Naughty Dog announced a remaster for their highly acclaimed title The Last of Us Part II this month, which was released just three years ago. It is a shock to fans hanging on to rumours about Naughty Dog’s next AAA release. This also comes after details leaked regarding their Factions project that was supposed to be a live-service multiplayer game put alongside The Last of Us Part 2, however, according to different sources, it got internally delayed with the latest communication regarding it being made last year by Neil Druckman along with a concept image; who hyped it up as being Naughty Dog’s, ‘biggest effort ever”.
The announcement regarding the remaster came as a shock as players already hail The Last of Us 2 as one of the best-looking games of all time, which was also updated for next-gen with a 60fps patch in 2021. The Last of Us Remake also recently garnered a lot of criticism online for being a full-priced remake at 70 USD. TLOU 2 Remaster may be a good buy for existing owners of The Last of Us 2 as Naughty Dog has provided a 10$ upgrade path which can be considered fair. The main spectacle for the remaster is the newly added rogue-like survival mode called No Return. Players can choose from multiple different characters to play and each character will have a different playstyle for variety. Encounters will be randomized and we will be allowed to differentiate our path by choosing between combat and stealth encounters that can yield us different rewards and lead to our character progression. You will be competing on the global leaderboard with your Daily Runs.
While these additions are more than adequate for the price of a 10$ upgrade for existing owners of The Last of Us 2, one still has to be in disbelief over the full release of this remaster. Naughty Dog also played a marketing strategy by not revealing the full price for the remaster at the announcement, only giving details regarding the upgrade pathway. Aside from the futility of the remaster, it is a disappointment that Naughty Dog has been wasting resources remastering a game that already looks *and* runs well on the PlayStation 5. Naughty Dog’s last proper AAA release was The Last of Us 2. Since then we have not seen anything regarding their future single-player games, and what little fans saw of Factions is in danger since Naughty Dog delayed the game after Jason Schreier revealed details regarding its troubled development and the internal evaluation by Bungie leading to remarks regarding the game labelling it, ‘inability to keep players engaged for a long period of time’.
TLOU2 Remaster comes at a time when studios have started embracing the power of current-gen hardware by moving on to new titles that are designed for current-gen only and the cycle where gamers demanded rereleases for last-gen games has passed. Something weird is that unlike the announcement of The Last of Us Part 1 Remake, there was no planned PC port announced with the TLOU 2 Remaster. As PlayStation has shifted towards releasing their games on PC after 2-3 years, it would not be far-fetched to expect a port of the TLOU 2 Remaster to come next year. With the release of that, it would make the last 6 Naughty Dog projects to be rereleasing their games for PlayStation 5 and then porting them to PC; Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, The Last of Us Part 1 Remake and the upcoming The Last of Us 2 remaster.
With questions being raised regarding Naughty Dog’s capability overall, it is definitely not a good indicator that the studio is obsessed with these releases even amid the disastrous development of the live service title, Factions. Fans have been expressing disappointment over this announcement, especially with very minor changes being noticeable with comparison shots with the original release. In his latest interview, Neil Druckmann declined to comment if the studio is working on any TLOU projects beyond this remaster, however, he confirmed that other projects are in work at the Studio. It is speculated that Naughty Dog is gearing up to release a new IP, and these ports and remasters have been made to appease fans and garner time. I believe that a lot of frustration from fans regarding these releases stems from the fact that Naughty Dog has been a top-tier studio in different PlayStation generations with their IPs like Uncharted and Jak. Players have grown accustomed to expect that level of quality with all of their releases but that requires both time and resources which fans believe Naughty Dog has not properly allocated due to their focus on Factions and Remasters.
While the 10$ upgrade may be appropriately priced, a lot hangs over the standard price of the Remaster as it could lead to further controversy. Preorders for the game will start on December 5, with the game being released on January 24.