Skillful Re-use of Assets

I saw Adam Walker's tweet about the new Yakuza game today:

I love it! Obviously the Yakuza games do this all over the place, letting you play entire old Sega games at arcades. Reusing old work is a virtue, in my opinion. As someone who constantly trawls sources of public domain/creative commons work when making things myself, what are some other cool examples of assets getting reused?

A few more examples I can remember off the top of my head:

  • - playing old Nintendo games in early Animal Crossings
  • - [the famous duality of clouds/bushes in Mario](
  • lately i‘ve been thinking about how games are re-using narrative arcs to great effect. Outer Wilds, which I badly want to play, comes to mind, and Minit. And the one that’s been on my mind a ton lately, Doki Doki Literature Club, which gets so much mileage out of its little two-hour anime dating sim premise, having you play through it once and then a second time but slowly and deliberately deconstructing it on that second playthrough.

    Ive reused the same low polygonal car and humanoid models in my games for years because I guess I didn't want to put the effort into making new ones.

    The NES games in the original Animal Crossing were such a good idea, I'm so sad they were never ever reused in games going forward.


    @tapevulture#9281 re-using narrative arcs

    The way some Treasure games have the story change (continue) along different difficulty levels, is masterful.
    You are effectively playing the exact same game over again, but the story is still progressing so it feels new.

    Cave did this with some of the Dodonpachi games, the different loops and difficulty settings have different stories.
    I'm not sure if all the Dodonpachis have that, but I remember Dodonpachi and Dodonpachi Maximum both did.

    Mega Man & Bass / Rockman and Forte weirds me out. Capcom back-ported PlayStation and Saturn assets to the SNES for a game that released in 1998.

    I've been playing it on the SNES mini and it certainly looks a lot better than the game plays!

    I guess this is kind of different, but I've been into “remix” game, which often lean into asset reuse.

    Super Valis IV on SNES uses Valis IV pc engine assets and makes a mechanically different game with different level design and new bosses, etc.

    Mario Maker is kind of a high end example of this as well, though I think all that stuff was touched up.

    A lot of SNK game assets have been reused in pachinko machines.

    I keep wanting to make a thread of "remix" games, but I always forget about every one other than Super Valis IV when I think about it.

    At the developer I work at we‘ve used the same little “i” UI button(tap to get more info!) in all 4 of the games we’ve worked on so far! Because honestly if you have a good “i” button why change it

    I respect the hell out of the fact that the Castlevania series has enemy sprites that have not just been re-used between games, but have been carried over through at least 3 console/handheld generations.

    Ah yeah - Capcom vs SNK and Capcom Fighting All-Stars all re-use assets, as do loads of the KOF games, and I‘m totally in favor of it. People hated that at the time, but as far as I’m concerned that's what got us those games at all so go ahead and do more of it.

    Following up on Brandon‘s comment, videogame bestiaries are a huge one for me. It’s also one of those things people used to complain about, like the different Castlevanias reusing the same monsters, but at the end of the day, having a franchise that builds upon itself and keeps bringing back older material translates into building an aura and constructing a legacy that will be remembered for ages.

    This is something Pokemon has understood perfectly, and, I think, one of the main reasons of its popularity. Just imagine if they had forgotten about Pikachu after the first entry. Another great example of a franchise having a more clearly defined personality thanks to recycling material is Shin Megami Tensei, and that is because Jack Frost, Angel and Apsaras have been there for a while now. Same goes for Dragon Quest and so many other sagas.

    I love videogame bestiaries, they are often the greatest ways to showcase the creators' imagination and such a powerful vehicle for storytelling, world building and defining the texture and atmosphere of the game when used properly. In so many cases the baddies end up being more iconic than the protagonists themselves, think of Star Wars and how the stormtrooper's design has ended up being a lot more iconic than the random dude in a bathtub robe attire of jedis.

    “Skillful Re-use of Assets” is a better way of putting something I used to call “Consistent Architecture” in video games.

    Here's a couple case examples, they will contain minor area reveal spoilers for Silent Hill 3 and Dark Souls 3. :

    Best example is Silent Hill 2 and 3. They downright copy pasted the town and building interiors from 2 into 3 and it _works._
    I likened it to Castlevania. Through the series there has been varying levels of consistent architecture in the titular Akuma-jou. The Grand Hall, Foyer, Clock Tower etc. The most clear example is the first room you enter, often containing ghouls, black panthers and bats.
    An example from a company besides Konami which hits different but is used to similar effect:
    In Dark Souls 3, an area from Dark Souls 1 is grafted into the environment. It's 1:1.