Video game mascots are a funny thing and each of the biggest console creators has their own approach. Nintendo has made iconic characters such as Mario, Link, and Luigi its pillars; for decades it’s kept them more or less the same and it’s an approach that's proven to be successful.
Microsoft with Xbox on the other hand took a less mascot-heavy approach. Though you could argue Master Chief is an unofficial Xbox Mascot of sorts, there’s no single face of Xbox.
PlayStation somewhat straddles the middle ground. Across the 90s and the company took an approach highly reminiscent of Nintendo, launching games that starred cartoonish and memorable characters immediately identifiable with the PlayStation brand, and recently these famous mascots have been making a triumphant return.
Rise of the remaster
As the years have gone on, PlayStation has started to slide more into Xbox territory and these days PlayStation mascots are less frequent and more along the lines of Nathan Drake.
Recently though, there’s been a bit of nostalgic fervor in gaming. We saw Nintendo seize upon it following the launch of Pokemon Go and the mini NES console with massive success. Xbox is arguably constantly benefiting from nostalgia via its backwards compatibility program.
It seems PlayStation is again taking a middle ground approach by resurrecting some of the iconic characters that proved so popular a couple of decades ago on PlayStation and PlayStation 2.
Ratchet and Clank made their grand return last years with not just a PlayStation 4 title, but a movie release too. Though the movie wasn’t a storming success, the game was well critically well-received and arguably the success of this relaunch has been a big factor in PlayStation’s decision to re-launch more mascot titles.
PaRappa the Rapper is the latest character to get the remaster treatment – 20 years after its first appearance on the original PlayStation, the rhythm game is back on PlayStation 4 with remastered raps and 4K support.
In June we’re also going to see the return of Crash Bandicoot in the remastered N-Sane trilogy. Crash is the classic PlayStation mascot and this remaster is highly anticipated. Even more recently it was revealed that all four Jak and Daxter would be coming to PlayStation 4 later this year, looking much more fresh with an HD upgrade and 1080p up-rendering.
It seems that PlayStation is slowly working on bringing select classic titles from its classic consoles back on PlayStation 4 as a remaster, rather than taking the blanket backwards compatibility approach that Xbox is.
Whether or not this will pay off in the long run it’s hard to say, but individual announcements for the return of beloved stand-out PlayStation franchises appears to be doing the company well in terms of drumming up excitement.
So, what franchise could we see get the remaster treatment next? We think the natural choice is Spyro. The little purple dragon checks everything off PlayStation’s current remaster requirement checklist: fondly remembered from PlayStation and PlayStation 2? Check. Cartoonish and highly-merchandisable? Check. Timeless platformer gameplay elements that will hold an appeal for old and new gamers alike? Check?
All the ingredients are there. Surely it’s only a matter of time.