Sony (or Capcom, or someone) announced today that the PlayStation 3 will be playing host to “remastered” PSP games up-rezzed into high-definition, a bit of news that has me torn. On one hand, it’s nice that Monster Hunter Portable 3rd will probably be making its way to the U.S. now (since Capcom USA has all but said point-blank that it won’t be coming over here on PSP). On the other hand, it’s not really Monster Hunter Portable 3rd if it’s on PS3, now, is it?

I feel like the PSP, for all its shortcomings, has helped instigate a slow but welcome shift in portable game design thinking. After all these years, developers are beginning to make more and more portable games that exist in their own right: Playing to the strengths of mobile play, throwing aside the standards of console design, and boasting respectably deep and substantial content despite running on relatively modest hardware. But while the likes of MHP3, Crisis Core, and Peace Walker are wonderful on PSP, I worry that they’re going to feel dull, repetitive, and underwhelming on a high-definition console.

I suppose the idea behind the HD PSP games is to entice western and Japanese audiences into changing their playing habits somewhat: Americans and Europeans eschew the PSP, and Japanese gamers tend to ignore PS3. The ideal result of this switch-over would be westerners playing PSP titles they’d normally ignore as their Japanese counterparts revisit portable favorites on their neglected consoles.

On the other hand, it could just result in a bunch of games that look underwhelming and play awkwardly next to their proper console counterparts and everyone will be sad and lose money. But maybe that’s just my pro-portable bias speaking.

16 thoughts on “Demaster

  1. Buh. I was looking forward to MHP3. I don’t have a PS3. And of course I was good and happy to be able to turn off my psp any time I needed to stop for a while.

  2. I dunno, I’m kinda looking forward to the idea of playing something like Portable Ops or Peace Walker with a control scheme that doesn’t absolutely suck.

  3. Peace Walker on PS3 would be great for me. I really want to get into that game but I can’t deal with the lack of a right analog stick. I’d happily buy it again to be able to play with a Dualshock and MGS4-style controls.

  4. I think it could be a positive thing, I’ve long liked the old Game Boy attachements for consoles (Super Game Boy, Game Boy Player) so this is kinda like them only without the hardware. And you presumably can’t flick from couch to bus while retaining the same save game, so that part kinda sucks. Part of this could because my eyes aren’t particularly brilliant and I prefer playing things on a big screen, but if I were part of the target market I’d be welcoming this news.

  5. I’ve been wanting them to do something like this for years. If only War of the Lions or the Persona stuff had a chance of getting this treatment. Though now that I think of it, I did hear they were working on cleaning up War of the Lions for a higher resolution release on the iPad. Maybe they could repurpose those assets for one of these?

  6. Ideally, I’d love to see the PSP games still get a physical release and just include a download code for the PS3 version. Of course I’m most likely just dreaming, as Sony seems to be intent on killing the UMD format. But dammit if those PSP game packages aren’t the nicest looking things to collect.

  7. I wrote about this long ago, but what made Monster Hunter such a success in Japan, (and by extension, the PSP) was its focus on ad-hoc play, which worked really well in high population density areas like Tokyo.

    Monster Hunter is the game it is when played socially, but if you’re not physically near people with PSPs all the time you’ll never have that experience. Hence its lackluster showing in America.

    What I would look for in the success of this series is not the HD, but the online. If it’s in a format that Americans are used to, it might work?

  8. I have to give this development a selfish thumbs-up, just because I have no PSP (DS fills my portable gaming time, plus I don’t like to sink money into more than one console in roughly the same space) but there are several high-profile PSP games I certainly wouldn’t mind checking out. Assuming they come out at a reasonable price point, anyway.

  9. Not sure how I feel about this overall. Part of me would love to play some PSP games on the big screen without all the horrible color dithering that one tends to get when not operating on the LCD screen. But I doubt they’d just let me play my current library, and I’m not at all down with buying those games again unless there is a marked improvement.

    As for portability concerns, I can certainly see how some games just won’t work as originally intended. And as some have mentioned, quite a few games will benefit simply from the addition of a second analog stick, which is something that has been leveled at a huge number of PSP games from day one.

    Anyway, it can’t hurt to try, given the relative success of the PS2 spruce-up campaign. It’s an especially good deal for anyone that hasn’t already purchased the games in question, as long as portability is not a concern.

  10. We’ll see. I feel like it’ll be easier to find people to play with on console than on my PSP, so that’s a plus.

  11. Great for gamers, but it’s sad that the PSP has had a such rough life especially in North America.

  12. I’ll chime in if only to be the one voice agreeing with Parish. This is a lame development guys. One, as he said it discourages the proper approach of “this isn’t just a game, this is a PORTABLE game. How do I maximize value?” Two, anybody expecting things like Mega Man: Powered Up! is living in fantasy world.

  13. I suspect this is Sonys first move in setting up the NGP, a handheld that can also be used as a console. Or at least that’s what I hope it’ll be.

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