The terrifying remake of Cult FPS XIII is remade once more

XIII reissue

screenshot: microids

In 2003, a shooter called XIII was published. Based on a series of Belgian graphic novels, it attempted something unique (for the time) by emulating the comic’s cel-shaded look, and while it wasn’t the greatest shooter of all time, it was still incredibly cool and quickly gained cult status .

Then, seventeen years later, it all went to hell. A remake of the game was released, and it quickly became one of the worst examples this kind of business (at least until this month). It was in fact so bad that everyone involved ended with an apologysays that “XIII does not meet our quality standards” and that “the pandemic has affected the production of the game on many levels”.

as a refresher, that’s how I described it:

I installed and tried the game and yes you are right. It’s bad. Animations are inconsistent (sometimes good, sometimes almost non-existent), the sound is terrible, the “upgraded” graphics actually detract from the overall cel-shading appeal of the original, and the developers have inexplicably changed key game features like swapping the ancient ability to carry any weapon for a limited number of slots.

And here are some of the Steam reviews from back then:

The most disappointing remake of a game I’ve ever played. A downgrade of the original in every way imaginable.

This remake is the laziest and most irreverent product I’ve ever seen in my life, a real spit in the face of any XIII fan.

Don’t buy this game. Play the original. In its current state, this is in no way worth the full price.

Absolutely the worst “remake” I’ve ever played.

Well, that would normally be the point where everyone involved eats shit, it’s game over, and we all get on with our lives (especially since The original game is still available for pocket money). But publisher Microids just won’t let that happen and so 18 months after the remake’s nightmare release they have announced that they are basically going to try again, only this time with new developers who have spent a year making the 2020 dismissed to revise into something more acceptable.

The original studio PlayMagic is gone, replaced by French studio Tower Five, and in a statement posted to the game’s Steam page, Microids say (emphasis mine):

In order to reach the quality standards and offer an optimal gaming experience, Microids decided to entrust the development of XIII Remake to the French studio Tower Five (Lornsword: Winter Chronicle). Worked hard on a major update for more than a year. This update will be released on September 13th.

On this date, game owners will receive a free update and will be able to enjoy the game as intended. The development studio overhauled the entire game from art direction to AI and added numerous technical improvements.

Some of these “numerous” improvements notably include (via this image that accompanies the explanation) an overhauled HUD and “overhauled sound design.” I… can’t imagine this happening again, especially in this time frameso it will be interesting to try the game in September and see how far it has come.

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screenshot: microids