The developer behind the Bloodborne PS1 demake has told GamesRadar that “just making an identical copy of Bloodborne with PS1 style graphics won't work”
Unreal Engine 4 Tech Artist Lilith Walther, who has been sharing the project’s progress on her Twitter account @b0tster (opens in new tab), took the time to chat with us via email about what it’s like to try and demake a game.
For todays #BloodbornePSX dev thread it's time to get into leveling up, stats, and other miscellaneous resources! I've been pushing this stuff back because they wouldn't really result in fun videos but it's gotta be done at some point😫 Lets start with blood echoes 🧵 pic.twitter.com/0acWf6e2f9January 26, 2021
To successfully demake a game, Lilith states that you need to “roll back decades of quality of life improvements, old design decisions that arent around anymore.” She also recommends that “if the developer of the game you want to demake were releasing games during the time of your targeted demake platform, it's good to check out their work and see what they did compared to now.”
When we asked what the most difficult part of the process is, she responded with: “It's a tough balancing act to change designs to feel retro, while also staying true to the PS4 original.”
When it comes to the desire to demake Bloodborne, Lilith said that the game, along with many of the other titles developed by FromSoftware “are already very retro feeling in my opinion.” She continues by noting that although the games are designed on modern hardware, they are constructed very simply when you break their mechanics down. She also added that “It's the design that elevates them to greatness, which is something that cannot be restrained by processing power.”
If you’re unfamiliar with what a demake is, it is the process where a game on more recent hardware is scaled back to give it the aesthetic from an older generation, it’s literally the reverse of remaking a game.
As to whether or not we’ll be able to play the Bloodborne PSX project one day, Lilith has confirmed that she is “definitely going to release it.” (opens in new tab) However, it won’t be playable on an original PS1 as “it's just an imitation of the style made in unreal engine so it won't run on authentic hardware” (opens in new tab)
This Bloodborne demake is just part of a growing trend of creators looking to view the games of the present through the lens of the past. This includes the likes of a Cyberpunk 2077 demake, a Death Stranding demake, and an Assassin’s Creed demake, which have all received a retro downgrade in recent years.
We asked Lilith if she has plans to demake any other games in the future, she joked about the possibility of doing a ‘Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Demake’. She also says that the original Dark Souls has been requested a lot however she isn’t sure if she wants to continue working on demakes as she has original IP indie games, such as WitchJRPG (opens in new tab), in the works too. She does add though that “if I do [continue to demake games] it would probably be one of those.”
To see more demaked games, take a look at our list on Halo on the Atari, and 7 other impressive demakes.