According to a recent Bloomberg report, development on a remake of Joel and Ellie's original adventure started back in 2018 at a newly formed studio. Ultimately, the project grew and Sony chose to push control of The Last Of Us remake back to Naughty Dog. It's a whole thing (and a great read), but the main takeaway for me right now is this: Sony is remaking a game that absolutely does not need a remake.
Let's be honest, there's very little in The Last Of Us that needs remaking. The very idea that any eight-year-old video game needs a remake is ridiculous, but The Last Of Us? Get outta here.
Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic adventure was - and still is - an absolute masterpiece. Remember when it came out and was instantly hailed as one of the greatest games of all time by pretty much everyone who played it? Yeah, that hasn't changed. It still blends cinematic action with grim horror and moments of unbearable tension. Troy Baker and Ashely Johnson still provide the game's beating heart as Joel and Ellie. The hotel basement section still makes me want to throw up until my soul leaves my body in a cloud of acid-green fear-vomit. There is nothing a remake could add to any of that.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for remaking critically acclaimed masterpieces - when the time is right. Resident Evil 2 released in 1998, and the 2019 remake was a revelation that made the most of over two decades of advancements to give us something wholly new. Ditto for all the recent Activision remasters and remakes, which have breathed new life into classics while ensuring they feel and play just as good as they did back in the day.
I know that the PlayStation 5 is significantly more powerful than the PlayStation 3, but not so much that The Last Of Us is suddenly this ugly unplayable mess - far from it. Hell, there's a PlayStation 4 remaster that still looks and runs great. I played through it again last year in the build-up to The Last Of Us Part II, and at no point did I express any desire to see any of it changed, fixed, fiddled with, or tweaked for a next-gen console.
The absolute most a remake of The Last Of Us could do is re-tell the 2013 story with the same souped-up graphics and gameplay as The Last Of Us Part II. There's also an argument to be made that it could incorporate some of its sequel's larger and more open level-design. I would never pretend that I wouldn't play such a remake if it came out - The Last Of Us Part II is a remarkably good-looking game and it'd be interesting to see the original game in a new way. Even so, I'd much, much rather the developers working on a project like that spent their time on anything else.
In the same Bloomberg report, we learned that Sony shot down a pitch for Days Gone 2. I'm not going to pretend I had any love for Days Gone, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I'd rather see a new entry in that series, or a brand-new IP, rather than a remake of a video game we already know, and already love. Remaking The Last Of Us feels like a needless flex, like the guy who always succeeded in school coming to your house in a limo showing off his new six-pack and reminding you he's still great. We get it. You're the best. Move on.
My own muddled analogies aside, I'd hope you can see where I'm coming from. Given the response to the Bloomberg report so far, it seems most people share my reservations. Sony took some big risks with new IP on PlayStation 4, and found huge success with the likes of Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Ghost Of Tsushima.
I'm amped for Horizon Forbidden West, and a sequel to Tsushima is all but inevitable. I'm not suggesting that Naughty Dog remaking The Last Of Us will in any way detract from the next big PlayStation IP, but I have to wonder what the message will be to Sony executives when The Last Of Us remake releases and inevitably makes a crap-ton more money than newer, more interesting projects.
On the bright side, with Naughty Dog returning to work on a remake of a game it released eight years ago, we can probably assume that it'll bring all manner of new tricks to the table. There's no denying The Last Of Us Part II's gameplay and design makes some huge improvements and it'll be fascinating to see how that knowledge is transferred to the original game.
My gut reaction, though, is that The Last Of Us is a great game that still holds up and doesn't need tampering with. I'm obviously still going to play this remake though, and if I'm wrong and absolutely love it? Well, I'm hardly going to complain.
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