Resurgence for Nostalgia Part I

Article by Collin Lyle 

Over the past 10-15 years Gamers have had the pleasure of being privy to some truly industry defining titles that would set a standard for comparison that is still used to this day. However, what we have found is that good titles are increasingly hard to come by. Players are not the only ones who have realized the industry wide demand for nostalgia and this is what has lead us to where we are today. Complete with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the down right abominations that should have never been let to see the light of day. Regardless we now find ourselves with an industry who now knows that on occasion re-releasing old content with a new coat of paint on it is exactly what people want.

This topic is nothing short of a hotbed of controversy and intrigue as various developers try their hand at re-releasing old titles with some minor tweaks here and there whether they be graphically or mechanically. This is primarily because of the age-old concept that certainly predates gaming of turning yesterday’s slop into today’s gruel. In many cases what these developers have done comes off as nothing short of lazy greed induced attempt at a money grab in which they take their previous hit title, rehash it, and push it out the door for full price to the outrage of their fanbase.

One of the more notable titles of late that attempted to cash in on this golden goose of nostalgia, only to end up killing it in the cradle was Starwars: Battlefront. Originally made by Pandemic studios and published by the now defunct LucasArts in 2004 and 2005 respectively, Starwars: Battlefront by LucasArts were nothing short of masterpieces for their time. They featured full length campaign story modes but also a highly engaging multiplayer experience with maps that were not only well designed but incredibly memorable.

In an attempt to cash in on this gold pot of nostalgia populating mainstream gaming culture, Disney set the publisher EA to the task of recreating those iconic titles. Starwars: Battlefront was re-released in 2015. However it didn’t get just a shiny new paint job and a few tweaks. Instead it had been overhauled from the ground up and had an absolutely gorgeous iteration of DICE studios Frostbite engine powering it. Reception among critics was to put simply “meh” on Metacritic battlefront sits at a in the yellow zone score of 73. However, amongst player reviews, it is a very different story. Amongst fan reviews the new shiny re-release that was Starwars: Battlefront (2015) barely merited a 50.

Not to be dissuaded by these ratings, EA once again set out to make a recreation of the second masterpiece by Pandemic Studios᠆᠆again copying the exact title of the 2005 release. In 2017 Starwars: Battlefront 2 was re-released. It was as if nothing had been learned. Metacritic scores now sat at a slightly lower yellow range score of 68. While this was a noticeable drop from their previous attempt in 2015, the user scores were where the opinions were most evident᠆the hate was palpable. Consumers slammed EA for what they felt was a bastardized version of their childhood memories with an abnormally low score of 10.

Then on January 3rd of 2018, by the direction of Disney, Pandemic studios released updates to the Starwars: Battlefront 2 (2005) for both general game tweaks and bug fixes, but also for full multiplayer functionality support. This was met with praise. The update not only gave a massive hike to the nearly nonexistent player base but also caused Steam reviews to skyrocket to the “Overwhelmingly Positive” state. To rub further salt into the wound of EA’s attempts, many of the post update reviews for the Steam released Starwars: Battlefront 2 (2005) slammed EA’s design choices of the 2015 and 2017 release of the games.

In the next installment of Resurgence for Nostalgia I will be taking a look at an unlikely title that managed to capture that lofty nostalgic goal to such an extent as to eclipse it’s modernized counterpart.

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