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Even indies are getting the remake treatment now? Dot Esports

Tonight, during The Game Awards, a remake of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was announced. It’s a delightful game made by the bad boy developer Josef Fares, but why is it getting a remake?

Brothers is the debut game from Hazelight Studios, run by Josef Fares, the man who infamously said “fuck the Oscars” at The Game Awards. Like all of his games, it features two characters who have to navigate a world by cooperating to solve puzzles. It’s deeply touching, but I worry about an industry where even indies are now getting remade.

The gaming industry is awash with remakes. Resident Evil 4’s remake was even up for Best Game tonight. But I’ve always thought of these remakes as a symptom of triple-A developers and publishers. They’re safe, almost-guaranteed successes. People like what they know, that’s why movie sequels have been so popular for so long. Indie games have always been at the forefront of innovation, pushing boundaries and daring to take risks, that’s why the Brothers remake worries me.

Fares’ Hazelight Studios picked up the coveted Game of the Year award at the 2021 TGA, and instead of getting a new game announcement from the team, we’re learning another studio is working on a remake of its first game. The remake is being helmed by Avantgarden SRL, but as it’s a ground-up remake built in Unreal Engine 5, it’ll need some oversight from the original developers. Even if that’s just Fares himself, I’m interested in what new ideas he has, not seeing what he’s already done with a new coat of paint.

I was also sad when I learned Supergiant Games was making Hades 2, rather than continuing its tradition of moving on and creating something entirely new once a game was done and dusted. I’m a huge fan of Hades, but I’ve loved everything Supergiant has done, so I wanted something fresh, not a retread of old ground.

What also concerns me is what kind of standard this will set for future indies. They’re not supposed to have realistic graphics or be completely bug-free. They’re smaller in scale, cheaper to make, and created by fewer developers, that’s why they can take more risks and don’t have obscenely long development cycles like GTA 6. If people look at the Brothers remake and think that’s the bar all indies should be held to, it could be disastrous for new indies.

If Fares and Hazelight have just licensed out their property to secure some funding for new projects, then props to them, but I’m worried we’ll see more indie studios doing sequels and remakes themselves rather than pursuing exciting new frontiers. I want a fresh, vibrant industry, not one that keeps robbing graves.

Issy van der Velde

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