|Deja Fu: Titan Quest|
TomChick - News - 06/26/06 - Link
There's nothing wrong with taking a solid design and updating it. Just ask the guys at Blizzard who appropriated Nethack and turned it into Diablo.
Some folks are really good at capturing the essence of a game, even outright duplicating the mechanics, and reworking it just enough to make it so much more than a retread. It's the fine line between aping and homage, rip-off and update, remake and revision. It creates the sense that you've been here before, but, hey, this is almost the same thing done better! Let's call it the power of "deja fu".
Other games that come to mind are the superlative Act of War (Eugen's deja fu with Command & Conquer: Generals), Civ4 (Soren Johnson's deja fu with the Civ series), and Pirates (Sid Meier deja fu's himself!).
You can go in the other direction as well. Call it "deja poo". I'm thinking of how Perfect Dark Zero creates a sense of deja poo for Goldeneye and the Timesplitters series. Or how Field Commander on the PSP creates a sense of deja poo for Advance Wars on the DS.
Anyway, enough with the half-assed wordplay. Titan Quest is out and whether it's a Diablo clone or not is beside the point, because it's pretty damn good.