Resident Evil 4 HD Comparison Screenshots Revealed

The HD fan remaster of Resident Evil 4 is making great strides, if the recent photo comparisons of the game’s new textures and models are anything to go by. The Resident Evil 4 HD Project – the lovechild of two friends calling themselves “Cris” and “Albert” (monikers adopted in honour of messrs Redfield and Wesker, perhaps?) for the last two years – started life as a high-res texture mod, but has evolved to include 3D models.

While Cris has no previous experience with such an undertaking, Albert has worked on RE4 PC texture packs dating back to 2007. While many such fan polishes have been released over the last decade, what marks the Resident Evil 4 HD Project as different, according to the official site, is:

  • Correcting texture mapping and 3D modeling issues. Texture mapping and 3D modeling errors that weren’t noticeable in the original game being played on a CRT television become more apparent when playing in HD resolutions. Examples include objects floating above the surface they should rest on, improperly placed shadow layers, seams appearing where textures are supposed to flow continuously. We are correct these issues throughout the game.
  • Enhancing flat objects to true 3D models. Due to limitations of the original hardware, objects like lamps, candle-holders, doors, decorative emblems, etc. were originally created as flat objects. In many instances we are able to revise these objects to be true 3D models, observable from any angle.
  • Remaining committed to the original visuals. Our intent throughout the project is to remain true to the original visuals and artistic intent. The best kind of feedback we receive is when people say that the game looks like what they *imagined* it to look like when they first played it 10 years ago. While we are not perfect, we continually refer back to the original texture assets to ensure we do not deviate in a significant manner.

Albert, a Spaniard, even travelled across Spain and Wales to take new high-res photographs of the real-world texture samples used by the original programming team. The project even has the blessing of Capcom, which has pinned a link to the site to the game’s page on the Steam forum.

Three New Resident Evil Remasters Coming to Consoles

The early Resident Evil games are some of the best survival horror experiences ever devised due to the tense gameplay, and atmospheric setting. Unfortunately, the franchise has struggled in recent years to recreate this winning formula and received a very mixed reception. This is especially the case with Resident Evil 5 and 6 which felt uninspired. On the other hand, the Resident Evil: Revelations spin-offs are underrated and evoke a similar feel to the older titles. If you’re looking for a classical horror experience, then they are well worth a look!

In the modern era, there’s a whole host of horror games to choose from including Slender: The Arrival, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This means independent studios are the ones providing a terrifying experience, which properly honours the original PlayStation Resident Evil games. Honestly, Resident Evil 5 and 6 didn’t evoke that scare factor for me, but this is all down to an individual’s personality. The current console generation is sorely lacking in new IPs, and relying far too much on HD remasters. It makes sense for publishers to release slightly improved versions of existing games, because it makes them money without huge investments. However, it’s really quite feeble to see so many remasters, and I expected a lot more from this console generation.

According to a press release, Capcom will be re-releasing Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6 on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4:

“Resident 4, 5, and 6 will all be available digitally for MSRP $19.99 / €19.99 / £15.99 each starting with Resident Evil 6 on March 29, Resident Evil 5 in summer 2016 and Resident Evil 4 in fall 2016. Physical disc versions will also be available in the Americas.”

Console players prefer to own physical media and have a huge collection proudly displayed on a shelf. It seems bizarre to restrict the retail editions to the Amercias, because this is bound to alienate people who dislike digital distribution.

Do you think the current console generation has too many HD remasters?

Day of The Tentacle Remastered Trailer Released

Day of the Tentacle is a quirky point-and-click adventure game developed by LucasArts and the successor to the 1987 cult classic Manic Mansion. Created in 1993, Day of the Tentacle is a mind-bending, time travel, cartoon puzzle adventure game which follows the events of three unlikely friends working together to prevent an evil mutated purple tentacle from taking over the world! Day of the Tentacle is one of my favourite adventure games of all time and I’m overjoyed to see a remaster being made. So what does this latest version entail? According to Double Fine Adventures:

“Now, over twenty years later, Day of the Tentacle is back in a remastered edition that features all new hand-drawn, high resolution artwork, with remastered audio, music and sound effects (which the original 90s marketing blurb described as ‘zany!’)”

“Players are able to switch back and forth between classic and remastered modes, and mix and match audio, graphics and user interface to their heart’s desire. We’ve also included a concept art browser, and recorded a commentary track with the game’s original creators Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, Larry Ahern, Peter Chan, Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian.”

For those of you interested in this particular remake, it’s well worth checking out the trailer below:

The special edition remaster is expected to release in March 2016 on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows, OS X and Linux PCs.

Blizzard Job Post Suggests Classic Games Will Receive HD Remasters

Blizzard’s back catalogue contains a number of astonishing titles including Diablo II, Starcraft and Warcraft III. Sadly, many of these games struggle to run on modern operating systems and lack native support for high resolutions. As a result, it seems a cogent tactic to re-release these iconic titles with upgraded graphics and a more streamlined user-interface. According to a job post which you can find here, it appears Blizzard is preparing to remaster a number of old classics. The job listing reads:

“Compelling stories. Intense multiplayer. Endless replayability. Qualities that made StarCraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II the titans of their day. Evolving operating systems, hardware, and online services have made them more difficult to be experienced by their loyal followers or reaching a new generation.

We’re restoring them to glory, and we need your engineering talents, your passion, and your ability to get tough jobs done.

So if you like wearing many hats, know small teams are the most effective, and look forward to challenges that will create millions of new adventures for our players: we would love to hear from you.

Make gameplay first again on modern operating systems.
Create conditions for experiences that look as good as they play.
Own implementation and curation of features new and old.
Combat hacking to improve multiplayer.
Diagnose and fix all the things: crashes, deadlocks, overflows, heap corruptions, etc.”

This is a very exciting prospect although I’m guessing the games will remain exclusive to Blizzard’s store. Some of my earliest memories which made the PC platform so enticing revolved around Diablo II. Over the years I’ve tried to get to grips with Starcraft but failed miserably. Overall, I think this a sensible decision by Blizzard which allows a new audience to experience what makes their previous works so special.

What is your favourite Blizzard game of all time?

SEGA Could Re-Release Shenmue I And II

SEGA has been sorely neglecting the Shenmue franchise for over a decade despite the passionate pleas of its fanbase. One could argue it was down the soaring costs of Shenmue and financial risk. However, the series desperately deserved a final chapter to finish the story and remaster of the original classics. The term genius can be applied too loosely in modern society, but Yu Suzuki is a genius of game design.

Thankfully, the advent of crowdfunding helped Suzuki find a platform to produce Shenmue 3 and ask fans for help with the development costs. Initially, the project was a resounding success but the rate of financial payment reduced quite rapidly. This caused some concerns as critics believed the raised amount wouldn’t cover the costs to produce an authentic Shenmue experience.

Whatever the case, it seems Shenmue 3 has multiple sources of revenue and it’s finally happening after all these years! Up to this point, SEGA has remained fairly distant but it seems like they are more open to revisiting the series and possibly releasing a HD remaster. SEGA Europe’s marketing director Jon Rooke told Marketing Week:

“Yes, we want to innovate and back smarthphones and virtual reality but our key purpose is to go back to what the brand used to stand for,” 

“I think the buzz around Shenmue 3 shows that people love our legacy,”

“Over the next few years, we want to use engaging content and marketing to remind the public why they fell in love with Sega in the first place.”

Would you buy Shenmue I and II if a remaster came to PC?

Don’t Expect Any HD Remasters From EA Anytime Soon

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4’s limited game library has resulted in a wealth of remastered titles to bridge the gap while exclusives are being developed. It also seems like a cogent strategy to produce games on a budget and offset the profits to make expensive new triple-A titles. However, in an interview with IGN, EA CEO Peter Moore said:

“Remakes, because of who we are, and this broad portfolio of intellectual property…you add all that together, I don’t know where we find the time to do remakes, […] We’re a company that just likes to push forward.”

“For a lot of companies, remakes are a way to drive revenue. It’s sub-cost, it’s an IP that’s there, you can remaster, and that’s great. We don’t do that here. I don’t think that’s ever been in our culture.”

While some people would love to see a remake of classic EA titles like Mass Effect, I understand his point-of-view. Remakes can provide an improved experience, but it’s still the same core game as before. Additionally, as a PC gamer, the idea of paying for a resolution boost and slight texture enhancements seems extremely poor value-for-money. I rather major publishers work towards new and exciting IPs instead of relying on older games.

Peter Moore also weighed in on the issue of backwards compatibility and said:

“In the old days, backward compatibility was to convince your mom to buy the new console — not that you were ever going to use it, […] Once you got it? Those things went in the drawer, or on eBay.”

This line of thinking does have some credence, but I believe consumers are more driven to purchase a new console if they know their existing library can utilized. If a console doesn’t contain backwards compatibility, it psychologically makes the purchaser feel they have to spend more on the latest games to be thoroughly entertained.

What do you think of HD remakes?

Turok and Turok 2 Set For PC Remastering

Classic first-person shooters Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil are set for a spit and polish before a PC re-release, thanks to the new rights owner of the series. Night Drive Studios, established in 2013 by Stephen Kick, has a habit of picking up the rights to classic games and cleaning them up for new systems – as it did two years ago with spiritual predecessor to BioShock, System Shock 2 – and the developer has been quick to snap up Turok and Turok 2, both of which ripe for updates.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil will be available through Steam, the Humble Bundle store, GOG, GamersGate, Greenman Gaming, and the Night Dive Studios website.

Kick, who is CEO as well as founder of Night Drive Studios, said:

“When Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was first released it was nothing short of revolutionary. To that point, no game had ever offered the combination of graphics and an open world environment that Turok featured. We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring this great franchise back to life and to be able to share these great titles with today’s gaming audience.”

We are still awaiting official release dates for both games.

Thank you WCCF Tech for providing us with this information.

Final Fantasy XII Remake Teased at Distant Worlds Concert

Final Fantasy XII, considered the best of the modern Final Fantasy games (by me), is getting an HD remake, according to statements backed up by the game’s composer. During a Q&A session at the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert – an orchestral event that showcases the best of the music from the entire Final Fantasy series – in Pittsburgh, PA, conductor Arnie Roth announced that Final Fantasy XII, the only Final Fantasy game that is not available on modern consoles, is being remade. Hitoshi Sakimoto, who was also in attendance, later confirmed Roth’s statement. Sakimoto was one of three composers for the original game.

Attendees of the concert began furiously tweeting the news as it happened:

But, as the Twitter account for fansite Final Fantasy Network points out:

It could be that the news is half-true: non-tech savvy musicians could instead be referring to an HD remaster of FFXII, much like the spit-and-polish given to Final Fantasy X recently.

Final Fantasy Network later tweeted a video of the announcement by Roth, which at least adds an element of legitimacy to the rumour:

It seems likely that something is happening with Final Fantasy XII. But is it a remake or a remaster? Which would you prefer?

Image courtesy of Final Fantasy Network.

BioShock Recreated in CryEngine 3 Looks Stunning

A talented 3D artist known by the pseudonym Game time has recreated the opening to Irrational Games’ FPS classic BioShock in Crytek’s CryEngine 3.

BioShock, first released in 2007 for PC and Xbox 360, later appearing on PlayStation 3, OS X, and iOS, was built upon a modified version of the Unreal Engine 2.5. The CryEngine, used to develop games such as State of Decay, Crysis 2 and 3, and the forthcoming Star Citizen, offers Game time’s BioShock recreation a significant graphical upgrade.

On the project’s Art Station page, Game time said “I loved working on this project, because it forced me to push myself further, having to learn Zbrush for the sculptures and becoming more involved with CryEngine’s Trackview, Flowgraph and audio systems. I would like to further push this scene in the future by involving the player into the animations and extend the scene to Rapture itself.”

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee New ‘n’ Tasty PC Review

Given that Abe’s Oddysee has been out for many years on the PlayStation 1 and since then, many Sony services as a digital download, albeit in its original PlayStation 1 format, this game isn’t exactly new by many standards. I loved the original game when it first came out and spent many evenings trying to solve its masterful puzzle sections and interacting with its colourful inhabitants. This game is one of the best efforts in the history of platform gaming, but how does it stand up in a modern gaming environment?

Almost nine months after the PlayStation 4 release, the PC version of the game is finally here and, of course, there’s also an Xbox One version on its way very soon. While the words Remastered or HD Edition get thrown around a lot these days, the developers at Just Add Water have gone above and beyond with this edition. This isn’t a simple texture re-buff, with a bit of a lighting tweak – the whole game has been remade from the ground up to take full advantage of modern gaming hardware.

The games iconic landscapes and 2D scenes have been rendered in detailed 3D, giving the game a stunning level of visual depth that simply wasn’t there with the pixel heavy original. This is still every bit a 2D side scrolling game, but the world just looks a lot more alive now than it ever did in the original. The same can be said about the inhabitants, from Abe, to the Sligs, characters models are vastly improved throughout. While the bulk of the animations are still what you would expect, leaving the game playing just like it did in the original, it really is a sight to behold as it flexes its new appreciation for high polygon counts. The game uses the Unity game engine, making majestic use of modern lighting techniques, high-resolution textures, particle effects and a whole lot more. It even supports 4K resolutions; which looks incredible if you’ve got a compatible monitor.

Much like the animation and controls, the sounds of the game have remained faithful to their originals, although cleaned up and improved vs their lower bit rate originals. Abe still has all his usual quirks and voice commands which you can use to interact and influence the other characters of the game world. From the simple “Hello” to the even more iconic *fart* noises; this part of the game is every bit as fun as it used to be.

New graphics, new sound are one thing, but another subtle yet hugely impactful tweak to the game, is that the page flipping has been removed in favor of a player tracking camera. This makes the game world feel much bigger and a lot more fluid than before; it’s a real game changer. It doesn’t take away from the feel of the original game, but it does make it more pleasant to play overall.

If you’ve played the original, this is the same game, from start to finish, it’s every bit the iconic game you once remembered, it just looks and feels many times better. If you haven’t played the original, what you’ll find here is one of the best platform gaming experiences ever created. A simple, yet rather deep story about Abes escape from a factory where they’re turned into slaves and as Abe soon discovers, they’re soon to be turned into food. You’ll make and lose friends along the way, you’ll interact with both friend and foe using the games intuitive action systems and you’ll find some fantastic, albeit not to taxing, puzzles to solve. The one thing that will keep you coming back for more, is trying to complete the game with a 100% success rate, as not all of your attempts to free the other slaves will be successful the first time around. Although I must admit the improved checkpoint system, as well as the ability to save and load whenever you want, can go a long way to improving your success rate.

I wish more developers would go above and beyond with their HD remasters, remakes, re-releases or whichever term you prefer. The visual overhaul here is impressive, but it’s the little attentions to detail that help make this the best Abe game to date, while remaining extremely faithful to the original release. It’s good enough to buy now, although the more patient of you would certainly want to add it to your Steam Wish List in time for any upcoming sales.

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee New ‘n’ Tasty PC Review

God of War III Remastered Coming to PS4 – Release Date and Trailer Released

Ten years ago the original God of War launched, which only goes and makes me feel that little bit older! So what better way to celebrate the release, than with a new HD remaster of the 3rd game in the iconic series. Well, other than a new game in the series.

The game is porting over nicely, but while I must admit that the original God of War III game is still a fantastic looking game that doesn’t really need a remaster, I guess this re-release of sorts is more aimed at those who missed it on the last generation, bringing the game to a new audience. It’ll also make a nice warm up for whatever the studio has planned for the series in the hopefully not too distant future. Check out the trailer and screenshots, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

God of War III Remastered will be hitting the PlayStation 4 in July.