I'm in a really tight bind with my RPG remake.
You see, on the one hand, I don't want to just do the same crappy story over again and end up with another shit, half-assed game I'm still not proud of.
But on the other hand, I don't want a remake of a crappy RPG I made one time years ago to be anything deep, meaningful, or special.
I hate this intellectual property. I can't do anything with it because I don't want to do anything with it, but at the same time, I feel compelled to fix what I created.
I want it to be how it was, only improved. But how it was is total shit, and that part makes me want to just dump the IP all together. But I can't. There's a character in the game I want to work on more. I can't just abandon her like that. She deserves better. I love her too much to let go of her.
Would she work in another RPG? Most certainly. She has a background story that makes her compatible with just about any RPG I please. I could put her in Phantasy Star, I could put her in Final Fantasy, I could put her in Bravely Default, Super Mario RPG would be a tough sell, and require a lot more work explaining why she's there, but it would work. She wouldn't even have to be in an RPG. She's uniquely versatile that way.
But like I said above, I haven't been able to shake the feeling that I could have and should have done better on the game since I finished it in 2008. Artists of all stripes will know exactly what I'm talking about. You look back on your earliest creation, the one you were so proud of, and go "This is so awful, I could do so much better." Well, that's what this is for me.
But I just can't bring myself to make it something special with a really good storyline, like Final Fantasy 6 or 7, or Phantasy Star 1 or 4. I'm afraid that if I do, it won't feel like the game I once created and it will keep bugging me, but I'm afraid that if I don't, it will just be a different flavor of shit and I'll just be ashamed of it, and it will go back to bugging me. Aiming for a middle ground isn't going well, either, because there's not a lot there to go off in the first place. The original game had no meat. You begin the game, the plot happens, you grind for 4 hours, and then you go and beat the final boss.
Even after mostly rebuilding the beginning of the game, I still can't squeeze mid-way plot out of it. And now you see why I hate this IP. The plot is too generic. Most revenge story plots, where the goal is clear, are that way: Something happens, hero seeks revenge, hero grows stronger, faces villain, gets revenge. That's what my game is, even if I didn't realize it at the time, and that's what it does. But there's nothing really to make the "hero grows stronger" part more interesting. It's just a massive grindfest with plot stapled on at the beginning and the end, and a far-too-large world map it takes place on. (Though I have solved that problem mostly by way of hacking out the large, empty bodies of water.)
I can't change the plot because that would fundamentally change my game, and as mentioned, it's been nagging me for nearly a decade that I didn't do better, so I can't deviate from what I have or I could risk living with that unsatisfied feeling for even longer.
I also did something stupid while trying to compensate for how much exposition the beginning used to have, and how long the intro cut scene is, and ended up far over extending the beginning. I put way too much work into it. At the rate it's going, the intro could end up being a massive chunk of the play time. I have to do something to fix it... all of it... before it drives me crazy.
I hate what I've created. It tortures me...