From Mario to The Last of Us whats the difference

From Mario to The Last of Us: what’s the difference between a remake and remaster?

From PlayStation 5 to the Nintendo Switch, the terms remaster and remake are regularly thrown around. But what is the difference between the two?

Anyone who keeps an eye on all the games coming out this year will surely have noticed something. There are very many titles on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series or Nintendo Switch among them that we already know. For example, The Last of Us Part II: Remastered, Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door have already appeared. Those were all remakes or remasters.

So yes, you read correctly: those are all games that have come out before. Some more recent than others. Many of those titles are referred to as a remake or a remaster. Those two terms are used alternately by some, but there is a clear difference between them.

Here’s the difference between a remake and a remaster

Every year, a handful of remakes or remasters of well-known games are released. It is then not uncommon for these games to receive extensive attention. This is not surprising, as the re-release of a game plays on our nostalgia. For example, last year we got a remake of Resident Evil 4 and a remaster of Metroid Prime on the Nintendo Switch.

But what does a remaster or a remake mean? Despite the terms sounding fairly similar, the difference is fairly significant. A remaster is best thought of as “polishing. An existing game is revisited for graphical limitations. The quality of the graphics is upgraded, the sound is improved. The game is prepared again for the PlayStation 5 or other contemporary consoles and screens, for example.

From Mario to The Last of Us: what's the difference between a remake and remaster?RESIDENT EVIL 4 (2005) (Image: Capcom)

In a remake, the creators start from scratch again. The entire game is rebuilt from the ground up. That means that not only the graphics get a revamp, the engine on which the game runs is also renewed.

New features will be added, the game will run smoother, controls will be improved. It’s basically a completely new game in a familiar jacket.

Why do so many remakes and remasters appear?

Almost more than thirty remakes or remasters are appearing this year. There seem to be more of them every year. Why exactly the game industry does this is not entirely clear. For example, it is a good way for game developers to make money. Instead of coming up with a completely new game and one that could potentially flop, a game that was successful anyway is re-released.

It plays into nostalgia. Whether you have a PlayStation 5 or a Nintendo Switch, you are bound to have a nostalgic feeling for some old games. Then when these games are offered to you again, polished and all, chances are you’ll buy them.

From Mario to The Last of Us: what's the difference between a remake and remaster? Nintendo

Many remakes and remasters are also very well received. For example, Resident Evil 4 on the PlayStation 5 received nothing but rave reviews. Still, it is important to remain critical. Because these remakes and remasters are often sold for hefty prices. Why pay so much money on a game you have already played anyway?

Remakes and remasters are still coming out in 2024

So early this year, we’ve already seen The Last of Us Part II: Remastered. This month, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door came out. And that’s not all. Here are some more remakes and remasters you can expect to see this year on PlayStation 5 or Nintendo Switch, for example:

Until Dawn Remaster

Silent Hill 2 Remake

Metal Gear Solid Delta Snake Eater

Epic Mickey Rebrushed

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD

Age of Mythology

Sonic Generations X Shadow

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