There’s a real art to remastering, and that’s very evident in Braid’s Anniversary Edition. The 12-year-old painterly platformer is undergoing extensive renovation to its graphics, and adding in what developer Jonathan Blow calls “the craziest, most-in-depth commentary ever put in a video game.”
If you think that the time-warping platformer looks just fine as it is, Blow disagrees. The original art just wasn’t meant to be seen at 4k, a resolution that seemed in the distant future when they were making it. In bringing Braid up-to-date, they’ve gone right back to their easel and started redrawing the entire game. Backdrops are going to be considerably higher-detail (and will have animated brushstrokes adding the final touches as you play), animations smoother, and the character model redrawn. The sound is being retuned, replacing the 99 cent stock sounds that Blow bought for the original game and adding moodier music. Take a look for yourself in the trailer.
It’ll still be the same Braid, and you’ll be able to swap back to the original game on the fly to prove it.
The commentary sounds amazing. Blow blogged about it, saying blogged “I want to cover all subjects involved in the game – art, programming, game design, level design, history of independent games, whatever else – and if you want a high-level, short explanation, you can get that, but if you want a 20-minute-long explanation of why a particular puzzle is the way it is, you can get that too. You can follow particular threads of commentary spatially, through wormholes that go from level to level, to see examples of particular concepts; the commentary has lots of markup so we can circle stuff on the screen, point arrows at whatever visual detail we are talking about, show diagrams, play back recordings of gameplay to show what happens if you try doing this or that in a particular level … and many other capabilities.”
As the trailer shows, these are all toggled in the menu. You can basically build your own Braid-specific GDC session.
Braid: Anniversary Edition will be out sometime 2021. Why not watch some Baumgartner Restoration while you wait?