Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Friday. Somethin' bout remastering Duck Tales.

at 4:39 PM
coding- coding- coding-four hours to go-uh-oh / i wanna be sedated

with a mere single only one line of dialogue, i have conveyed my entire mindset of this right now. i am coding. i want to go to bed (in whatever medicated manner available), i am listening to the Ramones and i don't wanna write a blog post. but I already skipped a day this week and I can't get into the bad habit of doing that. My brain will fall off and go live in a cave.

Did anyone ever do a Phantom Menace-themed parody called "I Wanna Be Sebulba"? Seems like it'd be a struggle to come up with rhymes. That never stopped Ramones lead singer Raymond Jenkins, so why should it stop us. Hrm, the first one my brain came up with is "vulva". I'm moving on before this gets any uglier.

In all the Mott the Hoopla about a bunch of games that aren't going to come out for like a million years, let us not forget that there are still dreams to be had in this generation, games that don't require you to throw $400 into the propeller of an approaching helicopter. Although right now the only ones I can think of are Deadpool and DuckTales. The double Ds, as they say. They're from decent developers (High Moon Studios and WayForward, respectively), though I don't know that either is going to be particularly great. Luckily, DuckTales gives me a chance to reiterate a point I've already made on this blog and would be remiss not repeat. Since the main thing to do around here is just restate the same couple ideas in different ways, this is an opportunity I'm not excited to have missed. Doesn't matter, I'll prob'ly get hit by a car anyway.

DuckTales 2013 is one of these games I don't even know how to label. It has the exact same stages and gameplay as the original NES game, with new graphics and music. The assets are new, but it's not really conceptually different from all the HD collections and ports we got this gen (NiGHTS, Wind Waker HD, Prince of Persia HD). Is it a remake? reboot? remix? re-release? sequel? sidequel? froopquel? We get into this weird grey area with games where it's hard exactly to re-purpose labels. The knowledge that this DuckTales will be built entirely from the ground up suggests remake, in a completely literal sense. It's a remake in the same sense a cover song is a remake of the original, but not in the same sense a film or comic remake takes the same basic elements (character/story/tone, depending on which is most key to the original) and puts them into an entirely new presentation. Since the meat of a game is usually the interactivity, we'd want to see that element presented differently. And since presentation in a game goes beyond audio and visual to design, architecture, and mechanics, we'd expect those things to be fresh. To super dumb down the discussion so I can just get this over with, DmC is a remake. Yes, yes, I know it's been firmly classified as a "reboot", but the only different between 'boots and 'makes is that the implication of a 'boot is the impending relaunch of a franchise and sequels of its own. DmC is a remake because it attempts to take the defining elements of Devil May Cry, namely snarky tongue-and-cheek swordsgunman-on-demon action revolving around stylized combos, and put them into new levels, with new enemies, a new visual style, and some dumbass new story.

I think Capcom is calling DuckTales a woo woo "remaster", which actually might be my favorite term so far. And that's not sarcastic. If we're looking to other media for the closest cousin of this approach, I think an album remaster is the closest comparison. For anyone who doesn't know, a "remaster" is when an engineer takes the original mix of a song and re-compresses and equalizes it again to try to make everything sound better. So Steve Albini might turn down the lazer sound-effect on the guitar or make the drums sound less like they're falling down a staircase, but nothing is re-recorded. The basic content stays the same - there's no new writing or recording. That to me exactly describes DuckTales. I can't say I've ever cared about remasters. I certainly get the point, and when presented with the choice will usually opt for the remaster, but it's not very exciting. And since it'd take more torture than a grape-machine to get me to declare current graphics better than 8-bit art, neither is DuckTales.

Man, that 3D looks genuinely bad. I hope the sprites don't clash so hard in the finished product.

1 comment:

  1. From what little I've seen, I think the sprite/3D clash has a Paper Mario feel to it.