A Bloomberg report which rocked the industry this week revealed that Naughty Dog is currently working on a PlayStation 5 remake of The Last of Us – despite the game first releasing on the PS3 in 2013 and then being remastered for the PS4 in 2014. It means that, should the remake launch this year – there’s no date stated in journalist Jason Schreier’s article – there’ll be just eight years between the original and its remake.
There were six years between the first Resident Evil and its legendary GameCube remake, although technology advanced at a different rate back then, and Capcom’s return to the Spencer Mansion was transformative. Meanwhile, the original version of Joel and Ellie’s cross-country escapade is still perfectly playable on PS3 – and it’s even better in remastered form on PS4, which runs flawlessly on PS5, of course.
So, what gives? Well, it’s perhaps worth stressing that while the Bloomberg article is excellent, it only includes a part of the story. While we trust the information to be accurate, we don’t know how Sony plans to sell the proposed remake and how many resources it’s assigned to the project. With these important details excluded – presumably the platform holder would have preferred to reveal this in its own time – we’re missing a major piece of the puzzle.
Our assumption has always been that PlayStation plans to resell The Last of Us: Part II on PS5, as evidenced by the lack of updates to the title since launch. While the likes of Ghost of Tsushima and – ironically, given its sequel never got off the ground – Days Gone have been patched to run at 60 frames-per-second in 4K on the next-gen console, Naughty Dog’s survival horror sequel still performs exactly the same as on a PS4 Pro.
We know that the Californian developer has big plans for its follow-up to multiplayer mode Factions, and we’d envisaged a future scenario where some kind of remaster was bundled with the online shooter similar to the Deluxe Edition of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Now we’re pondering whether the platform holder is effectively remaking The Last of Us in its sequel’s engine – bumping the presentation and gameplay to the same standard – and plotting some kind of Complete Edition.
With the television show scheduled to start shooting this summer, Sony clearly expects a surge of interest in the franchise; after all, The Witcher’s Netflix adaptation boosted sales of CD Projekt RED’s PS4 role-playing release by as much as 544 per cent. It would certainly make sense to give new fans of the franchise an easy entry point – even if those original versions of the game are still available and perfectly playable.
Naughty Dog will likely be working on a new intellectual property as well, but team sizes are enormous these days and it takes time for ideas to gesticulate. Assuming that is what’s happening at the developer, then it’ll need work for the rest of its team to do, otherwise it’ll lose talent through layoffs. Perhaps that’s another reason behind the remake’s existence – even if development did start in San Diego.
As we alluded to earlier, Bloomberg’s article only gives us a small piece of the story, and with Sony reluctant to comment – well, we won’t know the full story until it’s willing to speak. But we can ask a few simple questions while we wait: would you buy a remake for The Last of Us? How much would you be willing to pay? And what kind of changes and improvements would you like to see?