What Makes A Good Remake Or Remaster?
HWM Singapore|July 2020
What Makes A Good Remake Or Remaster?
What Makes A Good Remake Or Remaster?
Kenneth Ang

Ever come across a dusty old game in your collection that you feel like playing again, only to realise It doesn’t inspire the same awe it did when you first brought it home? Maybe it could…if some of the graphics were spruced up for your modern gaming rig. Indeed, with so many remakes and remastered games running amok recently, it’s about time we addressed the elephant in the room: is nostalgia the only thing these “revised” games have going for them?

REMASTERING VERSUS REMAKING A GAME: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

But before all that, what exactly makes a remaster different from a remake?

Well, imagine you’ve got a nice little house by the seaside. One day, you notice that the house is looking a little worse for wear, so you decide to do some spring cleaning and perhaps give the exterior a new coat of paint. Despite the work that’s been done, the house itself hasn’t changed, although it does look a lot better - that’s a remaster.

However, there might also come a time when you just feel like having a change of scenery, so you sell your seaside home and move to a new and perhaps larger house in the forest. Naturally, you’d bring some, if not all of your existing stuff with you to your new home, right? So, in essence, although you’ve changed houses, some of the furniture inside are the same ones as before - that’s a remake.

Basically, remastered games are often the exact same thing as the original, but with updated graphics, audio and other aesthetic features to fit current-gen tech standards. Meanwhile, remakes are more of a re-exploration - developers can explore alternative angles for the game’s concept and story, although the main “nostalgia factors” tend to be similar to the original.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered, as well as the more recent Modern Warfare remake, are excellent examples of how they differ. The former is a photocopy of the hit FPS with updated aesthetics, while the latter took some of the characters fans love, like Captain John Price or Sergeant Kyle “Gaz” Garrick and spun an alternative, completely different narrative around them.

But if remakes provide newer and fresher material, why bother about remastering the originals in the first place? That’s a great question, so let’s dive right into it.

WHY WOULD DEVELOPERS EVEN REMASTER A GAME VERSUS REMAKE IT?

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July 2020