Fan Immortalized In Original .Hack//G.U. Missing From Remaster

Illustration for article titled Fan Immortalized In Originali .Hack//G.U./i Missing From Remaster

In 2007, Christopher “Ichida” MacKinnon and two other Bandai forum moderators were featured as an arena team in the third volume of PlayStation 2 RPG series .hack//G.U. This month’s remaster of the series inexplicably removed MacKinnon and another moderator’s character name.

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As MacKinnon tells it in a lengthy post on his personal Kinja page, back in 2006 he and two other active users on the .hack//G.U. forums, Viscosity and Leon, were recruited by a Bandai representative to be super-moderators. They moderated posts, helped out with community contests and otherwise helped spread word of the action RPG series, released in three installments for the PS2 between 2006 and 2007. In appreciation for their work, the three were included in the third volume of the game, 2007's Redemption. Legal releases were signed, and the NPC arena team named Super Mod Squad was born.

Illustration for article titled Fan Immortalized In Originali .Hack//G.U./i Missing From Remaster
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MacKinnon reached out to Kotaku about the situation back on November 9, six days after the release of .hack//G.U. Last Recode for PlayStation 4 and PC. A huge fan of the series, he had picked up the remaster as soon as it dropped, eager to see his team in action in high definition. On November 3 he confirmed that the Super Mod Squad team name was included in the new version.

But when he finally played through the game enough to unlock arena battles and face off against Super Mod Squad, he discovered that two of the three character names had been changed.

Illustration for article titled Fan Immortalized In Originali .Hack//G.U./i Missing From Remaster
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“Here comes Last Recode, the remaster of the same games, and for some reason two out of the three of us, including me, had our names changed, whereas one of our group was untouched,” wrote MacKinnon in his initial email to Kotaku. I have no idea why this happened but I’m upset that my immortalization in my favorite game series was not carried over to this release.”

We reached out to Bandai Namco to get to the bottom of why the names were changed, but so far we’re come up empty. A PR representative spoke to members of the team behind the remastered game, but none were aware of the original arrangement. The rep speculated that in the ten years between the original release and remaster, almost everyone involved the first time around has moved on. It may be the case that since the original agreement involved signing legal releases, the names were changed in order to avoid having to go through that process again.

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As for why the name Viscosity remains intact, we can only speculate that maybe since it’s a an ordinary word, a release wasn’t needed.

Christopher “Ichida” MacKinnon is fully prepared to sign another release, if that’s what it takes to get his and Leon’s name into the .hack//G.U. remaster. He’s holding out hope that someone from Bandai Namco will hear him, explain exactly why the names were changed and maybe restore the Super Mod Squad to its former glory.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

AshleyAshes
AshleyAshes

Do you think that ‘Remaster’ is an appropriate title for these releases of games? I’m always keen to see such releases but is it really a new MASTER version? There’s changes and alterations for the new hardware making them different from their original versions. While the are arguably IMPROVED they are also most certainly DIFFERENT from the originals to at least some degree.

I also ask how much do you think these releases aid in the preservation in games. Maybe one copies of PC Ports of .hack or FFX could ‘last longer’ and maybe a contemporary PC vs original console hardware could play those ports farther into the future, but not even that is indefinitely true. Even on PC we have dark patches in gaming where unless you go and build a ‘classic’ PC with the era appropriate operating system then those games are lost in terms of ever being played again. (Talking mostly of mid-late 90's hardware accelerated games, but we have even newer games that were just NEVER patched by devs or fans to run on anything newer than WinXP)