The Last of Us Remake doesn’t need to happen. I’ve said as such before and stand by how heinously unnecessary it is for Naughty Dog’s masterpiece to be revived when the original game and its remaster are still readily available on modern platforms. It isn’t a forgotten classic or a neglected gem, but one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful games ever made.
But fuck what I think, it’s coming out in September exclusively for PS5 with a premium price tag. It was leaked ahead of Summer Games Fest and acted as the showcase’s final reveal, although it seems to have gone down with a relative whimper. I love The Last of Us – it’s one of my favourite games ever – but even I can't justify the presence of a high budget remake when Sony could be allocating its resources to more creative places instead of retreading the same ground over and over again in pursuit of safe, guaranteed profits.
Yet there’s nothing we can do about its eventual arrival, so I’m going to enter simp gamer mode and get excited for it like all the other losers out there. When this project was first rumoured I expected it to be a more comprehensive offering, or one that would reimagine entire gameplay sequences or see performances recorded a second time in order to update the game for modern audiences, despite the fact it is still very much that in the first place.
If anything the remake is a more subdued affair that is leaving every single story beat and cutscene untouched, opting to throw a ‘Part 1’ on the box so it can stand alongside its successor with the same gameplay systems and visual quality. It ain’t broke, so there’s no need to fix it I suppose, but if that’s the case why remake the game at all? Naughty Dog made a big deal about this being a “from the ground-up remake” that has revised animations, motion capture, combat, exploration, and basically everything else.
This isn’t a remake on the same scale as Final Fantasy 7, and it doesn’t plan to reimagine the original game with an updated creative vision or daring decisions that might usurp a narrative and characters that mean so much to so many. Nope, it’s playing it safe. That much is clear from the trailer and comparisons already being made online. Shot composition is identical, dialogue is untouched, and we can expect it all to play out like the game we’ve played dozens of times already. Knowing all this, is it weird that I think it’s the right decision?
The Last of Us doesn’t need a remake, but we’re getting one regardless so part of me is relieved that Naughty Dog isn’t pushing the boat out or seeking to make needless changes to such a masterpiece merely to justify its existence. By saying this I am absolutely part of the problem, but I wouldn’t object to buying a remake that leaves the narrative alone and instead opts to update moment-to-moment gameplay with brutal combat and resource management that reflects The Last of Us Part 2. I’d love to murder enemies with a bizarre variety of options and visit workbenches to upgrade my equipment and craft objects that provide such acts with agency in the game’s world. All of these additions are welcome.
What worries me is that translating the sequel’s gameplay mechanics into the original without making appropriate changes to level design might not work, and we haven’t seen enough footage to know if these adjustments have been made at all. I doubt it, and that worries me, but I’d much rather the original experience remain untouched instead of seeking to improve something that really doesn’t need fiddling with.
Preserved is the wrong word, given this game is already installed on two consoles in my house alongside three physical copies on my shelf. God, video games are the fucking worst. The Last of Us remake is a case of joining them because I have no choice of beating them come September, I’ll just be staying off Twitter to avoid the inevitable discourse.
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