According to a report from Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, The Last of Us is already getting a remake, but the story surrounding its development is a little all over the place.
Reportedly, a support studio at Sony called the Visual Arts Service Group, which has assisted on games like The Last of Us Part II and Marvel’s Spider-Man, was developing a PlayStation 5 remake of the original Last of Us in a bid for more creative control under Sony’s thumb. Initially pitched as an Uncharted remake, that proposal wound up being too unwieldy and expensive, with Sony eventually settling on a less costly remake of the game that redefined it and PlayStation back in 2013, The Last of Us.
While Sony reportedly approved of the project, they seemed to refuse to allocate the budget to grow the small staff assigned to it, which stifled development on the project. Once The Last of Us Part II shipped, which wound up requiring the Visual Arts Service Group to halt development on their remake to get that game off the ground, Sony seemed to essentially reassign the remake to Naughty Dog staff.
Eventually the project was completely taken from the unnamed development team and given over to Naughty Dog. Some of the key talent at the Visual Arts Service Group subsequently left the company, and that studio is now reportedly working on a multiplayer game related to the Last of Us Part II and a remake of the first title, which was already remastered when the game made the jump to PS4.
This has seemingly everything to do with PlayStation’s focus on only producing blockbuster hits like the Last of Us franchise and the most recent God of War title. They’ve effectively shuttered Japan Studio, who produced a lot of quirky and unique titles that were never smash hits but gave Sony’s portfolio a rich diversity in gameplay and art styles. As Bloomberg previously reported, Sony is also no longer interested in making niche games that primarily appeal to the Japanese market. As a result, Sony is apparently double-dipping into the wells of their blockbusters as much as they can, with most of their developers pointed towards that goal as well.
In the same report, Bloomberg notes that Sony Bend, the studio behind 2019’s Days Gone, was looking to get a greenlight for a sequel to the game, which sold well even though it didn’t fare all too well with critics. Sony rejected the proposal and made the team work on an Uncharted game that a good number of staff did not want to work on, causing the team to hemorrhage talent before finally being let off the project in order to work on their own game last month.
If you liked The Last of Us, congratulations on getting more of it than you probably realistically asked for. Otherwise, Sony’s vice grip on this property, and really anything Naughty Dog makes, seems like it’s a little too tight these days, and ruffling more than just a few feathers internally at the same time.