When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

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Magical_Isopod
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When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by Magical_Isopod » January 12th, 2019, 12:09 pm

So I was bored at work today - I work 7pm - 7am midnight shifts, so the boredom is a part of the gig - and I was redoing my Top 100 List using a new method I'd thought up (might do a post for that someday - I'm a fiend for organizing data and making lists).

But there's a few games that were hard for me to classify. For instance: Is Wind Walker HD simple a Remaster, or does it verge on a remake? Most of the assets are the same, and many of the changes are quality of life improvements... But the triforce fluff at the end of the game is so drastically improved that it's hard to argue the GC and WiiU versions are *the same game*. So does one identify Wind Walker as a 2004 release, or a 2013 release? If the 2004 version is a marked downgrade in nearly every way, does the original release still serve as the "point of origin" ?

Another example is .hack//GU: Last Recode. Originally released on PS2 in three "volumes" , the game was very clearly split into three parts to make extra bank. Narratively, the three entries all tell one continuous story on the same engine with the same assets, music tracks, etc. However, when the "three" games were reunited (and it feels so good), the whole package was rebalanced to remove grinding originally added for padding. So in this case - is Last Recode a single 2017 release, or a compilation of 2006 releases?

But if that's true, then what of Metro 2033 and Last Light? Especially with the enhanced "Redux" releases, these two games are ostensibly two halves of a single game - Last Light starts right where 2033 ends, and the Redux set on PS4 sees two very similar games. So in this case, are these two games released in 2009 and 2013, or a single game started in 2009 and completed in 2013?

Some of you will say, "It doesn't matter." But for those who MUST have a clear line in the sand... Where would you draw it?

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by Alex79uk » January 12th, 2019, 7:13 pm

The Back To The Future movie trilogy pick up exactly where the last film leaves off, would you class that as one long film? I wouldn't.

I generally think the terms remake and remaster are fairly interchangeable in gaming, despite not really meaning the same thing at all. Again, to use movies, when 60's original of The Italian Job was released on BluRay, it was a remaster. It cleaned up the original video and audio and upscaled it. The awful Mark Whalburg (was it?) version that came out in 2003 is a remake.

I think you can more or less apply the same rules.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by ratsoalbion » January 12th, 2019, 7:31 pm

It’s less clear cut with Bluepoint’s second Shadow of the Colossus (for PS4), which uses all new assets over the existing game code.

I’m not sure the nomenclature/semantics matter that much in themselves, though I think it helps to know what to expect in each individual case.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by rob25X » January 12th, 2019, 8:07 pm

I never thought about this but it's an interesting question.

I defined a remaster as a polished version of the original. Smoother visuals, textures and such. The same game with improvements. The Gamecube version of Resident Evil jumped to my mind as 'a remake' but then when I think about it, it's really the same thing.

Maybe 'a remaster' and 'a remake' in video games is the same thing... or maybe it depends how noticable the changes are.

With movies, TV shows and music the difference is very clear like in the good example above. With games it's not so simple.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by Scrustle » January 12th, 2019, 8:11 pm

I think a lot depends on whether the game is mostly using old assets that are just touched up (remaster), or whether assets are being rebuilt from the ground up (remake). A remaster can change content, but it's usually just stuff that are simple tweaks to what is already there, instead of creating whole new systems and making the game play completely differently. On a surface level, it can seem like a pretty clear cut distinction. Something that still generally looks like it originally did, but just looks sharper and clearer is a remaster. While something that is obviously made to run on the latest hardware is a remake.

But when you get in to the nitty gritty, I admit things don't really stand up that well. Bluepoint's Shadow of the Colossus is what I would think of as a remake, yet as Ratso points out, the original game is basically still there running under the new graphics engine. Then you have stuff like the Kingdom Hearts remasters. I've heard they apparently had to remake a huge amount of assets for those games, or the first at least, due to having lost the originals. That game is trying to come across like a cleaned-up re-releases, as you would think of as a remaster, yet had a lot more work put in to it than it might first appear.

So I guess a big part of it is instead about what you're trying to present the new version of the game as, rather than how you get there. If it's a re-release that cleans things up but is generally trying to be faithful to the original version, it's a remaster. If it's trying to be a re-interpretation that is trying to bring everything up to modern standards, and is more interested in translating the old game rather than preserving it exactly, that's a remake. There's still a lot of messy ground in between too. I don't think the terms should be interchangeable, but it's definitely far from to completely distinct things with no overlap either.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by oni-link » January 13th, 2019, 11:12 pm

I struggle with this as well as I've been recording a log of games I've beaten since 2012.

I record the game and year of release, and it can be difficult to know which year you should record a game down as

I tend to default to the year of the first release, unless the remastered version has updated content

I recorded Wind Waker as it's release year, because while visual changes and some QoL changes were made, it's still the same game

I did the same for FFV (I played the GBA version and not the SNES version)

I consider a remaster to be the original game with better QoL features (Easier ways to save, better resolution, widescreen etc) It's essentially the same game, but it's been "remastered"

A remake, to me, is where one game is completely remade from the ground up, so REmake, the Spyro and Crash remakes of the previous years, and Shadow of the Colossus etc

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by duskvstweak » January 14th, 2019, 4:35 am

Alex79uk wrote:
January 12th, 2019, 7:13 pm
The Back To The Future movie trilogy pick up exactly where the last film leaves off, would you class that as one long film? I wouldn't.
I only ever watch these movies back-to-back-to-back anyway, so they might as well be! Heck, when I was a kid, we had all three recorded on one VHS, so, for all I knew, they were just one movie!

Sorry for taking this thread off topic!

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by ratsoalbion » January 14th, 2019, 5:42 am

Parts II and III were made simultaneously too.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by FemalePheromones » January 14th, 2019, 6:15 am

oni-link wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 11:12 pm

A remake, to me, is where one game is completely remade from the ground up, so REmake, the Spyro and Crash remakes of the previous years, and Shadow of the Colossus etc
Didn't the Spyro and Crash ones use the original games and strip everything back to wireframe and then build them back up from there?

In my head I'd think of them as remaster as there is still something remaining from the original versions but in this case maybe call them a highly intensive remaster.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by ratsoalbion » January 14th, 2019, 9:31 am

As above, Shadow of the Colossus 2018 isn’t a ground-up remake either. It’s new visuals running over the exact same game code.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by JaySevenZero » January 14th, 2019, 9:50 am

I'd personally say the new Shadow still falls under 'remake' since 100% of the visuals were created for this version and although they have the original codebase in there, they added more to it such as a new control scheme. Videogames often reuse tweaked code from past titles (Assassin's Creed games) so using the code alone wouldn't constitute it falling under a remaster in my book.

If we're talking film I think there are examples where they fall into a grey area of neither straight remaster or remake, such as the Star Wars special editions, where they have entirely new and reworked scenes added into the original.

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Re: When Is A Remaster a Remake? And When Is A Compilation A Single Game?

Post by Magical_Isopod » January 14th, 2019, 2:28 pm

JaySevenZero wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 9:50 am
I'd personally say the new Shadow still falls under 'remake' since 100% of the visuals were created for this version and although they have the original codebase in there, they added more to it such as a new control scheme. Videogames often reuse tweaked code from past titles (Assassin's Creed games) so using the code alone wouldn't constitute it falling under a remaster in my book.

If we're talking film I think there are examples where they fall into a grey area of neither straight remaster or remake, such as the Star Wars special editions, where they have entirely new and reworked scenes added into the original.
True story - I never grew up with Star Wars, so when I first watched the "special editions" in my teens (after the prequels had come out), I cringed at a few scenes. I've since gotten that DVD set with the laserdisc versions, and while I'm still not CRAZY about the series, they are much better when the practical effects can stand on their own... The movies feel so much more "raw", the movie magic works so much better when the actors can see the props they're working with. Especially that first one - it feels like a movie made up on the fly, and it's better for it.

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