‘Dead Rising’ Remaster Highlights Rationale of Video Game Re-Releases and Remakes (2024)

Japanese publisher Capcom announced Monday its new remaster of 2006 zombie-action classic “Dead Rising” arrives on current-gen consoles Sept. 19.

For Capcom, re-releasing its gamesmultiple times is not a surprising move.

Capcom’s biggest franchise, with more than 150 million units sold, remains “Resident Evil,” which also focuses heavily on the zombie subgenre of horror and has had multiple releases that are considered foundational for modern gaming. After a pair of new entries weren’t received well, Capcom rebooted the series with 2017’s “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard,” which switched the player perspective from third- to first-person.

But it was the 2019 remake of 1998’s “Resident Evil 2” that captivated fans anew, as the classic game was completely rebuilt to match more modern entries in the series, focusing on over-the-shoulder movement instead of fixed-camera angles. This remake helped bridge the gap between “Biohazard” and 2021’s new main entry, “Village.”

After an additional remake for “Resident Evil 3” bowed in 2020, 2005’s hallmark entry “Resident Evil 4” was also fully remade and released in 2023 to high sales and praise, again giving players another game in which to immerse themselves before Capcom’s next mainline entry, which hasn’t been announced yet. The publisher has confirmed more remakes of older entries are planned but has not revealed which ones.

A look at recent and upcoming remasters and remakes of prominent titles shows companies pivoting to remakes more than ever, especially for horror games. Naughty Dog and Sony fully remade “The Last of Us” and released it just a few months before HBO premiered its adaptation of the zombie-horror game.

A remaster for 2020’s sequel to the first game also released early this year, just days after the HBO series was up for several awards at the Emmys. Likewise, a remake of Sony’s 2015 narrative-horror game “Until Dawn” is due later this year as Screen Gems and PlayStation Productions are prepping its film adaptation.

While “Dead Rising Deluxe Remastered” is not a remake, games journalists and fans were quick to point out how protagonist Frank West’s physical appearance had undergone what looks like extensive remodeling, a hint that Capcom isn’t content just to update the existing game’s graphics to current-gen standards and leave it at that.

After all, “Dead Rising” had already been remastered in 2016 for the game’s 10th anniversary, making it playable on PS4 consoles for the first time. To justify a PS5 release alongside other current platforms, changes to how the game looks and feels are necessary. In this case, the remastered game will also play in 4K and was remade in the same engine used for the current “Resident Evil” games.

Capcom’s most recent fiscal year ended March 2024 and delivered record net sales, as well as the seventh consecutive year of record-high profits, exhibiting the kind of earnings streak rarely seen these days. Many companies have had to dramatically cut costs, laying off developers en masse and canceling games left and right.

As such, remastering “Dead Rising” again isn’t just a way for Capcom to increase its horror output for fans wanting something to play between “Resident Evil” releases but also to gauge whether the franchise itself is worth resurrecting in the form of new games. “Dead Rising” was put on ice after four games, the last of which was released in 2016, as a planned fifth game being developed by Capcom’s Vancouver team was reportedly nixed when the publisher closed the studio in 2018.

Full-game remakes have also been part of fellow Japan entity Konami’s strategy to evaluate committing more to core franchises. “Silent Hill 2” and “Metal Gear Solid 3” are among the publisher’s most revered titles and have remakes due soon from partner Bloober Team and Konami’s internal developers, respectively. While the former is not available on current-gen consoles, “Metal Gear Solid 3” was part of a package of games in the Hideo Kojima-created franchise that were made available for PlayStation 5 for the first time last year.

As much as these remakes and remasters help to pad out release calendars, it’s clear they’ve become a strategic solution to evaluate the viability of continued IP investment for the AAA space, as such games take longer than ever to develop, especially with limited resources due to layoffs.

Capcom may be on an earnings roll, but it knows better than to tarnish its luck by expending too much effort on bringing back a franchise without knowing what exactly the hunger for its smaller zombie IP is in the first place.

‘Dead Rising’ Remaster Highlights Rationale of Video Game Re-Releases and Remakes (2024)
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