TSM Episode 435: Remaster Remaker

With this money think of all the remakes and remasters we can buy!

What game companies need is less, not more, money.

The Starlight Megaphone
Download Link: Released 2017.06.26

The entertainment industry has become gross and complacent, producing endless superficialities for a populace now devoid of the capacity to make reasonable aesthetic judgements. Also, SiliconNooB and Lusipurr offer competiting definitions of ‘remake’.

8 Comments

  1. Clinton
    Posted 2017.06.26 at 12:20 | Permalink

    Only 27 minutes in so far, thanks for the mention of my name. I agree with lusi about remastered and remade. I do on the other hand agree with silicon noob about the game choice, lol. When I donate, it’s going to be a good donation and I have a few games in mind, mwahahaha.

  2. Clinton
    Posted 2017.06.26 at 12:24 | Permalink

    Oh and bring on more disagreements and arguments, they are quite amusing, especially when lusi just overrules them because he owns the site, lol.

  3. Lusipurr
    Posted 2017.06.26 at 12:54 | Permalink

    @Clinton: It’s the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules!

    SN’s definition is fine if one is being excessively literal. However, such a definition then becomes largely useless to the video game industry because every ‘remaster’ is a remake at that point.

    However I prefer to take intention into account. If one is making new assets that are faithful to the the old assets except at a higher resolution, then how is that different from a remaster in a situation where those higher resolution assets existed in the first place?

    Take FF7 as an example: I would love a ‘remaster’ (by my definition). No higher resolution assets exist. So I want them to make new ones, but have them be absolutely faithful to the original assets. So they would be higher resolution with a commensurate level of detail, and entirely new, but they would look like the original assets. The game would not change and even the ‘overall’ appearance would not change–it would just have a higher level of detail.

    SN would call that a ‘remake’ because the assets are being made new for the title. But my point is that this misses entirely that the game is not being ‘remade’: the game is the same. The ‘gameness’ has not changed at all. Moreover, even the assets themselves are not works of ingenuity–they are being done to copy, at a higher fidelity, something that already exists. Indeed, the point here is that, if higher resolution assets had existed, they would have used those–but because they do not, they had to replace them.

    In fact this happens with a lot of remasters: they will have higher resolution assets for most things, but there will be a few things that have been lost or which did not have ‘higher resolution’ originals (such as FFX HD’s music), and so those handful of things have to be recreated. Is the whole thing a remake, then? Of course not. Even although they are ‘making’ new assets, those assets are not ‘new’ or ‘ingenious’ works–they are attempts to copy something that already exists, albeit at a higher level of detail.

    So to summarise:

    1. A game is a remaster if the intention is to produce a work which is faithful to the original game in terms of gameplay first and foremost, and secondarily if the assets are an attempt to be faithful to the original assets but at a higher level of fidelity–using whatever means the dev chooses to use, even including making new assets in service of that purpose.

    2. A game is a remake if the intention is to produce a work which differs from the original game in terms of gameplay first and foremost, or if it significantly differs in the presentation of its assets, so that they are no longer substantially faithful to the original game–using whatever means the dev chooses to use, even including using original assets in service of that purpose.

    So, the FFX Remaster is still a remaster, even although the music was REMADE with some changes, because the intention there was to be faithful to the original gameplay and assets (even if in my estimation it was less successful in that direction).

    But the FFVII Remake is a remake, even although it has the same overall plot, characters, setting, etc., because the intention there was to differ from the original gameplay and to have assets which represent the same characters but which are not faithful to the original assets by a significant degree.

  4. Clinton
    Posted 2017.06.26 at 13:33 | Permalink

    @lusipurr: I totally get it. Throw any game out there. Use Uncharted as an example: Sony would have been “remaking” uncharted if whenever Nathan battled somebody it turned into a turned based battle system instead of real-time. Changing the so called essence, the gist, the makeup of the game makes it a remake. Then when somebody enhances the graphics, and the sound, or just makes changes to the point where it is extremely loyal to the source, it’s only a remaster. FF7 without a doubt is a remake, the battle system is totally different. FF is known for turn based battles, it looks like 7 is going to be more real-time. When FF7 went to the PC and it was cleaned up a bit, that is a remaster, it was extremely loyal and close to the origin. Same with the PS4 version that was ported from the PC.

  5. SiliconNooB
    Posted 2017.06.27 at 00:51 | Permalink

    SN’s definition is fine if one is being excessively literal. However, such a definition then becomes largely useless to the video game industry because every ‘remaster’ is a remake at that point.

    However I prefer to take intention into account. If one is making new assets that are faithful to the the old assets except at a higher resolution, then how is that different from a remaster in a situation where those higher resolution assets existed in the first place?

    It’s not just at a higher resolution though. Assets are being made with increased geometry, and high resolution textures. And then of course there is all the current gen visual effects that are going to be added to the experience.

    To my mind a remaster involves taking the original assets + visual effects and displaying them at an increased resolution and framerate, whist utilising increased anisotropic filtering and texture filtering. What is there is still essentially the original content that was created all those years ago, but it just looks a little better due to greater clarity. By contrast a project which involves completely remaking a game’s assets to comprehensively bring them in line with contemporary graphics technology can be accurately called a remake. I don’t think that’s excessively literal.

    I mean can you really say that Super Mario Allstars isn’t a remake of the NES games it features?

  6. Lusipurr
    Posted 2017.06.27 at 01:13 | Permalink

    @SN: That you are calling Mario All Stars’ Super Mario Bros. 2 or 3 titles remakes just goes to show how absurd and unhelpful your definition is. Thank you.

  7. Dancing Matt
    Posted 2017.06.27 at 11:55 | Permalink

    I think that Super Mario All-Stars is the classical definition of a remaster versus a remake. The games are almost exactly the same, except for the graphical reconstruction. A remake, in recent parlance, would be more like that new Fire Emblem game that has to be be totally reconstructed from the NES game. In the middle is Adventures Of Mana.

    Really though, a Remaster is closer to SN’s definition though, with an up-res’d version of the same assets. However, that definition really only works starting in the PS2-era. Otherwise, you get something like Final Fantasy VI OS, which is the same game, except it has all new graphical assets, but that essentially ruins the game. They’re modern terms which don’t readily apply to older games.

  8. Lusipurr
    Posted 2017.06.27 at 13:07 | Permalink

    @DM: My point precisely. Whilst his definition is very literally correct in the most prescriptivist reading, it renders the terms virtually useless for the intentions of application to games. For films or audio tracks, it makes complete sense, where the medium and the content are unified in a way that they are not with a video game (i.e. a game is its gameplay and not its assets; but an audio track is almost entirely its assets).