan remakes have been shut down by patent holders, who then proceeded to do nothing new with their valuable IP. Thankfully, sites like GoG.com and Steam have made many of these old titles compatible with modern hardware. We can certainly relive the nostalgia but they will never look and feel as good as we remember them.