Differences Between a Video Game Reboot vs Remake vs Remaster

Old has become new again. Despite all the latest, powerful technology put into modern-day consoles and video games, many people want to return to simpler times. That’s why many companies are turning to some of the older, classic games to release for newer consoles. 

When these games are produced, you may hear some different words used to describe them. Most of the time this is “reboot”, “remake”, or “remaster”. There are actually key differences between these, and knowing these differences can help you understand what the game will have to offer. 

What Is a Reboot?

When a game is rebooted, designers take elements from a previous game series and essentially start it over again. There are usually big changes to characters, settings, or the overall story. 

These are not typically sequels to previous games in a series, as reboots tend to completely change most aspects of the game in order to make it appeal to a new audience. 

For example, the 2016 game Doom was a reboot of the 1993 FPS game. It completely updated the graphics, as well as adding more depth to the game’s storyline and gameplay elements. 

A reboot, in comparison to other types of game reworkings, tends to change much more of the original game material. The entire concept of a game or game series is reimagined in a reboot.

What Is a Remake?

In a remake, game developers attempt to completely rebuild the game from its original form, updating it technically as well as making it more playable for a newer generation. The main concepts of the game, such as the characters, plotlines, and settings, all tend to stay the same within a remake. However, there may be new additions to gameplay elements, and changes to content such as items, enemies, combat, and more. 

An example of a remake is Shadow of the Colossus, originally a Playstation 2 game, but remade for the Playstation 3 console. There were some changes from the original including a graphic update, a new control scheme, and better overall performance for the PS3. 

What Is a Remaster?

The differences between remakes and remasters is very slight, but there is a difference. While a remake tends to focus on reworking the technical and performance aspects of a game, a remaster is generally made to look good on newer devices, and update the game to different resolutions like HD.

Some other things that can be technically improved, such as better sound, voice acting, and controls may also get an update. However, most parts of the actual gameplay stay the same. 

An example of a remaster is the Spyro Reignited trilogy. These three games were completely graphically updated, and they recreated the levels similarly to the originals. Spyro’s lines as well as the entire soundtrack was re-recorded. 

Other Similar Terms

There are some other words you may also hear when people talk about an older game getting released again. These can also tell you something about what types of changes may have been made to the original game.


These types of releases are simply games being reprogrammed in order to work on a different console. When a game is made to play on multiple consoles, each release is a different port for each console. 

There are usually next to no changes between an original game and its ports, besides differences in controls depending on what console the game is played on. 


These games are usually completely different from the main game or series, and aren’t really sequels. Spin-offs are most often games that take place in the same universe as a game series, yet with different characters and plotlines. 

There are usually a lot of references to the main series of games that the spin-off is based on. These types of games are very prevalent with super popular game series, such as Pokemon. There are tons of Pokemon spin-off games, such as Pokemon Mystery Dungeons, Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Ranger, and Pokemon GO. 


This term is pretty straightforward. When a game is rereleased, it’s usually on the same console it was originally made for. Many game developers rerelease their most popular game titles with rebrandings such as “Greatest Hits” on the PS2 and PS3, “Nintendo Selects” for the Wii, WiiU, and 3DS, or Game of the Year editions of games. 

These don’t usually have much difference from the original game, although sometimes new content may be added for this special edition of the game. Many times when these games go on sale, you can get some additional in-game content for buying it. 

Are These Games Worth Buying?

Producing the same game again in order to reach more of an audience might seem a little gimmicky, but in most cases remastered, rebooted and remade games actually bring a lot of needed updates to these classics. 

Some developers do a better job at rehashing their older games than others, so it really depends on the game itself. There are times when a remake or remaster is obviously done for a cash grab, with very little thought put into them. Reboots are different as they are usually wildly different from the source material, so a lot more work is put into them. 

If your favorite classic game is facing a new, updated version, don’t be alarmed. Many game developers understand how important these games are to their fans and do their best to make them feel refreshing, as if you’re playing it again for the first time. 

source https://www.online-tech-tips.com/gaming/differences-between-a-video-game-reboot-vs-remake-vs-remaster/