Welcome back to our weekend feature, the PCG Q&A. Each week we ask our panelists a question about PC gaming, and we like to read your responses to that question in the comments as well. This week: which game would you like to see remastered or remade?
Jody Macgregor: Wing Commander: Privateer
I didn't play a lot of Elite or the other classic space games when I was young, but I played Privateer all the way to the wacky credits. You could ignore the plot completely and become a bounty hunter, a trader, or a pirate, taking endless randomized missions off the computers or just flying around searching for the secret pirate bases. My friends and I would pass the joystick back and forth between missions, and I wound up stuck with it the time a Kilrathi ship chased us away from a nav point and had to fly all the way to the next one at sub-light speed, toeing the afterburner to get some distance then absorbing a few hits on the rear shield until it powered up again. I repeated that for about an hour until I found some militia to chase the Kilrathi off. It was great. Give me Privateer in a resolution better than 320x200 and with some new voice actors and I'd do it all again.
Andy Chalk: Thief Gold/Thief II: The Metal Age
Thief. Thief Gold, specifically, but since this is all wishful thinking let's go for a Gold/Metal Age Superpack. With a few caveats: leave the audio alone—remaster it, punch it up a bit, but it was basically perfect out of the box so don't go replacing it with dubstep and a D-list celebrity cast. Don't throw in any silly super powers, like time slow or teleport or Steampunk Hadouken or whatever. Garrett's a thief, not a killer—if I want to murder people, I'll play Dishonored. And it's gotta be Stephen Russell doing the voicework. If it's not him, it's not Thief.
I guess what I'm saying is, don't mess with it—just pretty it up, make it run hassle-free on Windows 10, and hand it over. I will hand over my wallet in return.
Samuel Roberts: Jedi Academy
I'm a realistic kind of guy: Jedi Knight won't ever come back. So I'd settle for a remake of the most refined version of that Jedi dueling idea there is. I'd love a spruced up version of Jedi Academy that brings further life to its multiplayer scene, possibly featuring some playable characters from the newer films and new arenas. To be honest, though, I'd love to see any of my favourite Star Wars games remade or remastered: Rogue Squadron, KOTOR, X-Wing, Episode I Racer. I'm not fussy.
Steven Messner: Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far
Okay, sure, the real-time strategy genre is bursting with excellent World War 2 games like Company of Heroes, but Close Combat was a revelation for nine-year-old me. Up until then, games like Command and Conquer had taught me that my soldiers were little more than disposable cannon fodder. They weren't humans so much as fleshy drones willing to follow any orders I gave them—even to their death.
Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far, with its realistic modeling of stress and fatigue for each individual soldier in a squad, made me keenly aware of the horrors of the battlefield. During one fight I foolishly ordered several of my squads to rush an enemy machine gun nest. It was a bloodbath. But what instilled a knotted sense of guilt in me that I might never forget was how the few survivors I had were too emotionally battered by watching all of their friends die that they wouldn't accept any further orders. They huddled in ditches and behind broken tanks until the enemy executed them one by one. It was awful. I know that it sounds a bit masochistic that I'd want to relive that as a remastered experience, but I think Close Combat's modeling of battlefield trauma was years before its time. It'd be meaningful to see that kind of simulation in a modern game.
Tom Senior: Dune
I'd love a remaster or modern take on the old Dune adventure game released in 1992. The music and pixel art were incredibly evocative and I loved it at the time, but I'd love to see what artists working in a modern engine could do with that world. Outside of the books, the Dune universe has only really worked in games for me. I have a soft spot for the Lynch film, but bounced off the TV series. It feels like a game is the only way I'm going to get my Dune fix without just re-reading Frank Herbert's book again.
It would be tempting to turn it into an RPG, and you can imagine shooting weirding modules and calling worms in an open world environment, but I like the adventure game format. It's a talky world with lots of politics, and that's an aspect that the strategy games can't explore in great detail.
Joe Donnelly: Resident Evil 3
If you tilt your head, squint your eyes and scream ADAAAA! in the most ham-fisted voiceover you can muster, you can just about imagine what the long-awaited Resident Evil 2 remake looks like. Don't get me wrong: I'm really looking forward to reuniting with Claire and Leon and Mr X in modern day RE2—but what I'd really like to see is 1999's (poorly optimised in 2000/2001 on PC) Resi 3 revisited.
Imagine a reworked Jill Valentine kicking arse, firing off shiny Western Custom M37 rounds at the ever-persistent, STARS-murdering Nemesis as it ploughs through gates and doors at a moment's notice, giving me a heart attack all over again in the process. Yes please.
Perhaps Capcom is already considering an RE3 remake, assuming Resident Evil 2's return proves successful. If it is, reworking the plot to cut out companion character Carlos Oliveira would suit me just fine. He was a bit of a dick.
James Davenport: Black & White/Black & White 2
It's a damn shame there's no way to play the best god games ever made, AKA the only god games I've ever played. Too many years have passed since a game whispered my name at 3AM in the middle of a competition with myself to see how far I can toss my followers. I miss the clumsy incantation input where you have to wiggle your mouse around to cast spells, like fireballs or terrible storms. I want to pet my loyal creature in 4K so I can see how much they love me in high definition.
Truth is, I'm a terrible god, but the Black & White series made playing one fun, like an RTS where you can only influence the pieces on the board by training a big dumb animal to (sometimes) do your bidding or by earning the love or fear of people via the actions of a clumsy, disembodied hand. There's no way to play them without the original discs, and who knows how they'd work on modern systems? I just want them back. Sometimes a guy has to rain fire down on the sinners of the world, you know?
Tim Clark: Syndicate, and Destiny 1 possibly
Destiny 1 but for PC. Hahahaha. No, but I joke. (I don't.) *sobs*
I'd actually go for Syndicate, the strategy game that did awesome cyber raincoat massacre way before The Matrix was even a thing. I know it's been rebooted before, most recently in 2012 as a straight up shooter that was supposedly decent, but I'd love to see how the core concept would look with 2018's PC horsepower at a conscientious developer's disposal. The original Syndicate was one of my most formative PC experiences. I used to hang out a school friend's house who I barely liked just to keep that quartet of minigun-wielding agents cutting a swathe through those streets. Now imagine it with citizenry packed as thick as the zombies in They Are Billions, hover cars flocking the skies, and a skill tree for your agents the size of a giant redwood. Is that a shotgun in your pocket, or...