Is Xenoblade Chronicles (Switch) A Remake?

It isn’t often that a joke post would help to inspire some thought of discussion. And yet one showing Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition did provide some context that one might not consider when it comes to remakes.

Poor Xenoblade Chronicles really wants to be the dark horse of our comic...
Take with a mountain pile of salt…

Of course, one can easily argue how a random picture on social media can seem slightly… misguided. One can list off the reasons why games like Resident Evil 2 (RE2) Remake and Final Fantasy 7 Remake (FF7R) would curb stomp Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition into the pavement, but that’s beside the point. If the upcoming title were to tell us anything, it could be how these kinds of remakes tend to get overlooked from time to time, as many of us tend to have a different definition of what it means to see a remake of a previous title even if that classic happens to be fairly new in comparison to recent masterpieces.

Defining a remake

So how exactly would we redefine a remaster and a remake? That in itself is a discussion that can be mind-numbing depending on who you ask. To keep things as simple as possible, let’s take the Wikipedia definition and state it as the following:

A remake offers a newer interpretation of older work, characterized by updated or changed assets. A remake typically maintains the same story, genre, and fundamental gameplay ideas of the original work. The intent of a remake is usually to take an older game that has become outdated and update it for a new platform and audience. A remake may also include expanded stories, often to conform to the conventions of contemporary games or later titles in the same series in order to make a game marketable to a new audience.

We can look towards the recent RE2 and FF7R releases and say that is how you remake a game. To take the original concept and spin it on its head to provide a whole new experience whole retelling the previous story. You either have an unforgettable experience if done right, while other times, you have titles that are unable to capture that same magic or miss the point of the original entirely.

But then you have those other kinds of titles that go for a more 1:1 feel. Burrowing one other term from Wikipedia, we can call these games:

Enhanced Remakes

You can probably point towards a good number of games that fall under this category. Games that might be seen as a remaster when really they are a remake but play almost exactly like the original game. Titles like Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen, Ocarina of Time on the 3DS, and the first Resident Evil Remake on the Gamecube. They are masterpieces in their own right as they capture what it was like to play the game back when they first came out, but to enhance the overall experience. Whether if it is through improving the visuals, modernizing a classic, or, in the case of Ocarina of Time, improving the performance of the game while taking the flaws of the original and making them better in the newer version.  I.E., Water Temple.

The right way to innovate on an older title.
Source: Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (3DS)

And it is within this standpoint where Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition falls into. While the game will play how it originally did, the game itself is running on a whole new engine. The name of that engine itself is difficult to say, but it is likely to be the same engine we saw with Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country.  Not only will we see updated visuals for the world and our characters, but we also have new assets and new content coming to the game as well, including the cut content on the Bionis Shoulder as the new “end game.”

If anything else, we could look at Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition to its original as some would look at Link’s Awakening to its original. A bit more extreme, but it is addressing the original’s flaws and making them better, that is more than just a remaster.

Is it fair to compare Xenoblade to Resident Evil and Final Fantasy?

Probably not. No.

Chances are that by the time we get to the end of the year, Xenoblade Chronicles is likely going to see itself overshadowed by other remakes we got this year. Resident Evil 3 might not get the same amount of love Resident Evil 2 got, but it likely will see more people looking towards it in comparison to Xenoblade.

Alot more work went into Xenoblade Chronicles than just a simple tune up.
Source: Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition

But this is where we circle back to this whole conversation about, “What constitutes a remake?” as it’s clear a line is there, and many feel like you have to be on one side or the other about it. To some, not considering the upcoming Xenoblade, a remake would be like considering those other titles under the “Enhanced Remakes” section to not be a remake either. At that time, though, because of how recent Xenoblade came out, it is understandable that some might not look at the Definitive Edition and question how you can call it a remake when it looks the same as it did previously. And yes, while Xenoblade Chronicles came out in 2010, that’s still fairly younger in comparison to games we got in the 90s.

The final question to ask will be if Xenoblade Chronicles will get some recognition by the time it comes out. Yeah, it could see itself overshadowed by the monster that is FF7R,  but there haven’t been that many other RPGs we got this year, such as Yakuza 7, Minecraft Dungeons, Wasteland 3, Nioh 2, to name a few. Who knows how The Avengers is going to turn out while Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was… a game. And there’s still Cyberpunk 2077 too… Yeah, if Xenoblade gets overlooked, apologies in advance.

Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is coming out on May 29, 2020.

So what do you think?

Would you consider Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition a remake or a remaster? Should the game see the same recognition as a remake as other titles listed in the article? And what hopes do you have for the future of the series? Leave your thoughts down below, and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles on it and other titles in the gaming world.

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Michael Solseth

How’s it going everyone, I’m Mike Sol and I am one of many contributing writers to Culture of Gaming. You can usually find me playing some of the latest games to come out, although I tend to avoid anything related to sports or strategy. I enjoy the big three and all the games on them but my main console is the Xbox One. I don’t have a specific preference in gaming, but any game that has fun action and beating up waves of enemies is usually my cup tea. If you ever want me to game with me or want me to write about something of interest, feel free to hit me up. I hope to have a personal blog set up soon, but my loyalties shall remain with CoG.

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