Once restricted to the odd HD remake of a years-old gaming classic, video game remasters are here,
there and everywhere these days. Determined to tap into the gaming community’s ever-present
nostalgia, studios and publishers world over are pushing remasters out the door, regardless of
whether or not they’ve exhibited a long-lasting cultural impact. But are gamers getting a shoddy
Take ‘Batman: Return To Arkham,' for instance. Developed by Virtuos Studios a little over a year since
Rocksteady graced us with their divisive conclusion to the trailblazing Arkham saga, Warner Bros.’
current-gen remake of the relatively new franchise would appear to be a tad innocuous, as long as
you ignore its contributive effect to this markedly regressive trend.
Indeed, the unprecedented influx of current-gen remakes of fledgling franchises only confirms one
thing – the industry is running out of ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, people have been begging for a remaster of Rocksteady’s original masterwork for
years now. Calls for a remake weren’t wholly unfounded either; after all, if Capcom can somehow
justify a DMC remaster, why shouldn’t Batman? It’s fairly ridiculous, yes, but in an age where
publishers desperately try to pry money from consumers with micro-transactions, season passes and
the sort, it doesn’t feel too out of place.
This speaks more for the unsavoury business practices carried out by gaming’s biggest companies in
recent years, but while an argument may exist for extending virtual experiences with varying levels
of add-on content, the humble remaster is irrelevant beyond all comparison. In Batman’s case, the
mere act of updating visuals has been amazingly screwed up, as Virtuos has done away with the
uniquely gothic colour pallet that lent itself so well to Arkham Asylum and City’s aesthetic. It’s
absurd to think that even a remaster could fail visually, but if anything speaks for their
oversaturation more, it would be the very fact that Return to Arkham even exists in the first place.