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Companies “overwriting”/”replacing” games feels wrong but nobody seems bothered.

Gamingtodaynews1b - Companies "overwriting"/"replacing" games feels wrong but nobody seems bothered.

To be clear, by "overwriting" I don't meant "making a remake". Hell, even a sequel that doesn't try to recreate the initial experience can be a replacement.

There are different ways of handling old entries/versions of games.

A good one is how the Doom franchise has been treated. Despite the 2016 game using the original's title, classic Doom is still alive and kicking – it's being sold on major PC platforms for a more or less reasonable price and has gotten 8th gen console releases. No real complaints about this general approach.

A less great one is to keep the original in digital stores in a barely functioning state. XIII does this and while it's half-unplayable on PC, it's at least there for cheap if you really care, despite getting a remake that seeks to replace it. This shouldn't happen, but it's still not the thing that really bothers me.

The one I call overwriting is removing a game from online stores, neglecting the option of putting it up in the first place, or selling the game at a ridiculous price and/or in a worse state than it was on release.

Example #1:

Need for Speed games. This has been particularly nasty because no NfS game has really come close to the levels of belovedness Underground 2 and Most Wanted have enjoyed, despite trying time and time again. At this point the series might be dead, but EA has still been sitting on the classics, while the box versions are being sold for hundreds of dollars a piece.

But if you go on Origin and look for Most Wanted, you'll get redirected to the remake (not remaster), potentially creating an illusion that this is either the original (if you've never played it), remaster (if you have) or a game that can replace the original in any way. It feels like a trick, especially since MW wouldn't be hard to get to work properly on modern systems (7th gen, a PC release and a fan patch all point to that conclusion). Obviously EA isn't desperately trying to sell more copies of a 2012 game anymore, but I don't think it's unreasonable to think it was a factor when considering putting the 2005 game on online stores.

Example #2:

Prey. Honestly, there's nothing common between the two games that share the name, yet the original was pulled from Steam because of the rights to 14 songs expiring. Yeah, selling a version of the game without those definitely sounds like an impossible feat to pull off.


It's especially annoying because it was on online stores and the only reason it was removed is either neglidgence or extreme lack of foresight. Licensed music is a big reason why many games can't be sold without any modification and it's silly how many companies just don't bother to delete a few audio tracks, remove a few lines from credits and put a disclaimer on the store page informing consumers of the change.

Example #3:

Call of Duty series. Activision sells pretty much all entries of the series as if they've only released 4 months ago – broken multiplayer features, tons of cheaters, the game not even booting on the console it's being sold for anymore? Nah, it's totally worth $40 and there's no warning about any issues on the store page. This is the ultimate insult – a ridiculous price to profit as much as possible off people who are uninformed to want to relive a bit of nostalgia.

CoD has also gone the route of NfS, now having 3 different games that claim to be "CoD: Modern Warfare 1", trying to convince people going back to the old game isn't as good as buying the new, shiny, even more expensive installment.

This way of doing things is an exact opposite of celebrating/appreciating the support of customers whose decision to buy the classic games has made the franchise and the company that milks it as big as it is.

Now, I wouldn't say people are entitled to access to classics, or that companies are obligated to sell products they're not interested in selling just because they were successful. What I do think is that profiting off people's good memories of a game while also denying them the opportunity to replay said game is a bit insulting and if a game was successful enough to warrant reusing its name, it's probably also worth putting a tiny bit of effort into preserving it.

But yeah, I've never seen anyone talk about this before and it seems strange considering how common preservationist arguments appear when touching on subjects like DRM, subscriptions and streaming.

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