One of the biggest announcements from this year’s Summer Games Fest was The Last of Us Part I, but is a remake of Naughty Dog’s beloved survival horror hit really necessary?
Having been rumoured for many months, we finally got our first look at a remake for The Last of Us, announced for both PS5 and PC. You won’t have to wait long to (re)play it either, with Sony confirming a September 2, 2022, release date on PlayStation 5 with the PC version arriving a bit later.
Since those first rumours of a TLOU remake, many have questioned why Naughty Dog would revisit the original game. It’s not even a decade old and when it first launched, it truly pushed the PlayStation 3 to its limits before being remastered on PS4 just a year later. Having recently replayed this version, it holds up remarkably well (especially the multiplayer) and the story is no less impactful or gut-punching. So why go back and mess with such an all-time great?
Being such a commercial and critical success, this series has become a flagship for the PlayStation brand. Not only is there an incredible-looking HBO television series in the works, Sony and Naughty Dog are building their biggest multiplayer game to date, expanding the TLOU universe even further. With The Last of Us Part I, they’re providing an ideal entry point to the series for those who’ve yet to experience this prestige, post-apocalyptic adventure.
Perhaps more importantly, as Neil Druckmann said during his Summer Games Fest stage interview, the studio is able to remake the game closer to their original vision, thanks to the power of PS5. At first glance, it’s hard to appreciate the changes being made in The Last of Us Part I yet they’re all too clear when directly comparing this version to the PS3 original and its remaster.
Naughty Dog has rebuilt the game “from the ground up” leveraging the techniques and experience learned in creating Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us Part II. It really shows with hyper-detailed environments and characters, especially when it comes to facial animations. As Druckmann explains, the developers were able to look at the original performance capture from over a decade ago and create more realistic character expressions and movement.
If it was just a visual upgrade we’d be slightly less interested though there are significant changes being made to the core gameplay, bringing TLOU more in line with its sequel. For those who remember, Part II offers a dynamic mix of stealth, combat, and traversal, giving players more ways to interact with their surroundings. The enemy AI was more developed too, with human enemies able to change strategies on-the-fly. We’re intrigued to see how much of an impact this will have on many of the game’s memorable encounters and whether we’ll see any new gameplay segments cleverly snuck in there.
With the game just a few months from launch, we’ve been promised more details as we quickly approach September 2nd.