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Since there are currently rumors that Bethesda is make a "remastered" Version of one of their games(most say Skyrim), I was wondering what exactly is "remastered"? And what's the difference to a "remake"? Same thing?

Or are there certain criteria for either one of them?

What kind of stuff would be expected in such versions? Most of the time the title now contains an HD for HD textures, but I always found that to be a rather weak selling point if that would be the only thing. Are there other improvements too?

Maybe some examples from different games?

For example, related to the naming problem: we have Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster and Age of Empires II Remake.

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    I doubt there is any standard. It's mostly marketing.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 10:36
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    @h0ch5tr4355 for me it's the opposite. In music, remastered means the mix was redone with newer technology, thus improving the quality of the sound. Remake to me seems like it's been recreated like the original game, but with features added and/or changed.
    – Elise
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 10:50
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    @Chippies According to the answers and I recherched also a bit (e.g. dispatches.cheatcc.com/1073) more people see it like you. Nevertheless a highly-subjective topic imho. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 10:57
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    @Chippies I can see your point, but I do not trust whoever names video games to adhere to these very strictly. In an ideal world, this this would be true, but I fear that the reality is a coin toss.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 11:00
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    @h0ch5tr4355 If we suppose that words remake and remaster are transferred from music industry, the meaning is oposite to your explanation. Master is in this context the recording that will be copied. If something is remastered the master is repaired (suppressed noise, better balanced) or made from scratch with as few changes as possible. When remade the whole recording is made from scratch differently. So I understand remastered game using new engine, having better graphics and soud quality and remade as a new game based on same story telling.
    – Crowley
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 15:58

2 Answers 2

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Although it seems like the terms are often used interchangeably within the industry and marketing, there IS a technical difference between the terms:

A remake typically shares very little of the original assets and code with the original game, distinguishing it from an "enhanced port", partial remake, or remastering.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_remake

In essence, the difference comes down to just how much of the original game code and assets are used, with a "Remastered" title only updating graphics, whilst a "Remake" could, potentially, include radical changes in gameplay.

An example of a game that has had its graphics redesigned is Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary,[11] while the core character and level information is exactly the same as in Halo: Combat Evolved.[11][12][13]

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remaster#Video_games

To use the Bethesda example, Skyrim with updated graphics only would be considered a Remaster, whilst (and good god I personally want this to happen) a version of Morrowind with both updated graphics and a Skyrim-esque combat system would be considered a Remake.

Hope that helps.

UPDATE: Having asked a friend who used to work within the industry (on several remastered titles), he confirms this is the way it is supposed to be used. He also said, however, that even within development and testing the words were often used interchangeably both verbally and on documents.

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    +1 Remake, meaning "to make it again" versus remaster, meaning "to produce a (higher fidelity) primary recording". The very definitions, found in a dictionary, give us an idea of which word we should be using for which case.
    – phyrfox
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 17:12
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    Resident Evil is an example of a game that was remade, then remastered. The 2002 Gamecube version of Resident Evil was a remake of the Playstation original. The 2015 HD version was a remastered version of that remake.
    – Carl Fink
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 20:17
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"Remaster" would mean they took the original game (code+assets) and improved it somehow, usually by improving the graphics and/or adding compatibility with new hardware/OS, but possibly also adding features.

"Remake" means just what it sounds like, they completely remade the game from scratch.

The same applies to things like movies and music also.

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