Early in July, when discussing any plans for the future of the .Hack (also known as Dot Hack) games, Taichiro Miyazaki of CyberConnect2 responded favorably. While he may work on a remake or remaster of the original games or work on developing new titles within the world of .Hack, Bandai Namco is still the license owner, meaning they need approval before making anything. Miyazaki urges fans to ask Bandai Namco to request these remakes to get them greenlit.
I hate that this might sound repetitive. We’re very passionate about the .Hack series, and bringing back the original quadrilogy and even remaking those is something I’d like to do. However, although this is our original IP its license is held by Bandai Namco Entertainment, and without their green light we can’t do anything. So at this time, we urge the readers to fire away all the requests to them so that we can get the green light from them to work on those titles. –Taichiro Miyazaki
Anyone who has talked with me, or followed my Twitter, X, or whatever it is supposed to be called, knows I am a very passionate fan of .Hack. I wanted to explain why I think the original quadrilogy needs a remake and absolutely deserves it.
The Original Games are Dated
Right from the get-go, .Hack//Infection and the engine that gets brought over to .Hack//Quarantine is dated and makes it hard to go back and replay the series. Not only is combat slow and jarring, but back in the days of the PS2, games still tried to justify their price tag, so they made some things bloated. The best way games did that was by grinding.
The original .Hack series was grindy as heck. You needed a ton of virus cores to progress in the story and also needed to reach much higher levels for story areas in the game. I tried to stream this series on Twitch about four years ago and got eaten alive by trying not to grind and make it entertaining for viewers.
I am not a pro gamer by any metric, but I am also very well-versed in this series and the strategies needed to make the system easy to understand. You need to grind almost constantly to get to the areas you need to go to. The G.U. series didn’t require nearly as much grinding to progress in the story, but the remaster released in 2017 made it much less grindy by removing limits to certain resources and making the game faster.
A big problem of games back in the PS2 era is accessibility. Not just in obtaining and playing the game but also in configuring it. I noticed while trying to go back and take pictures that you get a variety of skills and spells, but you have to pause the game, go into the menu, go to the skill, and then hit the correct one, and then select which enemy or ally you are using the skill on. In this respect, it takes quite a bit of time to cast a spell on a person.
It is something that could benefit from having a shortcut menu. Similar to how Reigeki works in GU, with also having all your most used attack spells in one place for quick access, these shortcuts could be used to increase the speed and precision of the gameplay.
One of the reasons why GU only needed a remaster was how the graphics were stylized, and upscaling stylized graphics looks fantastic in most cases. The .Hack Quadrilogy has a more dated appearance due to less stylized graphics, and it looks more computer generated but with older computer technology. It could look amazing in a more stylized appearance akin to the GU graphics. The vibrant colors and cutscenes are still fantastic to look at, though.
Some of the parts of .Hack that I love are the mechanics in the quadrilogy. We don’t get enough mechanics nowadays that deal so extensively with party members as we did in .Hack. You can issue them to do a variety of modes. Not only can you mass-order battle and combat types to all your party members at once, but you can also do it individually. If the thing you want to order is specific, you can also just flat-out issue them to use a specified skill or item.
There are older mechanics of MMORPGs where items were classified more like light, medium, and heavy, with restrictions on classes based on what you could equip. Modern MMORPGs have class-based equipment only. I miss having the ability to have certain characters being able to mix and match equipment based solely on the restrictions of armor weights.
You could have Kite, the main protagonist mixing and matching light magic equipment with medium equipment with heavier physical resistances. You could have different builds with different characters. You can make characters more magic-oriented or defense-oriented. If you wanted your heavyweights wearing light magic equipment and focus on an all-magic-based build, you could use them that way.
There are also a lot of fun extra mechanics in .Hack that shows up in the quadrilogy. One of my favorites is being able to raise Grunties in the game. Raising specific Grunties allows you to trade items with them as well as ride them when you are in field zones. Having so many options for Grunties and ways to raise them adds a factor of replayability that I love. I would love to see some of that make it into the inspiration of modern games. There is also the risk-reward factor of Spring of Mysts and Symbols. Spring of Mysts is a spring you can throw a weapon or piece of equipment in and wait for a Monsieur to give you the equipment back. It will either be better or worse depending on a lot of factors, like the field type you are in, the level of difficulty, and the type of equipment you threw in.
The .Hack quadrilogy has some of the best narrative storytelling in video games. You spend a lot of time with Kite, not just as his online avatar but also with the person behind the screen in sending emails back and forth with his various party members. It has some of the most natural character building as we get not just a kind and nice guy but one who is proactive and trying to do all he can in all aspects of his life.
He plays Soccer, is a great student, and has to figure out how to put video games into his schedule. It doesn’t generally show a lot in the game itself since it focuses a lot on conforming to the game’s pace based on how you play the game. If you spend a lot of time grinding equipment, experience points, and rare items and trying to catalog the Book of 1000, then you will not get to generally see the pace of characters growing together, as it may feel like forever. However, with a focus on the story, it shows us much more of a focused depth look into the psyche of Kite and how he feels about the situation he never intended to get himself into.
Kite begins as just some kid who wants to learn more about his friend Yasuhiko, so he finally joins in on his friend playing his favorite MMORPG “The World.” In their very first dungeon together, they meet some strange monster called Skeith chasing after a girl in white. His friend gets attacked and then is hit by a beam that seems to have also affected him in the real world. Before Skeith can attack Kite, the server crashes, and he is saved from a mysterious hacker after receiving a book from the girl in white. He now has to sort out how best he can help his friend as he slowly learns about a world he never considered.
Using message boards, new sites, and emails to find out more about the world Kite lives in, but also about this MMORPG of “The World” and how it affects the real world, is engaging to me. I love learning about how the small things affect the world around us and .Hack does a fantastic job of showing us what the future can have in store for us as we become increasingly reliant on the Internet and social media. It is even more relevant to how we operate today than it was in the 2000s when this game series came out.
The biggest reason I think that.Hack// quadrilogy was so amazing because the development team wanted the games to be. If there is one thing I wish publishers would do more, it is listen to their development teams and what they want to create. A development team driven by passion and desire is what gives us the best games. We constantly get soulless games and Live Service games more focused on profit than anything else.
If a game is created with heart and soul alongside an understanding publisher, we have a much better track record of great games. CyberConnect2 seems to be constantly held by Bandai Namco to create the big licensed video games like Dragonball Z: Kakarot and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R. I think Bandai Namco can throw them a bone now and then. I am honestly surprised they didn’t try making them do a Sword Art Online game by CyberConnect2, though I feel that .Hack fans would take that as an attack on the community.
Overall I want a .Hack quadrilogy remake or even a complete remake of all four games in one package without needing to separate them all. It also doesn’t help that .Hack//Infection, .Hack//Mutation, .Hack//Outbreak, and .Hack//Quarantine are hand to come by, and even if you do find them, acquiring the games comes with some unreasonable prices for PS2 games, with the last one going up to almost $400.
We don’t want to give scalpers our money. We want to give them to the companies that make them to show how much we love these games. Heck, I have .Hack//G.U. Last Recode on all systems they are available on, physically and digitally (Except PC, there is no physical one, only digital). This is one fan speaking for himself, but Bandai Namco, please listen to CyberConnect2 and let more people experience the original. Hack quadrilogy!
If you want to support Bandai Namco in aiding their decision, you can try buying .Hack//G.U. Last Recode on PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. If you don’t want to do it via money, you can easily go and sign this petition.