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Creative Bloq
Creative Bloq
Lewis Packwood

Best upcoming game remakes and remasters

Best upcoming game remakes and remasters; Mario wields a large hammer.

The best upcoming game remakes and remasters can bring classic games back to life, and it feels like there’s something of a boom in these revamped retro games at the moment. Undoubtedly that’s partly driven by publishers hoping to cash in on the nostalgia of older players, serving up reheated content that has been a proven hit in the past for the best games consoles available now. 

There’s also a sense that video games uniquely benefit from remakes, as the medium’s technology moves at such a relentless pace that games released just a decade ago can now seem positively archaic to modern eyes. For example, we recently spoke with the team behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake about how Unreal Engine 5 is revamping this cult classic. There are also new NVIDIA AI tools designed to make remasters easier.

I’ve sifted through the deluge of remake announcements to come up with what I think are the cream of the crop, the games that are most deserving of a bit of spit and polish and another chance to shine. Some are bona fide blockbusters, like Max Payne and Silent Hill 2, while others like Shadows of the Damned fall more into the cult classic category, but all are worthy of your attention. 

Best upcoming game remakes and remasters

Below are my personal picks of the best upcoming video game remakes and remasters, coming to PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and PC. Keep in mind, remasters tend to focus on visual upscaling and performance improvements while remakes are rebuilt on new tech like Unreal Engine 5, feature new controls and even rework the gameplay; read our Resident Evil 4 Remake review for an example of a fantastic remake.

1. Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster

Star Wars: Dark Forces remains one of the standout shooters from the 1990s, and it's coming back very soon. (Image credit: Nightdive Studios / Atari)

Publisher Nightdive Studios Developer Nightdive Studios Platform PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch Players 1

Due for release on 28th February 2024, the remaster of Star Wars: Dark Forces by Atari-owned Nightdive Studios may well be out by the time you read this. Nightdive Studios was behind the excellent System Shock remake from 2023, and the developer has also launched a number of well-received remasters in recent years, including Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition, Quake II and the first three Turok games. Given the studio’s pedigree, my hopes are high that this Dark Forces remaster will deliver.

Star Wars: Dark Forces was originally released for PC in 1995, just a couple of years after id Software’s genre-defining Doom had caused an explosion of interest in first-person shooters, thus prompting a deluge of copycat first-person shooter games from other studios.

Dark Forces stood out from the crowd, partly because of its technical advances. For example, it introduced the ability to look up and down, which is something we take for granted in first-person shooters, but which was an excitingly novel concept at the time. More importantly, it had a cracking good story, centring around the mercenary Kyle Katarn, who discovers the Empire’s Dark Troopers project while on a mission for the Rebel Alliance. 

2. Max Payne 1 & 2

Remedy's Northlight engine is one of the best dev tools around; so Max Payne 3 (old screen here) will look beautiful. (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Publisher Rockstar Games Developer Remedy Entertainment Platform PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S Players TBC

Before the debut of Alan Wake and Control, Remedy Entertainment was most well known for the Max Payne series, which saw the titular hard-boiled detective gunning down various ne’er-do-wells in slow motion. The first game from 2001 came out not long after The Matrix had appeared in cinemas, when ‘bullet time’ was very much part of the zeitgeist, and being able to pull off Neo-style balletic gunplay in the comfort of your own home was a thrill like no other.

This remake of the first two games in the series was greenlit after Remedy reached an agreement with Rockstar Games, who created Max Payne 3 and whose parent company Take-Two Interactive purchased the rights to the Max Payne IP many moons ago. The deal was announced in 2022, and it appears development is still at a very early stage. But we do know that both of the first two games will be released together as one title, and that they’re being developed using Remedy’s impressive in-house Northlight engine. Given what a graphical triumph Remedy’s Alan Wake 2 was on its release last year, it’s likely that this one will be something of a stunner.

3. Crazy Taxi

Sega has plans to launch full remakes of its classic games, and Crazy Taxi is my pick of the teased releases. (Image credit: Sega)

Publisher Sega Developer Sega Platform TBC Players TBC

Very few of Sega’s classic franchises get an update these days, with the exception of the annual outings of Sonic the Hedgehog, which is why many scramble to but the best retro consoles. (Read our Sega Mega Drive 2 Mini review, for example.) So, along with many other gamers of a certain age, I was absolutely delighted when Sega dropped the bombshell in December 2023 that five of its classic series would be returning with new entries or reboots: namely Golden Axe, Shinobi, Jet Set Radio, Streets of Rage and, most importantly in my opinion, Crazy Taxi.

Crazy Taxi was one of the absolute highlights of the Sega Dreamcast catalogue, with the home version vastly improving on the arcade original, and dashing pell-mell to Tower Records with The Offspring blaring from my speakers remains one of my all-time favourite gaming memories. 

There’s little information on this new Crazy Taxi title, like whether it will be a reboot of the original game or a totally new entry, but the snippets of gameplay footage shown so far certainly evoke the San Francisco-style setting of the first game. All we know is that Sega creative officer Takaya Segawa has said it will be a 'Triple-A title', so it seems there’s been some well-deserved investment in this much-missed franchise.

4. Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 is an iconic horror game first released on PlayStation 2. The remake is eagerly anticipated. (Image credit: Konami)
Game background
(Image credit: Konami)

Silent Hill 2 has received surprisingly little love over the years, with its last appearance being as part of the poorly received Silent Hill HD Collection in 2012, which featured some haphazardly updated visuals and controversial new voice acting.

Publisher Konami Developer Bloober Team Platform PC, PS5 Players 1

Konami surprised everyone by announcing a deluge of Silent Hill games in October 2022, a decade after the last new entry in the series and some seven years after the publisher cancelled the promising Silent Hills, which was being developed by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and horror director Guillermo Del Toro.

The new games announced in the survival horror franchise include Silent Hill f and Silent Hill: Townfall, but perhaps the most exciting news was of an upcoming remake of Silent Hill 2, which remains the highest rated title in the franchise, according to Metacritic. 

The Silent Hill 2 remake is being developed in Unreal Engine 5 by Bloober Team, the horror aficionados behind Observer and Blair Witch, and the first gameplay footage was revealed in January, with the game set for release later in 2024. The trailer worried some fans thanks to its focus on combat, seeing as the original was more about atmospheric dread, but Bloober Team has responded by saying that it’s not representative of the final experience. 

Time will tell whether the Silent Hill 2 remake lives up to the spirit of the 2001 original, but I am quietly confident that this will be an absolute banger. For now, you can get a tease of what to expect by downloading the free game Silent Hill: The Short Message, developed by HexaDrive and available for PlayStation 5.

5. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door 

A delay to Nintendo Switch 2 is made easier to accept knowing a Paper Mario remake is coming this year. (Image credit: Nintendo)

Publisher Nintendo Developer Nintendo Platform Nitendo Switch Players TBC

Fans have clamoured for the return of this game for what seems like forever. It’s widely regarded as the best entry in the Paper Mario RPG series, but currently the only way to play it is by buying the original 2004 GameCube disc (along with a GameCube or Wii to play it on), and prices have skyrocketed in recent years.

So you can imagine the fans' delight when Nintendo announced a remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door in late 2023, with a release date set for sometime this year and it's exclusive to Nintendo Switch (read our guide to Nintendo Switch versus Nintendo Switch OLED to see which is best for you). 

The game has been given a complete graphical overhaul, although it appears the original character designs and voice acting have been retained. Hopefully the first game’s legendarily dark humour will also remain untouched – there can’t be that many Nintendo games that feature references to gallows and organised crime. With rumours of Nintendo Switch 2 being delayed until 2025, this release could see demand for the current handheld on the rise.

6. The Witcher Remake

The original Witcher game is being remade using Unreal Engine 5, rumoured to be an open world RPG. (Image credit: CD Projekt Red)
Developer background: Fool's Theory
(Image credit: Fool's Theory)

Founded in 2015, Fool’s Theory has helped out Larian Studios on development of Baldur’s Gate III and Divinity: Original Sin 2, as well as producing its own original games in the form of Seven: The Days Long Gone and The Thaumaturge. 

Publisher CD Projekt RED Developer Fool’s Theory Platform TBC Players 1

Given the enormous success of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt – which by 2023 had reached sales of more than 50 million – this upcoming remake of the first Witcher game from CD Projekt RED is more than highly anticipated. For a quick look at why people love this game, read our feature on the art of The Witcher.

But CD Projekt RED isn’t handling the remake itself – the studio already has more than enough on its plate, what with working on a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 in addition to a brand new entry in the Witcher series, not to mention Project Hadar, an unannounced original IP. So development of The Witcher Remake has instead been handed off to Fool’s Theory, a Polish studio headed by Jakub Rokosz, who was a senior quest designer on The Witcher III. 

Fool’s Theory is rebuilding the 2007 The Witcher game from scratch in Unreal Engine 5, and CD Projekt RED has promised it will be a "modern reimagining" that will feature open-world gameplay. It’s likely to be some way off, however: the remake was only announced in late 2022, and Fool’s Theory is still in the early stages of development. 

7. Shadows of the Damned: Remastered

A cult classic, the original Shadow of the Damned was created by Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami. (Image credit: Grasshopper Manufacture)

Publisher TBC Developer Grasshopper Manufacture Platform TBC Players TBC

Shadows of the Damned is the very definition of a cult classic. The result of a collaboration between Goichi Suda (aka Suda51) and Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami, it sees the demon hunter Garcia Hotspur journey through hell to save his girlfriend from the Lord of Demons, in an adventure where the dial rarely drops below ludicrous.

Beloved by critics and fans of Grasshopper’s idiosyncratic titles, which include the No More Heroes franchise, the 2011 game nevertheless sold poorly, which perhaps makes it a surprise that Grasshopper chose to announce a remaster in June 2023. Still, it’s a welcome surprise, and hopefully Garcia will win the hearts of a few more fans this time around. Few other details have been announced of the remaster, however, and it seems like it could still be some way off.

8. Beyond Good & Evil: 20th Anniversary Edition

To mark 20 years since Beyond Good & Evil released on PS2 and Xbox, the game is getting a detailed remaster. (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Publisher Ubisoft Developer TBC Platform TBC Players TBC

The protracted development of Beyond Good and Evil 2 has become somewhat infamous, with the game having been originally announced back in 2008, yet some 16 years later it still doesn’t have a firm release date.

In the meantime, this year we’ll get a chance to play the original once more with the release of Beyond Good & Evil: 20th Anniversary Edition, the existence of which was leaked in 2023 after an unfinished version of the game was accidentally listed on the Xbox store and uploaded to the streaming service Ubisoft+. 

The publisher subsequently made an official announcement that the game would be released in early 2024, and according to the now-deleted Xbox store listing, it will feature "improved graphics, controls, and audio, along with brand-new autosave and cross-save features". 

Hopefully the remaster will give new players an idea of why Beyond Good & Evil was such a big deal in 2003, and why people are so invested in the idea of a sequel. At the time, the idea of a protagonist who shot pictures rather than pistols felt unlike anything else, and Beyond Good & Evil’s world of anthropomorphic space animals still feels deliciously weird.

9. Broken Sword - Shadow of the Templars: Reforged

The original Broken Sword featured 30,000 incredible hand-drawn sprites and backgrounds, all being upscaled. (Image credit: Revolution Software)

Publisher Revolution Software Developer Revolution Software Platform Mobile, Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S Players 1

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars was recently voted to be the Best Game Ever Made in Yorkshire and The North, and it spawned a whole series of acclaimed point and click adventures, the most recent of which was Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse in 2013. 

Revolution Software announced in August 2023 that a sixth game, Broken Sword: Parzival’s Stone, was in development, but its release would be preceded by a remaster of the original Broken Sword in early 2024. This new version will add significantly improved 4K visuals, along with enhanced audio. 

Studio head Charles Cecil has talked about how the tiny York-based studio has used AI to upscale the 30,000 or so hand-drawn sprites in the game, and they have also modified a handful of culturally insensitive scenes from the 1996 original, like softening the "stereotypically mean" Syrian carpet seller.

10. Clock Tower

Clock Tower is a reason why remasters exist; never released outside of Japan we can all soon get a chance to play it. (Image credit: Limited Run Games / WayForward)

Publisher Limited Run Games / WayForward Developer WayForward Platform Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC Players 1

You might not have heard of Clock Tower, but it’s something of a cult classic survival-horror point and click adventure that was originally released on the Super NES in Japan in 1995. Director Hifumi Kono was inspired by the horror films of Dario Argento, and the game sees the character Jennifer attempting to escape a mansion while being pursued by a murderer wielding an outsized pair of scissors.

Three sequels to the game made their way to the west, but the original was never officially released outside of Japan. However, American studio WayForward is currently working on an enhanced version of the first game, which will feature new animated cutscenes and a vocal theme song, but will retain the pixel-art looks of the original. It’s being made using Limited Run Games’ Carbon Engine, a tool that enables older games to be ported to modern platforms, and it’s due out this year. 

11. Epic Mickey: Rebrushed

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

Publisher THQ Nordic / Disney Games Developer Purple Lamp Platform  PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC  Players 1

Game designer Warren Spector is returning for the remaster of his surrealist 3D platform adventure, Epic Mickey - imagine if Tim Burton got his hands on Mickey and turned the world inside out, allowing you to paint your way out of trouble.

The original game was a visual treat, a creative stylised reinvention of the Disney art style, but it had issues with its controls and game camera.The Refurbished bit in this new release aims to tackle those issues while updating the visuals. As well as being able to again meet Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Disney's original star, and play as Mickey the Mouse, to affect the world with his magic paintbrush - paint to create, thinner to alter – the new remaster will feature new moves such as dash, ground pound and sprinting.

The original game became a cult classic amongst fans, mainly due to its art direction and inventive use of the rules of creating traditional 2D animation - being able to repaint the world to progress is a really interesting concept.

Best upcoming game remakes: frequent questions

What is a game remake?

Ground-up video game remakes have become more popular recently. A remake is when a developer makes substantial changes to update an old game, including using a new game engine, new models, new animation, re-recorded audio and even adding to gameplay content, design ideas and a rewritten script. These are modern interpretations of old games, not old games refreshed. 

What's a game remaster?

Game remasters are a more light touch way of bring a game up to date for a modern audience or to run on current game consoles. This will generally mean upscaling textures on models, stabalizing frame rates, refreshing audio and visual effects, as well as offering new control schemes. Remasters don't alter gameplay, pacing, scripts or models and aim to simply ensure an old game feels how we remember.

Why are games remade or remastered?

Some old games are considered masterpieces of design, ideas and gameplay and there's a growing desire to protect and restore these titles. Unlike films, comics and books, games are partly the result of the technology they were created for, when that technology is replaced old games can no longer be played. Remasters are the easiest way to enable old games to run on new hardware, often through emulation, remakes are a bolder approach, and aim rebuild classic games for modern audiences on new tech.

Are remakes and remasters legal?

Yes, if it's made and sold by the IP holder, otherwise, no. Fans often create their own remakes and remasters of classic games, but these are for personal use or proof of concept and not for resale. Some of these are so good an IP owner will hire a fan to work on a remaster, as happened with Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered and Sonic Mania, created by Christian 'Taxman' Whitehead. Some fan teams eventually become professional studios off the back of a love or remastering old games.

What do I need to play a game remake or remaster?

Game remakes and remasters are created to run on the latest game consoles and PCs, including the best gaming laptops. Take a look at our guide to the best graphics cards if you're looking to upgrade. Some remasters are made specifically for the new generation of retro consoles, such as the Evercade EXP, which is getting a remaster of Nintendo N64 game Glover.

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