News of a video game remake is always the harbinger of a hurricane of talk. Was it really that long? Does this game really deserve a remake? This week, the eye of the storm is The last of usas fans wonder if the visuals of the just-unveiled remake are noticeably better than the original.
Announced last night at Hot Geoff Summer launch showcase, The Last of Us Part I is a total remake of The last of usNaughty Dog’s seminal apocalyptic action game for PlayStation 3. (Sony inadvertently leaked the existence of the remake a few hours before the show, cutting a little wind in the sails of the official unveiling. Naughty Dog is also develop standalone multiplayer The last of us spin off.) First partwhich sports enhanced visuals and “modernized gameplay”, is due September 2 for PlayStation 5 and at a later date for PC.
When The last of us released in 2013, it was widely considered the ultimate in graphical fidelity for its time. The remastered version for PlayStation 4, released in 2014, is even better. You could argue that, at least in the era of diminishing returns to graphical fidelity, The Last of Us Remastered is already a fairly modern game.
Two sides of the debate around The Last of Us Part IThe visuals of can be perfectly summed up by one of two statements made in response to Naughty Dog’s announcement of First part on Twitter:
- “It doesn’t look much better than the remaster,” one person wrote.
- “The difference is incredible” wrote another one.
At present, Twitter is flooded with side-by-side images comparing The Last of Us Part I to his predecessors. Some squashed screenshots of the remake compared to the 2013 original, where the muddier visuals are obviously more austere. Others use the remaster as a starting point, which is like comparing a very nice game with a Very beautiful Game.
I don’t care what anyone says, a remake of The Last of Us is totally warranted.
—Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) June 9, 2022
Going into the weeds, some people acknowledge the visual improvements while expressing disappointment with the changes in art direction that these improvements bring. For example, Joel, the protagonist, looks more weathered and tired in the remake, resembling more of his character model from the 2020s. The Last of Us Part IIset several years after the events of the first game.
The revelation also raised some questions whether or not a remake of a relatively recent – and relatively beautiful – game is worth Sony’s allocation of resources. Naughty Dog, one of Sony’s most prestigious first-party studios, could be working on anything else right now, whether it’s another entry in his popular Unexplored series or extension for The Last of Us Part II. (Last night, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann said he was leading a new project at the studio but didn’t elaborate.)
Others have argued baselessly that a remake isn’t a passion project for Naughty Dog, but rather part of a Sony-led marketing campaign for the upcoming TV adaptation. (Druckmann, who is an executive producer on the show, teased a single production encore at last night’s event, showing stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey crouching in a dimly lit room.) The series, currently in production at HBO, has no release date.
There’s a logic behind the idea that ahead of the show’s premiere, Sony would want to create some buzz for newcomers and refresh memories for longtime fans. It is, however, purely speculative. Sony did not respond to a request for comment.
To be clear, I… am not entirely sure where I stand on all of this! That’s a question for Future Me. I mean, who knows! Maybe The last of us looks like a whole new game with its controls brought up to 2022 standards. Perhaps the visuals on PS5 appear in ways I won’t be able to grasp until I play it in action. It’s the kind of stuff that can’t reasonably be assessed until a game is finished.
But there’s one slight I’m pretty damn comfortable evaluating today: $$$$. The Last of Us Part I is listed at price soon standard for next-gen gaming, with editions ranging from US$70 ($97) for base to US$100 ($139) (with the more expensive editions including a host of in-game perks and gear basic). PS5 owners who subscribe to PS Plus can currently get The Last of Us: Remastered no additional cost. It is one of the games in the PS Plus collection.
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