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What does it take to remake a PS2 game in HD for PS3?

Crystal Dynamics explains how they did it...

HD Collections are all the rage these days, so far we've had Prince of Peria, God of War and Sly Cooper so far with Shadow of the Colossus/ICO and Splinter Cell on the way.

But just how much work goes into applying a HD paint job on classic titles for the PlayStation 3?

With a Tomb Raider collection on the way we thought Crystal Dynamics' brand director Karl Steward was the perfect person to give us the details. Here's what he had to say.

We had two big challenges. The hardest was working with Buzz Monkey (the developers creating the HD remakes) to go back into the code to create dozens of cool trophies.


Neither Tomb Raider Legend or Anniversary had trophy support, and it's especially hard when you realise that you can't add any new content.

Secondly, both Legend and Anniversary were created to maximize PS2's visuals but some of these optimisations were no longer needed, and actually proved to be a headache at times.

Therefore a fair amount of time went into excising these vestigial bits. Since the original games were created near the early part of 'next gen' console development, not everything was done to today's development standards, so there was a lot of work to get it ready and playable on PS3.

Buzz Monkey did a tremendous amount of work, supplying us with tons and tons of iterations. Since Underworld was the only title to release on PS3, we used that as a guideline for the other two titles.

To top it all off, Buzz Monkey had to do it with old development tools from PS2 - some so old they didn't even work in the new PlayStation 3 environment. Kudos!

The gameplay, mechanics and story were all originally built using PS2 technology, so for the remakes we wanted to start with the best textures and assets at our disposal.

The best library of textures and assets available were those of the old PC and Xbox versions, but Legend and Anniversary now look better than ever on PS3.

We didn't have to redraw much material, just stay as true to the original games as possible. Texture resolution is improved where appropriate, but we wanted to preserve the classic game experience, so we didn't mess with the vintage mojo.

I mean, if it ain't broke, just make it HD! The HD versions are optimized for 720p (1280x720) at 30fps. See for yourself when Trilogy hits in March.

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