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Why remakes have inferior graphics compared to the original?

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Really, what’s the story? I suppose hand-drawn, classic 2D graphics is dying, which could be one of the explanations, but still… I thought about in the light of today’s news that more screenshots of Day of the Tentacle will be revealed later today.


Monkey Island 1

You can’t compare the graphics of 2 games in a 20 years span… Well, we can! The first one was a revolutionary, “near-art” concept for its time, and the second one is just a so-so. Higher resolution means little.


Monkey Island 2

Monkey Island 2 is probably the closest thing that came to mimicking the original, but it still feels one step below the art of the original especially in terms of lightning, and somewhat “stiff”, resembling the Flash-based graphics.


Larry 1

Yes, compared to the VGA version it’s in SVGA, but I deliberately added Larry 7 in there - because it’s not better than those graphics, and it SHOULD be, more than 15 years after it.


Broken Sword 1 and 2

Dave Gibbons’ portraits added nothing to the charisma of the original graphics. They got somewhere better in the second game.


Gabriel Knight 1

The same applies to GK1 - not only the “wooden” portrait, but backgrounds felt more static, and less “live” than in the original.


Grim Fandango remake is not worse in terms of graphics, but it’s just a partial overhaul, so it cannot be really included here. One could argue that the only one complete remakes that got it right, were the indie facelifts of King’s Quest & Quest for Glory games by AGD Interactive.

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

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Interesting, you post this the same day a remaster for Day of the Tentacle is announced! :p

This is debatable. Honestly, I much prefer the visuals from the remaster of Monkey Island 2. I also don’t see what’s wrong with the Director’s Cut version of Broken Sword, I like the new portraits!
However I think the Gabriel Knight remaster is just plain awful, with those CGI-like graphics.

The thing with a high definition remaster is that it shows every little detail, while pixel art leaves some to the imagination. It’s especially an issue with the characters.

I can see it with my own game, some people say they don’t like the art style because of the way I draw. (Which is very far from perfect, I know! But I also know I would have less comments like this if I used pixel art)

When it’s high definition, you can clearly perceive the style of the drawer.

Also, nostalgia is involved in how we perceive it…

     

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Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, both original MI also look better to me but I doubt many people playing them for the first time now would use the retro mode.
The Larry remake didn’t look bad in screenshots, I think the problem were the animations.

     
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COWCAT - 23 October 2015 10:45 AM

When it’s high definition, you can clearly perceive the style of the drawer.

And the style is usually awful. Scrap that, there is no style (in the examples above). Just a cheap attempt to render low-res into hi-res without the need for any creativity.

-The way the stars are seen all around and below the deck on the MI2 made it magical, now there’s just a blur of light.

-The vivid and pleasing contrast of yellow light and moonlight blue in the MI1 town is replaced by dull and gloomy tones, as if mixing bright colors on a paint palette.

-Larry 1’s grimy, seedy bar now looks like what someone who had never been into a bar before would think it looks like. It looks like a cross between a western saloon and a college fraternity den, with a mix of post-millenial hipster characters. Utterly lacking personality, cluttered and with no sense of depth, making it look like a hidden object game.

It’s bad art - there’s no matter of opinion about it.

     
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Oscar - 23 October 2015 12:48 PM
COWCAT - 23 October 2015 10:45 AM

When it’s high definition, you can clearly perceive the style of the drawer.

And the style is usually awful. Scrap that, there is no style (in the examples above). Just a cheap attempt to render low-res into hi-res without the need for any creativity.

The way the stars ares seen all around and below the deck on the MI2 made it magical, now there’s just a blur of light.

The vivid and pleasing contrast of yellow light and moonlight blue in the MI1 town is replaced by dull and gloomy tones, as if mixing bright colors on a paint palette.

Larry 1’s grimy, seedy bar now looks like what someone who had never been into a bar before would think it looks like. It looks like a cross between a western saloon and a college fraternity den, with a mix of post-millenial hipster characters. Utterly lacking personality.

It’s bad art - there’s no matter of opinion about it.

Well if you consider them bad art, that kinda reassures me because I personally think they’re gorgeous and some people say my art is bad too lol

In the end it’s all a matter of tastes. The artists behind the remakes had to make choices. And some people like them, some don’t.

(I think the upcoming remake of FF7 will be another huge debate… The direction they’re taking already doesn’t please me!)

What high definition hand drawn adventure games would you consider to have great art, then? (to me the clear answer is the Daedelic games… The Whispered World and Deponia for example)

     

Single developer of Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventure. Available on PC, iOS, Android, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch !

Currently working on a new classic adventure mixing genres in “never been seen ways” - Project Brok. Watch me developing it on Twitch! https://www.twitch.tv/cowcatgames

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Oscar - 23 October 2015 12:48 PM


It’s bad art - there’s no matter of opinion about it.

Yes there is. Personally I quite like how the background art on Larry remake turned out. It’s just that the animation style and the character design is pretty damned lazy on it, so as a whole the art is IMO more of a mixed bag. It still is the best version of LSL1 (though in the end that’s not much IMO, as the game itself hasn’t really endured time).

On those MI remakes though, the use of color is much more stronger on the original 256 color art. The same thing with Gabriel Knight remake. MI1 suffers from horrible character design as well, but they all do suffer a bit from a tad boring use of color.

     
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Good timing with this discussion, because I have just started to play the remake of the first Monkey island game,I am playing in the classic mode. The answer to the question is quite simple, adventure games in the early 90´s had decent budget and could afford the best artist, designers etc.. These days the remakes are made quicky just to try and earn some money by using known titles. The graphics are lifeless, lack details etc. just look at the first picture from the Secret of Monkey island, it feels so alive with great lighting and compare it to the lifeless look of the remake.

     
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Well I don’t know about the budgets (I’m not so sure the original Monkey Island had such a big budget!), but I have to agree the new version looks lifeless and dull.
The remake of the second one does look better IMO

     

Single developer of Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventure. Available on PC, iOS, Android, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch !

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The remake of MI1 is an abomination, it looks lifeless and dull. Character design is also quite horrible.

For MI2, it’s more nuanced, I prefer the original because I feel that the original MI2 had really great graphics for the time and really had its own style ... But, the remake is not all bad, it’s much better than MI1’s remake and I can understand how some people would prefer it.

For Larry, I think I still prefer the VGA version but might be pure nostalgia, would have to compare other screens (I haven’t played either of them for a while)..

I really like the portrait by Dave Gibbons in Broken Sword actually…

As for Gabriel Knight 1, well, I’m sorry to say but I rather dislike anything I’ve ever seen from Phoenix Online Studio (still have shudders thinking about the weird teeth from Moebius)... I also think that GK1 was the GK game that least needed a remake (GK3 would have been much better)

     
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COWCAT - 23 October 2015 12:53 PM

What high definition hand drawn adventure games would you consider to have great art, then? (to me the clear answer is the Daedelic games… The Whispered World and Deponia for example)

Assuming high definition is anything above 640x480 and we’re talking about 2D games in the third person, here are a few I like.

Touche: Adventures of the Fifth Musketeer

Samorost 2

Discworld 2

Gray Matter

What Makes you Tick: A Stitch in Time (this actually IS a flash-based game, so there’s no excuse for Larry Reloaded to look like one)

     
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I haven’t played Moebius yet although I backed it.

But I do agree it’s a shame they intend to stick with that lifeless CGI rendering instead of doing lively 2D hand drawn art. Especially for Gabriel Knight 1. The new art is totally different from the original one, and I have no intention to play it just because of that.

I enjoyed Gray Matter but didn’t like the art too much either. (isn’t it CGI? it sure does look like it)

Ahhhhh Discworld 2 Heart  Heart  Heart  Heart Eyes

     

Single developer of Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventure. Available on PC, iOS, Android, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch !

Currently working on a new classic adventure mixing genres in “never been seen ways” - Project Brok. Watch me developing it on Twitch! https://www.twitch.tv/cowcatgames

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GK1 remake is pretty good though. Graphically it’s a bit bland and I’d hoped they would have take more color ques from the original art, but as far the game itself goes, it’s not bad at all (and this is coming from some one who absolutely hated Moebius). There’s some small things in it, like some reduntant added puzzles and some streamlined gameplay (like the removed ability to visit some locations starting from the first day), but as such I’d think anyone picking up GK1 the first time will propably like it quite a bit. The art is mostly okay as well IMO, despite not as stylish or interesting as it’s on the original.

     
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(Sorry if the images linked break the forums for you, I have no idea how to resize them.)

This post is right up my alley, seen that I’m playing through MI2 Special Edition in its entirety for the first time (I played the original way back in the days).

I don’t like crapping on people’s hard work but yes, there is quite the quality disconnect between the original and the Special Edition. The explanation is quite simple: the original had Steve Purcell on concept and background art, animation, etc. Doesn’t get much better than that. In my humble opinion, his concept sketch from ages ago:

...is miles above the finished art in MI2Se. BUT, big BUT here, I personally don’t think the guys who did MI2Se were bad artists - it all just seems a bit rushed. My opinion (and I have nothing to back this with) is that they had very little time and had to cut a lot of corners quality-wise. Otherwise stuff like the Voodoo Lady’s head being cringe-inducingly bigger than Guybrush’s never would have made the final cut, I think:

...And just to give you a taste of what could’ve been, some crazily talented German (I think) guy remade some MI2 backgrounds in 3d using the original textures and remapping them, and the results are breath-taking. I highly recommend you check them out if you haven’t already.

Special Uber Edition Remake 1
Special Uber Edition Remake 2

..and a bonus MI2 in 3D showcase in CryEngine

Now compare this one guy’s Voodoo Lady room with MISE2’s one. I think some business people wanted a quick buck and the art department had to come up with rushed stuff under the gun. Wouldn’t be the first time it happens…

Having said that, I’m so pumped for DoTT Remastered. Going by that screenshot it looks exactly like I hoped it would, can’t wait to get my hands on it - DF know their stuff, man.

 

     
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You’re comparing games with some of the best talent involved to games made by random strangers. I will never let go of how ugly the Monkey Island remaster looks.

My specific issue with the Larry remaster (although I think the art is very good) is that it looks a bit too muted and dull rather than kitschy and flashy. However, that’s completely due to nostalgia because my first glimpse of Larry looked like this:



I think there’s few decent excuses left for shoddy art after seeing Mark Crowe’s amazing work in Spaceventure though. It’s a problem of personnel - not production values.

     
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Yup, Shape Up or Slip Out is one of the ugliest Sierra games ever made. It’s just dreadful collection of textures snapped from photos and poorly constructed “whimsical” architechture.

     
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tomimt - 23 October 2015 05:36 PM

Yup, Shape Up or Slip Out is one of the ugliest Sierra games ever made. It’s just dreadful collection of textures snapped from photos and poorly constructed “whimsical” architechture.

This is how I saw it: that was entirely the point. The hotel is meant to be an example of the terrible ‘luxury’ art-deco resorts sought out by rich American holidaymakers (and Larry). It’s not meant to be pretty.

     

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