Gamers can certainly be hard to please at times, can’t they? There’s always something, and you just don’t quite appreciate how hard developers have it.
Has Sakurai busted his cheeks to release a Smash Bros. title with an absurd amount of characters, but your super-unlikely wishlist fighter didn’t make it in? You’d darn well better roast him online. And we wonder why we have such a bad reputation.
With all of that in mind, it’s no wonder that reboots, remakes, HD remasters and re-releases are such a huge deal in gaming at the moment. The likes of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy (a copy of which was flown across America by Spyro-drone to be delivered to Snoop Dogg, in one of the most absurd news stories of the year) and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy have thrilled old fans and brought a whole generation of new ones onto the scene. It’s great to see.
Rest assured, nostalgic gamers. 2019’s going to bring us a whole slew of remakes too. Favourites like Crash Team Racing, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and Resident Evil 4 are being reborn next year. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.
That’s right, friendos. We’re going to kick this party off the right way, with one of my very favorite games of all time. The one and only game my sister would play with me on a regular basis growing up: Crash Team Racing.
Opinions differ on this one. Some would call the original 1999 kart racer just another Mario Kart clone, while others will tell you that it’s the only one to ever surpass Mario’s own efforts. For Naughty Dog’s first shot at the genre, CTR was a triumph, and after the N. Sane Trilogy, the fans’ clamor for a remake became too loud to ignore.
It’s now confirmed that Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is coming next year, shooting for a June 21 release on PS4 Xbox One and Switch (though there’s talk that the Switch version may be delayed).
Hey, remember that E3 presentation where the Final Fantasy VII remake was finally officially confirmed, and just about everybody in the world spontaneously lost bowel control? Yep, me too.
Here’s the thing about that: where in the name of Barret’s muscular forearm has it got to? All we’ve got are a couple of trailers, and Tetsuya Nomura’s lamentations that the remake was revealed too early. It’s always a shame when an anticipated title disappears down Beezelebub’s underworld u-bend and is flushed down to development purgatory.
Especially when it’s a game that’s such a big-ticket item as this. Is it possible that we could see it next year? At least one episode of it? I guess so. Let’s cross all our appendages and hope.
Recently, when it comes to Resident Evil’s back catalog, it’s as though there’s only been one game that’s really mattered: the original. Even since the magnificent REmake for the GameCube (now that’s how you do a remake, friends), it’s been the star of the show. It was since ported to the DS, then followed in later years by the current-gen remaster of the remaster. Prequel Resident Evil 0 also got the current-gen treatment.
One game that’s been conspicuous by its absence is Resident Evil 2, the sequel that introduced us to then-rookie cop and series stalwart Leon S. Kennedy. The remaster for this one is looking super-slick, and is set to launch on January 25 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Now, don’t just think that I’m being snarky for snark’s sake here. I’m a huge fan of the Super Mario platformers, whether 2D or 3D, and I always will be.
The New Super Mario Bros. series isn’t my favorite, though. There’s a bit of a rehashed sense about them, as though we’re dashing down variants of the same levels we have been for decades now.
This fits right in with that nostalgic spirit, though.
Nintendo Switch has seen a lot of Wii U ports in its short life, which is no surprise considering that only seven people owned the system in the first place. New Super Mario Bros. U was a prime candidate to be ported over, and sure enough, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is set to launch on January 11.
It’s a little frightening to think about just how far we’ve come. Back in the day, multiplayer was a darn pain. The original Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles required finagling with the GameCube, Game Boy Advance consoles and link cables, like something from the dark ages. You youngsters today don’t know you’re born, seriously.
For those who did go to all of that trouble, Crystal Chronicles was an excellent spin-off. An action RPG affair, it saw you/your friends carrying a mystical crystal through a toxic world, defending it from enemies and solving puzzles to progress. The Nintendo Switch and PS4 remake only sports a vague release date of 2019, but it’s certainly one to keep an eye on.
Speaking of Final Fantasy spin-offs, there’s another adorable journey down memory lane coming our way next year. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon was originally a Wii title, that has been rejigged and updated with all kinds of new content and gameplay systems for the Switch.
It’s the cutest darn roguelike you ever saw, seeing you delving through dungeons in the traditional way: time passes and enemies move only when you walk or act. As is the norm with the genre, it’s set to be highly customizable and replayable, with your Chocobo able to switch between a range of traditional Final Fantasy jobs. Dark Knight? Ninja? Dancer? They’re all here.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! Is slated to launch this winter.
The original PS1 will always hold a special place in my cold, crabby heart, being the first console I ever bought for myself. As a result, I’ve enjoyed seeing Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon making such successful returns with their remakes.
Most thrilling, for me, was the announcement of the MediEvil remake. This cult classic adventure was one of my favorite games on the system, and it just looks sumptuous in its new, upcoming form. As with Crash and Spyro, it’s clear that this classic is going to be treated with respect: not just a few improved textures, but a proper remake.
“I think there have been some words that might sound alike but mean different things – like remake and remaster. This is a remake," said Sony Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden.
Again, it’s a vague 2019 release date for this one.
3DS owners, quite rightly, are feeling a little unsatisfied with their lot just now. It’s only natural that Nintendo are focusing on their newest baby, the Switch, but the poor old handheld is being left in the dust.
It’s been a long and glorious life for the 3DS, whichever way you slice it, but it’s still sad to see support starting to dry up. The games are still coming, though, one of which being a remake of 2009 DS title Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.
It’ll hit the West next year (January 11 in the US), sporting spangly new content titled Bowser Jr’s Journey.
How much of a Resident Evil 4 fan am I? Well, two of my headlines so far in this rundown have been quotations from it. That probably tells you all you need to know on that score.
Oh, Capcom. You know that this is one of those games that so many of us have double- or triple-dipped on, and you’ve just pounced for our wallets’ jugulars, haven’t you?
That’s right. Resident Evil 4 is confirmed to be coming to Nintendo Switch at some point in 2019. Yep, I own it on several systems already, but the allure of having it portable? There’s no way I’m resisting that.
Here’s the trouble with any remaster or remake. We want it to be faithful to the original, but we also want it to be enhanced in more than just a visual sense. It needs a USP for those who already own the game, after all.
The PS4 and PS Vita (yep, the Vita exists) remake of 2011's quirky Catherine adds something that seems set to shake up the balance: a third possible love interest for protagonist Vincent. The whole dynamic of the original was about the contrast between Catherine and Katherine, and as Polygon points out, it’s not quite clear how the all-new character Rin will fit into all of this.
As we all know (we may not like to admit it, but we certainly do know it), we gamers can be an uppity bunch. You know what else we can be? Impatient, that’s what.
You know that feeling you get, when a much-anticipated game finally gets an official release date and it’s months and months away? The wait is super tough.
Even worse than that, how about when we don’t even have a date to go on? That’s the case with the Final Fantasy VII remake, and it’s just the same with Fear Effect Reinvented. The developers promise that “the new version will be characterized by… completely new graphics in accordance with today’s standards and a few gameplay modifications, making the game more appealing for today’s players, while remaining faithful to the original story-wise.”
They haven’t yet given us a release date, though. It looks as though the originally-promised 2018 is a bust, but there’s always next year.
Oh, Nintendo. You and your rehashing-an-old-successful-formula ways. I mean, granted, most of the darn industry loves pulling that trick (see also: Capcom), but that doesn’t make it right.
Take Kirby’s Epic Yarn, a great platformer with a quirky art style that first hit the Wii in 2010. It made the journey over to Wii U in 2016, and now it’s time for another port: Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn.
A 3DS title this time, it’s coming sometime in 2019, and packs a couple of little extras for those familiar with the game. One of these is the frightening concept I’ve ever heard of in a Kirby title: Devilish Mode, which sees you dashing to outrun demons.
Some might tell you that remakes are an easy business. The whole skeleton of the game is already there, after all, you’re just making it a little prettier. The reality, however, is rather different.
Just look at the trouble that the Final Fantasy VII remake has gotten itself into. Similarly troubled is Nightdive’s System Shock remake, which Kickstarter backers raised $1.3 million to fund back in 2016. Since then, this new take on the first-person action adventure has been on hiatus, but work continues.
As it currently stands, it’s shooting for a release in Q1 2020, but maybe the team will surprise us and be ready for a 2019 release?
As we’ve seen, then, Capcom have prepared another retread of some of their most beloved Resident Evil titles for 2019. Like so many developers and publishers just now, they know exactly how to squeeze that sweet, sweet cashtacular out of us. They’ve always been great at that, hence why there were enough different versions of Street Fighter II to sink a battleship.
Another popular Capcom property getting the remake treatment next year is the Onimusha series. Specifically, the original, Onimusha: Warlords. Fans of Samanosuke and Kaede’s demon-hunting hack and slash exploits will want to stealthily leap on this one, when it drops on January 15.
So, yes. Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee landed last month, and were the barnstorming success that anything with the Pokémon name attached generally will be. This isn’t to say that the whole fanbase was happy with it, though. With the removal of elements like breeding and held items, some competitive players pass on Let’s Go, seeing it as a simplified game.
For those players, hopes are riding on the upcoming generation eight Pokémon title we’ve been promised. As of right now, we know slim to bupkuss about the game, and there’s speculation about the setting and how things are going to work out. We’re not heading back to Kanto again, are we?
It’s not just the biggest franchises that get the remakes, friends. Final Fantasy, Resident Evil and their ilk may be stealing the show, but here comes a series that we sometimes don’t make enough fuss about.
Romancing SaGa is one of those series that those in the know rave about, while others are largely unaware of its existence.
The third entry is a very Octopath Traveler-esque experience, in which the player chooses from one of eight protagonists and can then recruit others.
The game originally launched on the Super Famicom back in 1995, and the remake launches on all platforms in Japan next year. There’s no news on a Western release yet.
That’s right, friends. I totally hear you. this one’s debatable. Is Team Sonic Racing going to be an all-new game? Is it a souped-up and expanded take on the original Sonic kart racer, a la Crash team Racing: Nitro-Fueled? It’s tough to say with these sorts of games.
Either way, it’s all set to play differently to the previous outings (Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed), thanks to the Mario Kart: Double Dash!!-style cooperative element.
If that sounds like a good time to you, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer. Team Sonic Racing was hit with a delay that’s left it with a May 21 release date.
Okay, come on now, Resident Evil. We see you there. You’ve officially got our attention. Now pipe down a little, will you?
I’ll tell you one thing, friends: 2019 is going to be the year of old-style Evil. If you own a Switch and a PS4/Xbox One/PC, you’ve not only got the much-anticipated remake of the second entry coming your way in January. You’ve not only got the celebrated fourth entry.
Those are just for starters. There’s also yet another re-release of the original Resident Evil coming our way, this time for Nintendo Switch. Along with that comes the prequel, Resident Evil 0, which was once GameCube exclusive.
Well, dang. With the great glut of Resident Evil games coming to Switch next year, it looks as though Final Fantasy felt like it had to step its game up as well.
I suppose that’s just the way it is sometimes. You wait a long time for a classic Final Fantasy game, and then five of them come thundering along all at once.
They won’t all be released at once, you understand, but Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, X-2 And XII have all been confirmed to be surfacing on Switch next year. Once again, our old buddy Squall Leonheart is conspicuous by his absence, but that’s quite a lineup nonetheless.
With everything we’ve seen so far in this rundown, it’s clear that Nintendo Switch is going to become home to some truly iconic, classic games over the course of 2019. With all the hype surrounding the upcoming Metroid Prime 4, though, something is conspicuously missing: the original Metroid Prime Trilogy.
Nothing has been conclusively announced by Nintendo themselves, but it certainly looks as though a remaster of the excellent Prime trilogy is coming our way. Rumors continue to swirl, so let’s hope we hear something soon.
This would, after all, be a perfect way to whet players’ appetites for one of the system’s most anticipated games.
The Tales series is one of the longest-running RPGs around. It’s not up there on the A-list with Final Fantasy, perhaps, but it’s just below. It probably gets invited to the same swanky celebrity cocktail parties.
Tales of Vesperia is one of the best known and most beloved entries. It first released in 2008, the tenth installment in the main series. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, The Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is on the way, set to release on January 11.