Option 4 is the way to go for me. Other mediums do this so well in recreating entertainment with more modern sensibilities or differing themes or just straight up changes to the story. I mean, even in recent memory big successes like Devilman Crybaby and It come to mind.
In games? We struggle to find examples let alone good ones. And even when we do find good ones, they tend to be complete remakes from simpler eras in games, akin to remaking a black and white film in colour or a silent film with voices. Metroid: Samus Returns is a big improvement over the original because technical limitations left a lot to be improved. Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia is basically an entirely new game when compared to the NES original due to applying a lot of the advancements the series saw throughout the decades. The aforementioned Resident Evil remakes replaced the laughable voice acting and breathed tension back in the game by throwing out those old textures and models that don’t have the same punch they did in 1996.
But there’s another big problem in games from remakes being made: how do you differentiate them from the reboots and sequels? With the video game industry being so sequel heavy, rebooting a franchise comes with the expectation that more, original stories will come afterwards, unlike a remake which is just a dedication to the singular game. 2013’s Tomb Raider, for example, is a fresh take on the embarrassing original, but is a reimagining of who Lara Croft is and what her adventures would be like going forward. 2012’s “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” could be considered a remake of the 1994 original, but also can be considered a sequel because, well, X-COM is going to be about alien invasions and you can’t really make it about 5th or 6th contact now can you? Punch-Out!! on the Wii has a lot of the same fights with new twists and gave Little Mac a new look, but considering that’s the same thing the sequel Super Punch-Out!! did, is it a sequel or a remake?
Part of the confusion stems from how mechanics based games are, rather than story based like other mediums. For example, Spelunky is a pound for pound remake of the original, adding a lot of mechanical depth but staying true to the original, but the story is so barebones that it’s more just a repolishing of the same systems. Same could be said of games like Klonoa on the Wii or the various Pokemon remakes. Ratchet & Clank was mentioned and it does the best job at a loving remake I’ve seen in games, but its story is, again, put on the backburner to its wacky guns and strong platforming.
But when you’re looking through the games remade for strong stories they become almost impossible to find. Strangely enough, Persona 3 Portable is the best example I can think of, even if its a game that is largely a step back when it comes to presentation and the mechanics are barely altered. The female path of the game offers some drastic changes to the social links of the game, which is the bulk of the characterization of the people you meet in the game. Hell, a crucial plot point can only change in this version of the game if a social link is completed. The PSP also saw Final Fantasy Tactics get a remake, which was mostly a much needed retranslation, but still offered a few story tweaks here and there.
The rarity of a true remake of a game that is heavily story based is actually the reason why I’m excited for Final Fantasy VII, even if I pretty much hated the original.