Game Philosophy: Reboots

Hey, random readers (that means the two of you who read this)

I’ve decided to start a little series of posts where I pretty much rant/talk/lecture about games, and what they’re doing these days.

So, put on your nerd glasses and nerd pants…

Example

Welcome to
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Today’s topic:
Reboots

I’ll admit that this is a weird topic to start with in Game Philosophy considering it’s actually not something exclusively about games.

But it seems to bother me for games more than other mediums for some reason, so I found it fitting.

It seems people these days tend to have forgotten what the point of a reboot is.

The point of a reboot is to start a franchise all over, erasing all events of the previous incarnation.

There are multiple reasons for doing this:

  1. Maybe the latest outings of the franchise are badly received and thus writing anything associated with it will automatically be badly received otherwise. (example: Spiderman: One More Day)
  2. Maybe they wrote themselves into a corner which makes writing an interesting and satisfying story increasingly difficult. (example: Spiderman: One More Day)
  3. Maybe they developed the characters in such a wrong direction that they can’t fix it unless they start over. (example: Spiderman: One More Day)
  4. Or maybe the franchise has been long dead and thus needs to be revived into the current generation. (example… crap, I can’t put Spiderman: One More Day on this one… IT STILL SUCKS!)

Now see, these are the reasons which would be acceptable to have a reboot.

Batman had quite a few reboots for example. The franchise was dead (looking at you Batman & Robin) for a while until Batman Begins was made to retell the story. It was a success, and so was it’s sequel, heck even more so.

Nightmare on Elmstreet was rebooted too, a bit understandable as quite a lot of people don’t seem to like how Freddy has become in the later films. (I actually liked Freddy vs Jason…)

Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox is a reboot, which some people didn’t even know. For good reason, it was dead after it’s NES days. Team Ninja then revived it (only to slowly kill it over the years, but that’s another story…)

The point is, reboots should have good reasons for being made.

Reboots however, have to have some semblance of it’s original incarnation of course. Otherwise, why not just make a whole new franchise?

I mean you can change the backstory a bit so it makes more sense, or for the extra drama, but what would be the point of doing a reboot if the whole thing functions totally different than what the original was going for?

Obviously, what the original was going for is what got it’s fanbase, right?

I mean if there’s a show that’s literally about a piece of crap, and it gets rebooted to be about a robot… well… I guess we could kinda take it more seriously, but the original fanbase obviously watched the original because… it was about a piece of crap!

Now with that said, take a look at this:

This is a picture of Devil May Cry, a series about a white haired Demon Hunter who’s half demon himself.
Dante (said Demon Hunter) is an interesting character. He’s cocky and calls names and all that, but unlike a lot of characters who do that, he has a reason.
The fact he’s half demon makes him practically immortal, thus blades cutting into his body are like mosquito bites to us.
The big part of his charm is the fact he goes crazy about it. He’s immortal and he shows it. He plays around with his enemies to make stuff interesting. He uses enemies like skateboards, throw them in the air and then juggle them with his guns.
Note how you could practically see this description in that design.
Now THAT is how you design a character.

And then the franchise gets a reboot, and he’s turned into this:

Maybe it’s just me, but he looks like Edward from Twilight, but with more emo hair…
Now what is wrong about this picture?
Well of course the first thing to notice is how he doesn’t wear a red coat, he doesn’t look like a halfdemon who chose for the side of humans, he looks like a drug addict, heck the point is he looks NOTHING like how he used to look like. He doesn’t even have white hair!

THAT DOESN’T COUNT!

Look, these are the different versions of Batman we’ve gotten over the years:

Notice anything?
SIMILARITIES!
Sure, some details are different, but it’s recognizable as Batman.

If I wasn’t told the reboot Dante was supposed to be Dante, I never would have guessed!

But let’s put aside how they ruined the main character.

The REAL problem is how there’s no REASON for a reboot.

Let’s grab those 4 reasons again:

  1. Maybe the latest outings of the franchise are badly received and thus writing anything associated with it will automatically be badly received otherwise.- Well that obviously isn’t the case, Devil May Cry is quite a succesful series, where practically only one was seen as “bad”.
  2. Maybe they wrote themselves into a corner which makes writing an interesting and satisfying story increasingly difficult.- Nope, they introduced a new character in the latest game for the sole purpose of more interesting story arcs.
  3. Maybe they developed the characters in such a wrong direction that they can’t fix it unless they start over.- That already happened. Yet they STILL pulled it off. It’s called Devil May Cry 3, the prequel that brought back life into the series.
  4. Or maybe the franchise has been long dead and thus needs to be revived into the current generation.- Last game was made in 2008! That’s PRETTY recent!

And even then, when you got a reboot, that should mean the discontinuation of it’s previous incarnation.

Hence why you don’t see Merchandise of Tim Burton’s Batman instead of Dark Knight’s.

That’s understandable, I mean you’d only confuse the market if you keep two versions of the same franchise in the same media.

Then WHY is the Dante from the PREVIOUS incarnation of Devil May Cry in Marvel vs Capcom 3, a RECENT 2011 game!

See, it doesn’t make any sense.

My point is that people shouldn’t quickly jump on the reboot bandwagon just because some works have done great things with them.

Starting over takes skill to do right, and can be impressive. But you know what is more impressive? Continuing with your work and do THAT right.

I really hope reboots will be less abundant in the next few years. As DmC pretty much just showed how not to do a reboot.

Oh wait, the creators said it was a prequel.

No no, wait, now they said it’s a reboot.

Nah, wait, it’s DEFINITELY a prequel.

Wait, so it IS a reboot?

Published by Huy Minh Le

Huy Minh Le is a Video Game Enthusiast, Movie Lover, Writer, Content Marketeer and regular TvTropes reader! His studies in Game Design, Art, and Writing has led to a very creative, yet analytical mind.

2 thoughts on “Game Philosophy: Reboots

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