"Like a new generation of Ted Turners, publishers like Square-Enix and Sony, among others, have shown little respect for their industry’s past, viewing former technological constraints as fixable problems. Beloved classics are being altered in an attempt to appeal to the modern consumer, and for the sake of competing in a crowded market. But while the world of film has a phalanx of critics, historians, and educators standing watch over the treasures of the past, these same figures in video games don’t have enough clout to stop publishers from their frequent meddling."
Square Enix's muddy mobile Final Fantasy remakes aren't without precedent in the entertainment industry. Bob Mackey points out in this A.V. Club essay that the precipitating factors and ghastly end result are much the same as cable TV's colorization rush. When a new market calls for lots of stuff fast, where better to go than dip back into the classics? It's a fine idea; exposing the masses to beloved cultural artifacts--whether they star Jimmy Stewart or Locke Cole--is a noble endeavor. Just please leave the colored pencils at home.
Unfortunately, Square Enix elected to tear out Final Fantasy VI's vibrant, chunky pixels and replace them with creamy, pastel crud. The sprites have ten times as much room for detail but a tenth of the personality, looking like nearly identical figurines. Who is this for? Is anyone willing to sit through It's a Wonderful Life not going to enjoy the original color scheme, even if it's in black and white? Is anyone willing to play through a Final Fantasy game on a phone or tablet not going to enjoy the original pixel art, even if it means black bars on the sides of the screen?