With the advancement of game engines like Unreal Engine 5, video games are blurring the lines between real and CG more than ever before. But along with the trend of making everything look the best it can, there has grown an interest in taking games back to their roots in both graphics and gameplay. Fan-made demakes have been surfacing on the internet for a few years now, and they show no sign of slowing down.
Demakes not only change the aesthetic of a video game, but they can also change the actual gameplay too. Some demakes even change the genre of a game completely, while still keeping the original somewhat intact. These demakes can offer a new perspective on a franchise and also give players a nostalgic trip back to their gaming origins.
10 Go Back To The Series’ Roots With The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
The Legend of Zelda series has grown over the years, expanding setting and making constant gameplay innovations. With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo created a magnum opus, using the latest tech to make the best possible experience for fans.
Porting Breath of the Wild staples like crafting, cooking, and degrading weapons to a top-down NES-style game would be a nostalgic trip for fans. Getting to see all these elements rendered in the style of the original Zelda game would also be a fun way to see how far the series has come.
9 What If Call Of Duty Played Like DOOM 1993
Call of Duty has led the way as the premier shooting franchise since COD 4: Modern Warfare pushed it beyond its competitors. However, Call of Duty owes its success to the likes of DOOM and Wolfenstein. These games set a high standard and got the ball rolling for the FPS genre in the mid to late 90s.
Sending Call of Duty back to the era of the 90s shooters would be a nostalgic experience for FPS genre veterans. It would also serve as a lesson in the history of FPS games for the newer generations who have only ever seen the 3D world of shooters. The shooting mechanics would stay the same and the multiplayer action would be fast and frantic, making the game a little less serious and more fun.
8 Super Smash Bros Pixel Brawl!
One of the most successful and popular fighting game franchises on the market is Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. The game has grown to feature dozens upon dozens of characters from both Nintendo and third-party franchises since its debut on the Nintendo 64.
While Super Smash Bros is great fun in the 3D space, taking it back to a 2D, 32-bit art style would add a new challenge for players. Seeing pixilated renderings of all the characters featured in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would also be great, as many of the characters have only ever been rendered in 3D.
7 Dirt Rally As An Old-School Racer
Dirt Rally offers players an extremely realistic and challenging driving experience that heavily relies upon knowing the course and having fast reflexes. Demaking this into a Sega Genesis-era racing game would be nostalgic and provide a new challenge for experienced racing fans.
Before the technology could catch up, driving games featured a 2D car in the foreground and the road zooming underneath as if on a conveyer belt. Players could only see what was right in front of the car as there was no draw distance, so a Dirt Rally demake would really test a player’s ability to respond quickly.
6 Horizon Zero Dawn As Top-Down RPG
Horizon Zero Dawn gives players a massive open world filled with quests, collectibles, and a wide range of machine animals to do battle with. While the game is beautifully presented in 4k as a third-person action-adventure game, it would work extremely well as a top-down RP like the original Legend of Zelda.
Pixilated renderings of the Tallnecks, Thunderjaws, Watchers, and every other machine life-form wandering a beautifully downgraded environment would add a new dimension to the game. The top-down limited maneuverability would have players finding new strategies to tackle these enemies.
5 Until Dawn Would Make A Great FMV Game
Playing Until Dawn feels very much like playing a movie. With a Hollywood cast faithfully represented in-game, players made choices and directed the action towards numerous endings. Full-Motion Video games, or FMV games, were doing much the same thing back in the 80s and 90s.
These games featured pre-recorded live-action video sequences and had players reacting to prompts to carry on the action. Until Dawn is practically an FMV game already, but replacing rendered cutscenes with actual actors in live-action and giving it a good 1990s screen filter would really bring back the nostalgia.
4 Demon’s Souls Would Be Even Harder
The recent Demon’s Souls remake for the PS5 gave fans and newcomers a look at how beautiful and smooth the gameplay of a FromSoftware game could be. While the game is notoriously difficult, the crisp and smooth graphics and gameplay make it manageable.
Players love the challenge that Demon’s Souls offers, and sending the game back to early 90s graphics would increase that challenge significantly. A much more restricted range of movement would make dodging and parrying harder, but also more rewarding. Gothic pixel art renderings of the world and creatures would also add a new flavor to the Souls’ recipe for success.
The Halo series flourished with its semi-open-world levels, and full open world with Halo Infinite, but the game would also work well as a Metroid-Vania style of game. The Master Chief could still conquer the Covenant, but now he’d have to do it in two dimensions.
The game would certainly play much like the early Metroid games on the NES and Gameboy systems. The epic end-of-game driving sequences of the first couple Halo titles would be an absolute blast, playing out like a Sonic The Hedgehog level as the player speeds across the screen.
2 Could The Last Of Us Have The Same Emotional Impact?
The Last of Us is one of the best games of the last decade. It featured a post-apocalyptic world full of consequences and an emotional story that took gamers on a tumultuous ride. The third-person action game would translate well into an isometric style, similar to the original Fallout or the Diablo series.
While the cut-scenes that carried such emotional weight would lose some detail in a demake, the stellar voice acting would still be able to deliver. While here would still be something lost in the visual impact, a 32-bit or even 64-bit demake could find other ways of depicting The Last Of Us’s bleak and beautiful world.
1 Fallout 76 As An Isometric Open World Online Game
While Fallout 76 launched poorly, it has grown into a great online experience as the developers continue adding content and improving overall gameplay. Taking the series back to its isometric, turn-based roots would be an interesting way to demake Fallout 76.
The crafting and base-building elements would be toned down to be much simpler, and the vibrant, apocalyptic setting of West Virginia would look great in a late 90s pixilated form. Experiencing a shared world online with other players in that style would be a new experience worth stepping out of a vault for.