Sony clearly intended to make a bigger splash with The Last of Us Remastered before it leaked. The platform holder admirably attempted to shrug aside the mistimed comments made by Turkish executive Sercan Sulun late last month, but it couldn’t gloss over the big gaping banner advertisement that it accidentally uploaded to the PlayStation Store. As such, the Japanese giant forced its own hand – an attribute accentuated by the hastily prepared PlayStation Blog post that appeared minutes after affable executive Shuhei Yoshida had confirmed the game on Twitter.
We’re sure that the firm had intended to release comparison footage and gameplay clips alongside the reveal, but instead we got a trailer featuring some 60 seconds of press praise and a brief glimpse at one of the survival horror’s most surprising moments. It’s not exactly the coming out party that the PlayStation 4 re-release deserved, but seeing as the original is widely acknowledged to be one of the previous generation’s best games, the excitement was palpable all the same. Confirmation that Naughty Dog itself is handling development proved to be the icing on the post apocalyptic pastry.
With the game now out in the open, though, that leads us to the next big question pertaining to its existence: how well will it perform, and will it be enough to flesh out the next-gen format’s lineup in a period that’s looking a little dry? Complaints have already been lobbed at the award winning adventure’s price point like a scavenged brick, with detractors debating the value of a year old re-release. Others have expressed frustration that the next big title seemingly coming out of Worldwide Studios is a port, rather than something new from one of its first-party teams.
Before we argue against those points, it’s important to recognise exactly what Remastered is. While we don’t have any official images to clarify our point, the developer stresses that the overhauled outing will boast better draw distances, higher-resolution character models, improved shadows, enhanced lighting, and more. It’s using the terminology “rebuilt” rather than “re-released”, which leads us to believe that you can expect a pretty sizeable upgrade. The footage in the first trailer – for all of its flaws – certainly supports that point, flaunting some painterly visuals.
In addition to all of the above, it’s also promising some slight gameplay tweaks – though we don’t know what these will entail – as well as a bumped up framerate, which will apparently sit at around 60 frames-per-second. As rumoured, the package will also include two multiplayer map packs and the critically acclaimed Left Behind expansion that launched earlier in the year. In terms of next-gen exclusive extras, the firm has also sourced exclusive commentary from creative director Neil Druckmann, as well as stars Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson.
It feels right now like Sony’s counting on The Last of Us Remastered to give it a burst of momentum heading into the busy holiday release window
For the manufacturer, that’s more than enough content to justify the price point, and it’s difficult to disagree. While some may feel aggrieved at the idea of splashing out on the software again, it’s important to stress that the title’s not mandatory – no one’s going to force you to buy it. Moreover, it’s worth acknowledging the historical expectations for these types of Game of the Year packages, which in the past have released on the same system at full price with DLC included. You could argue that this – much like Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition – represents better value due to its upgraded visuals.
Either way, it’s going to be interesting to see how the game performs. We’ve already elaborated on why we don’t think that the oft-discussed post-release drought has been as bad as people like to make out on the PS4, but there’s no doubt that things are starting to look a little dry over the summer. Watch Dogs is sure to be a big success next month, but outside of smaller releases like Murdered: Soul Suspect and The Evil Within, there’s not much else in the platform’s pipeline until Destiny in September.
Of course, this could all change during the platform holder’s rapidly approaching E3 press conference, but it certainly feels like the firm’s counting on The Last of Us Remastered to give it one last burst of momentum heading into the busy holiday release window. We don’t yet know when the title will arrive, but previous rumours have pegged it at 19th June, which just about fits in with its summer launch window claim. The timing would be great from a tactical perspective, as it would be able to carry any momentum out of this year’s gigantic gaming convention into the release.
But the quandary remains: is it enough? The launch of Titanfall has seen Microsoft get particularly aggressive over the past few weeks, with the Xbox One heavily discounted around the world. Some may argue that this is retailers responding to stationary stock, but it’s prompted a bump in interest surrounding the platform. Furthermore, while the grass isn’t exactly much greener on the other side – branding guidelines aside – there’s a growing contempt for the indie focus on Sony’s machine. Misplaced or not, this is a reality right now.
There are some advantages in the re-release’s favour. For starters, the manufacturer has managed to convince a number of ex-Xbox diehards to adopt its ecosystem with the PS4, and that means that many may have an opportunity to experience the adventure for the first time. As such, this could prove the perfect release for newcomers, and may yet convince fence sitters which system to choose. Fans of the poignant foray may also be tempted to double-dip, but the frequency of this will depend much on the improvements made to the original game.
Regardless, few could argue that having an award winning exclusive within its stable so early is a bad thing. There’s a reason that Sony’s advertising the fact that Naughty Dog’s survival horror property earned over 200 awards, and it could culminate in a big selling point for the PS4. Exactly whether it catches on like the original will depend on the effort that the manufacturer puts into marketing it, but we’d argue that its hesitation to rush the initial reveal suggests that it considers this a big thing. Whether the port can carry the console until Christmas, though, remains to be seen.
Do you think that The Last of Us Remastered will end up being a major release for the PS4, or just something to pad out the slow summer months prior to the big holiday shopping season? Smash a bottle in the comments section below.
Is The Last of Us enough to carry PS4 until Christmas? (53 votes)
Yes, I intend to play through the entire campaign this summer
Hmm, I’ll need to see the improvements first
No, I’ve experienced the adventure and want something new
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