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Are Next-Gen Re-Releases Like Tomb Raider A Bad Idea?

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
PS4, PS4 games, Re-releases, Square Enix, Tomb Raider, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Are Next-Gen Re-Releases Like Tomb Raider A Bad Idea?

Last week at the VGX Awards, Square Enix finally admitted they would be re-releasing Tomb Raider on the PS4 and Xbox One. This ‘Definitive Edition’ comes with a handful of visual upgrades including TressFX technology for Lara’s hair (like the original PC version), a remodelling for Lara’s face and better leaves and branches on the trees. And presumably better explosions, because that’s the next-gen dream right?

It will also include the previous pre-order incentive Tomb of the Lost Adventurer and there will be some unique touches that are only possible on next-gen machines. The Xbone version will include Kinect voice controls for weapon selection and the PS4’s DualShock light will light up when Lara’s lights a touch.

There’s even more packed in though! Like the extra skins, weapons and eight DLC maps for the multiplayer that everyone plays so much! Making of documentaries that you’d otherwise have to look for on YouTube! That really shitty digital prologue comic! And there’s an extra artbook in the Special Edition of the Definitive Edition for those of you wanting more than the Standard Edition of the Definitive Edition! What!

Are Next-Gen Re-Releases Like Tomb Raider A Bad Idea?

You can order all these essential improvements for $59.99, which at the moment on Amazon (US version) is a few dollars more than recent next-gen games like Forza 5 or Killzone: Shadow Fall. Bargain. Despite being a mere six weeks away in the UK, there are barely any listings to be found online, but some have recently appeared at Game for £55 or ShopTo at (a still eye-watering) £45-£50. So, essentially this is a full-priced next-gen release. Or you could buy it now on PS3 or Xbox 360 for less than £15.

Tomb Raider is an excellent game, there’s no denying that, it was my pick for best game at the halfway mark of 2013. But do we really want to let publishers set a precedent this early on in the new generation for reselling us a nigh-on identical product? Better hair? Are you kidding me? And what the hell was wrong with Lara’s face in the old version anyway?

I’m not opposed to visual upgrades at all -hell, my inner graphics whore really wants to see this thing running on my PS4- but there’s no justification for gouging gamers full price for a game that will be nearly a year old when it is re-released. Yes, the paid multiplayer DLC is included, but does anyone actually want to play TR’s multiplayer anymore? If Square-Enix had tasked Crystal Dynamics with working on some extra single-player content like extra tombs or maybe even some new parts of the island to explore we would have gladly thrown some extra money at this.

Are Next-Gen Re-Releases Like Tomb Raider A Bad Idea?

At least with the wave of HD re-releases we saw on PS3 and Xbox 360, there was a genuine visual incentive to re-buy (or indeed visit for the first time) with often extremely notable differences in visual quality, not to mention some much appreciated widescreen support. And they were all released at a discount price. Square Enix themselves have done some good ones with Kingdom Hearts, Hitman and even some older Tomb Raider games.

The high-price point for this ‘Definitive Edition’ of Tomb Raider could be the start of a worrying trend if more publishers decide to add some extra minute visual effects and sprinkle them with DLC and then charge an amount that’s considerably higher than buying the last-gen version and the DLC separately.

How long before we see Gears of War with more frowning? God of War with more angry veins in Kratos’ head? Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite with bigger erm... eyes. And you can bet the farm that Grand Theft Auto V will appear on PS4 and Xbox One by Christmas next year with additional litter and finer beards.

Are Next-Gen Re-Releases Like Tomb Raider A Bad Idea?

While I’m at it, we at least need a new name for these re-releases, I’m already sick of writing Definitive Edition, especially when there’s a Standard and Special edition of the same thing. I mean, it’s definitive, but this one’s better?! Madness.

As always dear readers, we want to hear your thoughts. Would you pay this much for a shiner Tomb Raider? What extras would you expect in a next-gen re-release to make it worthwhile? Anyway, gotta dash, I need to go and email Square Enix to see if they’ll send me a copy because deep down, I’m the sort of shallow, shiny object-seeking magpie that game publishers are aiming at with this sort of thing.

Add a comment10 comments
Johnmcl7  Dec. 14, 2013 at 19:13

No, it's not something I would buy even I didn't have the Pc version from the start but at the same time I can't blame the publishers for trying to fill in the gaps due to the time taken to develop proper next generation titles. While it does seem a bit lazy at the same time you can understand companies taking a low risk approach in the current market, it's probably not to sell much but there will be some people with shiny new consoles devoid of games desperate to play something on it who haven't played the original game.

While if they spent a bit of development time and created more extensive new content they may well find people have had their fill of the game for now and wouldn't bother with any more. Then that's previous development time lost for other titles.

I wouldn't be surprised to see other publishers doing the same at least initially until the new consoles mature a bit and have a wider range of games available and settle back into the usual development cycles.

alababaju  Dec. 14, 2013 at 21:17

That seems like a little too harsh a review :D ! I love Tomb Raider, I enjoyed the trailer so much I bought the Collectors Edition. It was my first TR game too(if you don't count Guardian of Light). I think this case is very simple. Buy if you want! Don't if you don't want. There might just be a niche market with a reason to want to buy this. I don't know any, but there might just be some. Plus this could simply be an experiment by Square Enix. More would only follow this trend if its a success and it would only be a success if people buy it. If people buy it, it means they're happy with it. Yeah you're not the only one who ignored the multiplayer(I played it a grand total of, ONCE!) and wants more single player DLC. I would have loved they spent this(definitive edition) time doing that instead. Overall, I wouldn't have okayed this release if I was the Square boss, but hey, what do I know?

Crazy Jamie  Dec. 14, 2013 at 21:37

There is a precedent for this. Numerous game were made for the SNES after previously being on the NES (Mario Is Missing, Joe & Mac etc). I wasn't as industry conscious back then to be able to explain why that was, but in this case it sounds to me like an attempt to quickly bolster the next generation libraries. Is it something that would convince me to buy a PS4 or Xbox One? No, but I imagine that it may well be a factor for others, particularly those who have not played the 'previous generation' iterations of the games.

I don't think the target audience is necessarily those people who have played the game previously, so the outrage from that perspective is perhaps a little unwarranted. Certainly it shouldn't have such a high price point if we're just talking about the odd graphical upgrade, but then again cross platform games like AC4 are fully priced, and I don't know what the difference between the two generational versions of AC4 are compared to Tomb Raider. I previously commented on the AC4 comparison post that the differences are not sufficient for me to take the next generation plunge, so I genuinely don't know how Tomb Raider would compare.

Overall I'm somewhat neutral about this. From a business perspective I don't see the problem with it, and if I'm right about it being an attempt to quickly bolster libraries then if anything it actually does make sense. I don't think it's something to be irritated about either way; if you've played the game previously and feel the need to play it on the next generation consoles, just wait until the price drops. In the mean time exercise your mighty power as a consumer and don't buy it. Easy.

bggriffiths  Dec. 14, 2013 at 22:00

...but then again cross platform games like AC4 are fully priced, and I don't know what the difference between the two generational versions of AC4 are compared to Tomb Raider. I previously commented on the AC4 comparison post that the differences are not sufficient for me to take the next generation plunge, so I genuinely don't know how Tomb Raider would compare.


The problem with comparing it with the next-gen upgrades of the likes of Ass Creed or COD etc is that they are full priced next-gen releases that have come out mere weeks after the PS3/360 versions and we all knew they would be coming and they aren't priced that far apart. Tomb Raider has had time to come down in price significantly on last gen hardware making it a real hard sell at that price on PS4. £30 or less would be a fair deal.

I'm loving PS4 ACIV, but yeah, it's blatantly just a visual difference, but it is quite significant (not that the PS3 version doesn't look tasty too).

Crazy Jamie  Dec. 14, 2013 at 22:23


The problem with comparing it with the next-gen upgrades of the likes of Ass Creed or COD etc is that they are full priced next-gen releases that have come out mere weeks after the PS3/360 versions and we all knew they would be coming and they aren't priced that far apart. Tomb Raider has had time to come down in price significantly on last gen hardware making it a real hard sell at that price on PS4. £30 or less would be a fair deal.
You're quite right, and it is the price difference that makes this stand out more. My point was more to determine the difference in the level of 'upgrade' between the older games like Tomb Raider and the newer ones like AC4, to the extent that it makes any difference.

gmdlogan  Dec. 14, 2013 at 22:33

I would buy AC2 remake. And Brotherhood. I 'd pay good dollar too, especially if they shoved some extra dlc my way.

In a heart beat. Nothing else would suffice though. Just those 2.

Placebo_obecalP  Dec. 15, 2013 at 13:27

Actually I'm really for it, the problem with new platforms is that you have to wait so long for titles that really immerse you.

Imagine: GTA5 NG Remaster, Fallout 3 NG Remaster, Skyrim NG Remaster, The Last of Us NG Remaster etc etc, they would be great to keep us going until similar "proper" next gen titles.

What I do have a problem with and this Tomb Raider is a perfect example, I played Tomb Raider at Ultra on PC, why would I buy it again at $60 when it's the same game? It's not like they're adding 10+ hours more story, it should be no more than $30 IMO.

Late  Dec. 16, 2013 at 13:55

I'm pleased to see these titles coming to next gen.

I should just point out that I love my 360, but it hasn't been turned on a single time since 22nd Nov. Not once. Hopefully it will, as we've a lot of unfinished business, that console and I. There's a lot of games from last generation that I would like to play but haven't, yet.
And now it turns out I may have the option to play slightly spruced up versions on my lovely new console? I like it! :D

There's not many "HD Editions" I'd be interested in buying if I've already played the game on last gen, and Tomb Raider definitely isn't one of them (I wasn't impressed with the game tbh) but there are a few. If they brought out a slightly tarted-up remake of Bioshock I'd be overjoyed.

As for more recent games which are getting current gen releases, such as Rayman Legends - definitely go for it, publishers!
Yes the prices are quite ridiculous (next Feb/Mar I expect to be faced with a choice between paying £12 for Rayman on the 360 or £45 for it on the One) but having extra choices is rarely a bad thing - and game prices for the new consoles should hopefully settle a bit lower during 2014.


EDIT : Legends, not Origins. I always get them two mixed up...

Last edited by Late, Dec. 16, 2013 at 13:59
stevenjameshyde  Dec. 16, 2013 at 15:35

It's interesting that the article focuses on Tomb Raider, rather than the other big next-gen rerelease - you know, the one that's already 1080p 60fps on PS360, doesn't have any DLC, and can't really possibly be improved upon? Having said that, if they made Rayman's hair more realistic I'd buy it in a heartbeat

I can see the appeal from the publisher's point of view - these remakes must cost next to nothing to produce, and launching into a not-exactly-packed release schedule must guarantee a decent return. And I'm sure that there are plenty of gamers like myself who stopped buying last-gen games around the time The Last of Us was released, so haven't played the likes of Rayman, GTA5, Arkham Origins etc. and would probably buy a next-gen port

I can't see the trend being particularly long-lived, though. As long as there's a paucity of actual next-gen releases, and an audience of people who haven't got around to playing some games on last-gen, then these releases serve a purpose. But marginally shinified versions of games that everyone has played already - it won't catch on. Hopefully

phil16  Dec. 16, 2013 at 16:20

Glad to have bought it for £8 on the PC recently (excellent game). The PC edition includes TressFX and 'full 1080p graphics' (on my cheap second hand Geforce 580). Seems like a rip off to me...

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