Remakes, Remasters and Ports

I’d agree that the remakes/remasters often have virtues yeah. And I think there’s a distinction to be made between games like Tetris getting a new version and games like Demon’s Souls because the former is a for fun challenging puzzle type game with less of an emphasis on player investment in aesthetics and certainly none in narrative or setting (not that each version of Tetris is absent aesthetic values). So I think a new Tetris is more like a new iteration of monopoly or something.

But what bugs me a little about even remakes that “respect” the original like Persona 3 or Demon’s, is that the industry, the market, and the audience and critical structure around them implicitly does not. This is a medium in which ideas and aesthetics are carried along briefly by whatever hardware and software production resources are on the market, and the new thing is positioned as “superior”. We had such a brief time with beloved Dreamcast, you know what I mean?


I have mixed feelings on this topic. I have invested a lot of time, energy and resource into having a bunch of old systems hooked up and ready to play any game at a moment’s notice, so it makes sense that I don’t care too much for remasters and remakes. If I just play modern versions of all the games, it undermines a lot of that effort.

Still, I have to accept at this point that messing around with old gaming hardware is as much my hobby as playing the games. It’s unreasonable to expect the majority of people to jump through all these hoops to experience classic games - so some form of modernization can only be a good thing.

I do think there is a broader societal issue with IPs, financing original ideas and marketing. So much time and money is poured into just rehashing and rebooting many of the same franchises over and over. It just comes down to suits trying to make “safe bets” with their investments. It’s clear that people respond very well to this stuff.

An issue much more common in video games is that the remakes functionally replace the originals in the public consciousness - even when they’re very different and sometimes arguably inferior. Even in cases where an upgrade seems superficially faithful, minor differences to stuff like animation timing, hitboxes, physics or input delay can make a game that used to feel fantastic to play significantly worse.

I suspect it’s not all that realistic to faithfully port old games to new platforms, I’d bet that in some cases that would take even more work than just making a modern-looking game using the tools you already have access to. They may not even have access to the original assets and source, but even if they do getting that to run on modern architecture is no simple feat.

However, emulation is clearly a potential answer here. I just think fundamentally that IP holders should be leaning into emulation, making as many of their classic games available to play as accurately as possible. I believe people would still buy remakes and remasters - heck maybe even more people would!


This is the thing that I find annoying about remakes and there’s two colours of it.

The obvious one is remakes pushing for the most realistic visuals and those visuals being deemed the best because they are “realistic” and the old game being considered inferior, as if the developers wanted realism but weren’t able to achieve it. Did From wish that Demons looked better at release? Probably. Do they consider it a failure that they didn’t get to realism? Probably not.

The other flavour is the big nebulous term gameplay or controls. The best game of all time, Resident Evil 4, has a very deliberate set of controls that the entire game is balanced around. You can’t move and shoot and camera control is minimal. Rem4ke allows complete freedom of movement and camera controls and is a different game. I have seen people say that Rem4ke is better just for that as if controls are aiming for a false sense of perfect like realistic graphics. No one is out there moaning about the limited movement of the pawn in chess but Gamers seem to think that games shouldn’t have movement restrictions like this. They see games as some sort of real life simulator rather than a set of abstract rules.


The only evidence I have for this is from words said by developers/publishers over the years in interviews, financials, podcasts etc etc. So I can’t point to a set of evidence and my point relies on taking the word of a publisher at face value. It will vary from company to company of course but my suspicion would be that it is true for some publisher’s at least. Did money from Demons Souls find it’s way into Helldivers? Who can say? But if Blue Point got royalties, I think it is safe to say that is going into their new IP. Of course, we can’t say for sure and probably can’t trace direct dollar flow but in the great money churn of the industry, I’m happy to believe that it does happen.


That’s true, and it does create a barrier for outsiders, and assumptions will usually favor the newest. I have faith that over time the recency bias disappears and collectively the people who still care about these games become the arbiters of taste and continue to pass that knowledge on. People are always looking for answers to “which version is best” or “where should I start” and now that these games are being remade multiple times so that answer will get more nuanced even if the question doesn’t. There is hope for individuals to figure it out even if the masses don’t.

All this stuff is ephemeral, and I think remakes do play an important role in extending the lifespan of the classic version, but there is always going to be the tradeoff. The same critical structure around video games might also prevent games from dying and resting in peace. I’m not sure what’s a better fate for something like Advance Wars – to have a horrible remake that nobody likes and turns people off of the series, or to be forgotten entirely.


What I’m curious to hear is if folks find it to be a better state of things for companies to just let games completely go out of print and do nothing for formats that people don’t have any access to, or if they prefer the occasional remakes, remasters, and ports. I know emulation is always there for some but not all things, but it’s not always accessible to everyone, and just like a bunch of people have pointed out, buying the original games is getting less and less accessible every day.

In other words, I sure would love Square Enix to release a remaster of Brave Fencer Musashi for Switch or whatever so that I don’t have to puzzle through emulating it.

Also, the look and feel of older Personas is a seriously tough sell for folks whose first game in the series was P5! The P4G remaster was pushing it for my partner, so she waited for P3make and has loved it as a result.

Also also, there are stealth remakes like Ys: the Oath in Felghana that (I think at least) vastly improve on the original. I say stealth remake because I’m guessing average game player people don’t realize it’s a remake of Ys III, and none of the press for Oath that I can remember mentioned Ys III at all.


Ys series is case of wild ports and reworks with unique versions for each platforms until they got to current forms. Ys 1 is one of the most reworked games for sure. Current way of just releasing the same game on different platforms is no good.


in an ideal world, emulation would be supported by the IP owners in a reasonable way, either through some publishing method they themselves provide, or by licensing them for distribution to use a insert credit podcast hypothetical, The Criterion Channel Of Video Games

I suppose Kawazu keeps getting money for SaGa games somehow…


Yeeeep. That PowerPC phase the big three went through really threw a spanner in the works.

Oh yeah, totally forgot about that. Ima be honest, I like RE2make wayyyyy more than the original. Def glad Cappers made that one.

Just gonna put it out there that I’m the rube who thinks a remaster can “replace” the original work, at least in every meaningful sense. I don’t know if I can give an example of that though.

And assuming that’s possible it’s always still going to be subjective. If a remaster is going to be replacing old elements with new ones in most cases, there’s always going to be elements that are more than just superficial or that can’t be “improved” upon, and rather just get replaced with something different rather than something strictly (in the mathematical sense) better. So perhaps a remaster that can truly replace an original work is just one that replaces all those distinct elements in a way that lines up with your personal tastes.


To those people, it is a better game. They’re wrong for so many reasons, but it’s shitty to invalidate people’s feelings. Fundamentally, they’re not the same game at all.
As previously stated, Resident Evil 4 is the best game of all time, and Rem4ke is a worthy reimagining. It does a decent job of recreating the pace and feel of the original, but is in no way a replacement.

Resident Evil 4 is honestly the gold standard of porting/remastering/remaking done correctly. Or it isn’t; I’ll patiently wait for someone to tell me why I’m wrong. In support of RE4’s remakes and remasters:
-The game is available on everything
-The HD texture mod might be one of the most impressive and well done graphics mods I’ve ever seen
-The remake is very good and offers an unique experience while being similar enough to the original and simultaneously not replacing it.

All of the REmakes have done a great job of being great in their own way without necessarily completely erasing the OG. Except REmake1. That game, while being one of the best survival horror games of all time, did completely replace the OG.

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I agree about Resi 4 being something of a gold standard for rereleases. It is on everything and Rem4ke is meaningfully different to stand apart and be its own thing.

The only thing that is annoying about the Resi 4 rereleases is that platforms that have gyro aiming never got the Wii controls but that is a very minor thing in the grand scheme.


I think a remaster can replace the original in some cases because the definition of a remaster is the original game touched up. When things start being changed you get into the area of remakes but a straight remaster is absolutely capable of replacing the original.

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the idea of a remake replacing and original is depressing! Just make new stuff and let old stuff be old. I know this is not how the industry operates ofc


Just wanted to bring up definitions since they often get discussed on the show:

Port - the same game ported to different systems with minimal differences. Differences may be additions (Resi 4 getting trophies on PS4) or compromises (Resi 4 having non-realtime cutscenes on PS2). Sometimes ports may includes higher res textures by virtue of the game being on a better system but this is not the same as a remaster.

Remaster - the original game but with deliberate enhancements. This can include better textures, new character models, uncompressed audio, updated control schemes. This is a deliberate attempt by a dev to improve the original or bring it up to modern standards but the core game is unchanged. Examples include SMT3 and the GTA Trilogy (where it was done badly).

Remake - a full scale reimagining of one or more aspects of the game. This can include all aspects of the game like Resident Evil 2 or just the art like MGS3 Delta. A full remake has none of the original code and the gameplay features and structure are reimagined. A limited remake like MGS3 Delta or Shadow of the Colossus has the original code running underneath new art.

Lies - some games are sold as remakes but they are not. Like a Dragon Ishin was sold as a remake but it is in fact the original game ported into Unreal so that Unreal can act as a wrapper for console SDKs etc. Nothing about that game has been remade bar potentially taking some lighting tech from Unreal (as is the case with Kamiwaza).

To the point above, I argue that remakes can never replace the original but act as different takes/companion pieces. Remasters potentially can replace the original as the defacto version because remasters don’t change the game meaningfully.


Jesus this thread blew up a little I expected like 6 replies lmfao


I feel a similar way about sequels, so I get it! I still say that accessibility is inevitably a good thing if we want everyone to be able to play older games at all, since not everybody is willing to emulate or able to sell a piece of their liver to be able to afford vintage stuff.

Insert Credit, where nobody can just leave it at six replies.


getting ready to ask the most annoying question ever

Is! It! A! Port, Remaster, or Remake!!


it’s nice to have stuff on modern platforms for accessibility’s sake, but the full on bluepoint style remakes are often worse than the originals and betray a kind of anti-historical tendency in a medium already overstuffed with capital-c consumerist garbage

this is a larger thing but it seems a lot gamers are so obsessed with modern ‘quality of life’ features that they can’t imagine older stuff being made with intention. instead these games are seen as being rife with mistakes that need to be ironed out for the modern era, as if the history of the medium is a linear path towards perfection. depressing way to think and talk about art, imo


I cannot tell you how many times I had to abandon hours of play in the early 2000s because I hadn’t found a save point or couldn’t reach a save point and I had to leave for work. I get what you’re saying, but the option to save when you want instead of at a specific spot only goes beyond superficial things like HD upscaling or whatever. Decisions like save point placement has less to do with creators intentions and more to do with state of the hardware at that moment in time.