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Ports, Remasters and Remakes

My list of terms and definitions

4 months ago
2024-01-02
gaming

Ports, Remasters and Remakes

This is a topic similar to the term "indie" which seems to be all over the place depending on whom you ask or what a studio or an publisher want to market it as. Here is a list of my definitions of what each type of port and remake is and examples of games of it.

I want to note that people tend to confuse the definition of remaster and remakes a lot, which I mostly blame marketing. A graphical upgrade can be both a remaster and a remake. It depends on how it's done and what it is based on. A listed example is Crisis Core which is marketed as a "HD Remaster", but in fact it's a complete remade game in Unreal Engine.


Port

Prerequisites

  • Based on original source code

Definition

Taking a game and modify it to be playable on a different platform than it was originally made for. Minimal changes from the original work, such as new copyright, updated button icons and controller input.

Examples

  • Witcher 3 (Nintendo Switch)
  • DOOM 2016 (Nintendo Switch)

Enhanced Port

Prerequisites

  • Based on original source code

Definition

The same as a port in terms of, it does not change the game itself but changes things around it, such as adopting features for the platform hardware (eg. PC = unlocked fps/ultra-widescreen support) or add 16:9 widescreen support on a old 4:3 game, adding trophies/achievements etc.

A lot of time it can add features that an emulated game would have, in some cases it's because it is an emulator playing a modified version of the game. Common features include things like save states, fast-forward, resolution upscaling, cheat codes etc.

Examples

  • Horizon Zero Dawn (PC)
  • Final Fantasy 9 (Switch/PS4)
  • Ratchet and Clank Collection (PS3)
  • Super Mario 3D All Stars (Switch)
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection
  • Many PS5-patches for PS4 games

Remaster

Prerequisites

  • Based on original source code

Definition

This is when developes digg into the original source code and actually modify it to enhance the game for modern platforms and goes beyond an enhanced port. It can change the game itself in minor ways, but a staple of remasters is it's based upon the original source but updating graphical assets, shaders, soundtrack, additional content, reworked UI etc.

Examples

  • Final Fantasy X (PS3)
  • Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age (PS4)
  • Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)
  • Tales of Symphonia (PS3)
  • Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (WiiU)
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Xbox 360)
  • Star Ocean First Departure R

Remake

Prerequisites

  • New game engine/project from scratch.
  • True to the original game

Definition

This is when it's a new game from the ground up based on the original game. It's true to the original and does not change fundamentals too much and sometimes even incorporate the same code formulas as the original to stay true to game physics or gameplay. But in all and all, it's a new game. A lot of time it has new graphics, new/updated voice acting, new soundtrack, new content, new UI etc.

Examples

  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
  • Ratchet & Clank 2016
  • Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (2020)
  • Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster
  • Star Ocean: Second Story R

Reimagination

Prerequisites

  • New game engine/project from scratch.
  • Redefines the game

Definition

This is when a remake goes to its fullest potential, and some have coined the term "true remake" or "proper remake" over the years. It's based on the source material rather than the original game and the developers reimagine what it could be on new modern hardware and game mechanics. Nothing needs to stay true as long the base of the source material is kept.

If it doesn't stay true in any way, that's when it becomes something completely else. That's when it's a reboot or side-game.

Examples

  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake
  • Shadowrun
  • Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu