The Last of Us Part I Is a Great Idea, Actually
Why the controversial remake makes sense
Let's get this out of the way: The Last Of Us is not the first game to get a remaster AND a remake in a short space of time. Shadow of the Colossus launched on PS2 in 2005, received a PS3 HD remaster (alongside ICO) in 2011 and was then fully remade by Bluepoint in 2018 for the PS4. Heck, the original Resident Evil on PlayStation/Saturn received a total GameCube remake just six years after its release AND a Nintendo DS port/remaster of the original several years after that.
"But those games saw huge visual and gameplay upgrades, Andrew", I hear you cry. Yes, yes they did. But let's get it out of our heads that remastering and remaking games over the course of a few generations isn't normal practice. Popular games will often get this treatment, usually in order to capture a new audience who may have missed out originally — Nintendo is the most well known for doing this. In the case of The Last Of Us Part I, that's exactly what is happening.
With The Last Of Us Part II having sold 10 million copies since its launch two years ago, and with the upcoming release of HBO's The Last Of Us TV adaptation, it isn't hard to see why Sony and Naughty Dog are keen on a version of their original game in this franchise being brought up-to-date for the PS5 generation — especially if TLOU2 gets that long-rumoured Director's Cut.
Many will compare screenshots from the PS3 original and the PS4 remaster with what we've seen so far of The Last Of Us Part I and claim this remake really isn't needed. I agree that the original game is still a looker today, and the remaster still pops too. But since their release, 4K HDR has become king, and while the remaster provided this to a degree, it was still working from the basis of a PS3 game. Recreating the game from the ground up with the power of the PlayStation 5 will give it a level of graphical fidelity simply not possible before, putting it on a par with its sequel, and hopefully the third part in the saga when that releases. Gone are the days of huge generational leaps in graphical capability, but that's not to say that the ninth generation doesn't still have some tricks up its sleeve!
It's not just visuals though. Naughty Dog have promised modernised gameplay mechanics, controls, and accessibility options. Considering TLOU2 is touted as being at the forefront of accessible gaming, having the original game live up to these standards with the remake means that many people will be able to experience the game fully for the first time. That alone should be worth it, but improving mechanics and controls (including utilising haptics and the adaptive triggers of the DualSense) will likely transform this nine-year-old game too.
Finally, there's the price. Sony have announced that this will retail for $69.99 in the USA, the same as its brand new titles like Gran Turismo 7 and Horizon: Forbidden West. I've seen plenty of people complain about this premium price tag, with their reason being that a remake of an older game should never command such a high price. What these people fail to realise, however, is that this is indeed a remake and not remaster. Apart from the original performances, everything is being created anew, which takes far more time, money, and resources. A $50 price tag, while great for the consumer, would be unlikely to help the studio recoup its investment in this title.
Yes, there are many games that Sony could choose to remake, but that really is up to Sony and the original teams behind those games (an Infamous remake would be pretty cool, I admit). It's very clear that Naughty Dog wanted to bring one of its biggest selling titles up to the same standard as the other games it plans to release this generation, so that audiences both old and new can appreciate it at its best. This project was given to a separate team within the company too, so other projects currently being worked on in secret haven't been affected.
So, The Last Of Us Part I is a great idea, actually. I personally can't wait to experience this game again. And if my article hasn't changed your mind? Well, just don't buy it. You'll always have the original!
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