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Sorrel’s Side Quests: What’s up with video game rereleases?

Over this past October, I found myself faced with an interesting dilemma. I’ve played Resident Evil Village at least three times since its release on May 7, 2021. In fact, I remember that exact day quite well - I had already preordered the game, I had puzzled over Capcom’s decision to release a horror game in early summer, and I had waited an excruciatingly long time for the sun to set so I could play it in the dark. So, I feel uniquely positioned to say that Resident Evil Village definitely came out last May. And yet, every time I looked at the October 2022 release schedule for a new game to try out, the same title would appear: Resident Evil Village Gold Edition.

Obviously, video game rereleases are nothing new. Ever since the initial mainstream adoption of home gaming, it’s been rare to see a successful game with only one release. A few years after Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt were independently released for the NES, they were rereleased on a combined cartridge, now one of the most easily accessible NES cartridges around. One could argue that the history of re-releases stretches back even further - the Nintendo Vs. System arcade cabinet was first issued in the early 80s as a means of bringing some version of Super Mario Bros. to arcades.

In 2022, rereleases tend to serve a handful of purposes. The first and most important, of course, is money. When sales have dried up for a game, releasing the same game with some flashy new features is a great way to draw in prospective players who missed the boat initially while also advertising to particularly marketing-susceptible existing fans (that I have spent the better part of the last two weeks agonizing over whether or not to buy Resident Evil Village Gold Edition should not surprise anyone who knows me).

One of the other major reasons to re-release a game is to give players on other platforms the opportunity to try it out. Kingdom Hearts, for example, is a now 20-year old franchise with games scattered across around a dozen different, largely obsolete platforms. Enter Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, two compilations with devastatingly hard-to-remember titles designed to bring (nearly) every Kingdom Hearts game to modern platforms. This kind of rerelease is far and away the most common, serving to shepherd games away from dying consoles and towards places where players can actually play them.

The third type of rerelease is probably my favorite: the “second chance” release. Super Mario 3D World released in 2013 on the Wii U, and it’s suffered from its association with that underwhelming console ever since. In 2021, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury arrived on the Nintendo Switch, offering a second chance at life to a phenomenal game. This was, of course, a rerelease to save a game from obsolete hardware, but it was also a rerelease to give a game the audience it always deserved. Rereleases like this happen within one console generation all the time, too. Final Fantasy XV was met with so-so reception in 2016, but the 2018 Royal Edition offered players the opportunity to reevaluate what was already there while offering mild tweaks.

There are plenty of reasons for a game to gain another chance at life, but in the end, they all boil down to two things: money, and the underlying truth that no matter how old a game is, it will always be new to somebody.

Sorrel Kerr-Jung is a sophomore studying virtual reality game development at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Sorrel by tweeting her at @sorrelkj.

Sorrel Kerr-Jung

Opinion Writer

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