The Last of Us Part I has been leaking all over the internet just over a month before its September 2 release date on PlayStation 5. And seemingly in a response to those leaks, Sony has put out a full features trailer, breaking down many of the upgrades this PS5 (and PC) remake has gotten.
The video and accompanying PlayStation Blog post both run through some of the newer features in the game, most notably the visual enhancements. Characters are exponentially more detailed “down to the irises and the pupil depth.” Most of these changes can be seen in the video itself, as characters are more emotive both in cutscenes and during gameplay. For example, in the above comparison, Ellie in the PS5 version isn’t just standing idly while speaking to Joel, but crossing her arms and leaning, which is more natural. Cutscenes will contain even more subtle glances and movements in a way that is “closer to some of the original performances.”
Character models will also be the same during gameplay, meaning they will look better during interactive segments. Naughty Dog has traditionally used different models for gameplay and cutscenes, where the latter ones are more detailed and ready for close ups. This means that there will be seamless transitions between gameplay and cutscenes, something Naughty Dog started doing with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
The art direction has even been overhauled to emit a more fitting atmosphere for whatever the level calls for, be it dark and dank or sunny and optimistic. This mostly seems to be achieved through better lighting and shadows.
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Physics will also be improved. There are more movable and destructible objects in order to make the world feel “rich and lived in.” Enemy A.I. is now stronger and built from the second game’s base. They’re smarter in how they attack and flank, which should lead to more tense firefights. Friendly A.I. has been improved as well. Taking again from the sequel, allies will be able to hide more realistically from enemies. In the PS3 original and PS4 remaster, in order to alleviate gameplay frustration, friendlies could not be seen by enemies, which often meant they’d unrealistically sprint in front of foes and not alert them.
Naughty Dog also ran through new gameplay modifiers and changes. There will be an “evolved” Photo Mode, Permadeath mode, Speedrun mode, many more unlockables, a model viewer, and a ton of accessibility features. Many of these were also leaked before, but were also expected since the sequel made such strides in that area. It’ll even have an audio descriptor mode that describes what is happening in each scene.
3D audio is yet another new feature and will let players more easily deduce where enemies are as they skulk about. The DualSense is playing a big part in the immersiveness, too. Every weapon has a unique amount of adaptive trigger resistance. The bow, for example, will have some tension when first pulling down on the trigger and more the harder it is held down.
The adaptive triggers will work in tandem with the haptic feedback. The shotgun will shake the pad heavily when shot, but will also subtly vibrate again when cocked. The new workbench animations — another feature pulled from the sequel — will even vibrate accordingly as Joel takes apart and augments his weapons. Climbing, jumping, fighting, clambering, the giraffe scene, and more will all have different amounts of haptic feedback support.
However, it does not seem as though the remake will bring over any of the bigger gameplay changes from The Last of Us Part II. Many were wondering if Joel would be able to dodge or crawl, something Ellie picked up in the sequel. Crawling would likely require new level geometry while dodging would have seemingly needed new animations, both of which might have been out of the scope of this remake.
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Naughty Dog Co-President Neil Druckmann said that The Last of Us Part I is supposed to keep the authenticity of the original, but “elevate it in every way possible” and that this remake will not just be different, but better. He then added that this was the definitive way to play the first game.
While more information about the game was bound to release sooner or later, it seems like it was timed around the game being partially leaked. As compiled by Video Games Chronicle, Xbox Era Co-Founder Nick Baker recently tweeted out multiple videos of the game, which he said were given to him by an unknown source. He also put out a cheeky tweet once Sony released the official video. More was posted to ResetEra, showing another batch of stills from the game.
These were just more leaks for a series that has been chronically leaky over the last few years. The Last of Us Part II notoriously leaked a few months ahead of its release, showing spoilery scenes well before the public could play it. And while a Bloomberg article and other follow-up reports spoke about the remake starting in April 2021, PlayStation itself leaked the game in June 2022, posting the trailer and fact sheet mere hours ahead of its Summer Game Fest reveal.
Druckmann has been outspoken about the leaks regarding the sequel, telling Kinda Funny that the day the sequel leaked was one of the worst days of his life. He was also dismayed when the remake’s unveiling was prematurely spoiled, as he mulled about it on stage when speaking with Geoff Keighley during its official reveal. Druckmann also joked during that presentation that it wasn’t time to talk about his next game unless “someone in PlayStation wants to leak it.”