The Last of Us Remastered is “Just Scratching the Surface” of the PS4, Says Naughty Dog
To help promote the launch of The Last of Us Remastered last week, Naughty Dog Community Strategist Arne Meyer was interviewed by Metro, revealing that it was challenging at first to decide exactly how they were going to approach bringing The Last of Us to PlayStation 4:
Yeah, it was a little challenging at the beginning because we were trying to scope that our for ourselves and we were trying to figure out, ‘Well, is this just a visual upgrade?’ ‘Do we want to change the gameplay design or the gameplay mechanics?’ ‘Do we want to fix the things that other people have said they’re finding doesn’t resonate with them?’ ‘Do we want to fix the issues that we’re self-critical about?’
And as we were scoping it out and thinking about the whole process, and what it means to make a remaster, that’s how our scope started paring down and… We’re all familiar with movies that have made a remastered version or a newer version, and they’ve touched some narrative elements, or they’ve changed something around, and a small change ends up being a lot bigger than you would think. Especially when fans have something near and dear to their heart.
After Metro brought up the Star Wars special editions that sucked, Meyer laughed and said, “So we didn’t want to mess with that formula too much, we didn’t want to replicate those problems. It’s sort of like, ‘Well, okay, a remaster really means let’s do something but let’s just increase the quality of it.’ And that started to inform the scope of what we were doing.”
Deciding to focus on a visual upgradegave Naughty Dog a chance to mess around with the PS4, and as Meyer puts it, they’ve only begun to scratch the surface in terms of pushing the system with The Last of Us Remastered:
I think we’re just scratching the surface. Obviously this isn’t our first game that’s been developed purely for the PS4, so I think for us this is a great proof of concept that ‘here’s the first foundation of how good we can do it and how far we can push it.’ And that’s without doing something that’s made ground-up for the PS4.
Meyer then replied to a statement from Metro that suggested one of the problems with these new consoles is that it’s difficult to quantify some of the graphical improvements:
Yeah, it’s always been hard to quantify because it’s so extremely relative to everything else. And with some things we’re actually reaching the limit of your eye anyway, which is crazy. But I think when you look at the way that our games have improved from game to game, there is a clear progression there and I think you can expect that as you continue development on the PS4.
Clearly Meyer wasn’t going to say whether they’re doing another The Last of Us game, so he was instead asked if making another TLOU would dilute the experience of the original:
I think the decision-making process we have for all our games at Naughty Dog actually addressees that. And you know, we have… it’s a very big picture criteria but it’s basically like, ‘Let’s take a look at a game in a particular universe and can we say something interesting about that universe? Can we say something interesting about the characters in it?
Is it something that we’re still excited about and can we wrap it up in gameplay that we’re excited about?’ If we don’t match any of that criteria we won’t make the game. And that’s served us really, really well in the past. And I think that’s what will inform us for the future.