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Bloomberg's Jason Schreier has just released an in-depth piece that reveals how a small team of PlayStation developers started their own internal studio to develop a remake of the critically acclaimed action game back in 2018. Schreier notes that while the game still exists, the studio doesn't.
This team of about 30 developers was was put together by Michael Mumbauer, who founded the Visual Arts Service Group in 2007. The idea was to form a group of developers both internally and from neighboring game studios, as part of a new unit within Sony. Their goal, according to Schreier was "to expand upon some of the company's most successful franchises". With the team put together, they got to work on remaking The Last Of Us for PlayStation 5.
There's a lot to this story, but the long and short of it is that after The Last Of Us Part II development wrapped up, Sony decided that several members of the Naughty Dog team would move to help out with the proposed remake. This caused unrest within Mumbauer's team, who felt they were having their independence taken away by Naughty Dog's involvement, especially as several of the "dozens" of Naughty Dog staff joining the project had actually worked on the original game, and had their own ideas about the direction the remake should take.
Schreier goes on to note that the game was eventually moved under Naughty Dog's budget, and the dynamic shifted. Mumbauer's team were no longer in charge, and Naughty Dog is now leading on The Last Of Us Remake, which remains in development with assistance from Sony's Visual Arts Support Group. The future Mumbauer's team is unclear, but it is now apparently been jokingly referred to as Naughty Dog South.
It is, of course, quite surprising to learn that Naughty Dog is working on a PlayStation 5 remake of The Last Of Us. Having released in 2013, the game isn't even particularly that old, nor has it really aged all that terribly, especially if you take into account the PlayStation 4 remaster that launched the same year.
Still, with HBO's The Last Of Us on the horizon, perhaps Sony has seen an opportunity to re-tell the story in a way that drums up interest for the upcoming show, while introducing a new generation of fans to Joel and Ellie's bleak adventure.
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