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HD and remaster releases are bittersweet

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Recently developer Naughty Dog confirmed the impending PS4 release of a remastered version of their PlayStation 3 title The Last of Us. This began to beg the question of necessity and intelligence behind the decision. The Last of Us was out long enough before the release of the PS4 that most who wished to play the title did, a good deal of them adopters of the PS4. The remaster release begins to appear as nothing more than a cash grab, with a little less compression, and incorporation of all DLC released, it is an item that many users most likely have already poured money into to get the full experience on the previous generation of consoles. The lighter side is hoping that it is an effort to give early adopters who missed the game to finally play on the non-backwards compatible PS4.

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Square Enix has been a front runner in the HD and upgraded graphics re-releases. Most recently they released Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD which unlike the remastering of The Last of Us is on a home console and handheld. It also included content that was not readily available in all territories, having the expanded gameplay of the international releases now available in the US. Released last year was the compilation of the first section of Kingdom Hearts with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix that featured cutscenes from a handheld only title, an HD upgrade from another and due to other circumstances involving the data from the original release of Kingdom Hearts being almost completely unavailable, the game was built from the ground up for HD status almost completely. These efforts show that while the HD releases are good for earnings, there is enough to help justify the reasoning for them to have been made.

Ubisoft released their Vita game Assassin's Creed Liberation as and HD downloadable title for home consoles in a move to not only increase the audience but as an attempt to increase profit margins and marketing for future Assassin's Creed titles, specifically at the time of, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. This sort of HD release is becoming more common, as publishers reach a point where they feel they have made as much profit as they can in a handheld market, they attempt the jump to digital title to increase not only profit, but playership. This is a dangerous game for not only the developers but the consumers. If a better version can be expected to release at a future date, the consumer begins to wonder as to why they would bother with purchasing the handheld title, which can cause the developer to start skipping the handheld portion of this release cycle in the first place. Which may be better for the industry.

Sometimes the fans clamor for an HD release, and sometimes the publishers and developers deliver. These releases are the true sweet reward for the players who support the industry. Konami heard the call and answered with their release of the Zone of the Enders HD Collection. Here was a release that met the desire of veteran players of the series to play on their newer consoles and opened up the chance of experience to newer players. In the end HD and remastered releases will fall on both sides of the line for consumers and developers. The chances of them going away or out of style are slim-to-none.

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