Naughty Dog’s new remake of 2013’s BAFTA-winning post-apocalyptic video game The Last of Us arrives soon and finds itself highly anticipated. However, unlike the original, there is also more controversy accompanying this release. The question is: is this justified?
*spoilers regarding The Last of Us franchise will follow in this piece*
What’s The Hype All About?
Well, The Last of Us has become a blockbuster brand for Naughty Dog, following on from previous works such as the Crash Bandicoot franchise and the action-fuelled Uncharted series. The original 2013 entry received almost universal critical acclaim, with praise reserved in-particular for its emotional, character-driven narrative. The game swept up at the awards season that year and it cemented itself as a Playstation 3 classic. Its 2020 sequel, The Last of Us Part II, was able to attract just as much critical acclaim upon its release, with even greater success at the game awards that year. The game’s release was opportune, with its subject matter providing many with catharsis in year blighted by pandemic.
Why Is The Last of Us So Controversial?
Glad you asked. When The Last of Part II came out in June 2020, it managed to elicit a significant debate. Released under a shroud caused by internal leaks which made public a number of major plot elements, the game had to contend with an already disgruntled section of legacy fans. This came as a result of revelations such as the death of the first game’s protagonist Joel and, on a much more serious note, anger about the introduction of a transgender character. The fallout from the game resulted in a debate that has raged ever since. This has arguably marred the release of the new game.
Why Are They Releasing A Remake?
Upon the game’s announcement, the many benefits of producing a remake were touted. There are the obvious graphical improvements, which will replicate the standard set by the Last of Us Part II. Then the game will make strides with its enemy AI and the fluency of its gameplay. Perhaps the most important addition however, one also inspired by work done on The Last of Us Part II, is the accessibility options that will be presented with the game. These are unrivalled throughout the video game industry and will signify an upgrade on the original’s options.
However, despite the presence of some convincing arguments for an updated version of the original, there remains some scepticism regarding the merits of its release. Debates have been raging on Twitter, as evidenced below:
In the latter example, the author of the tweet explains that they are not a Naughty Dog ‘hater’. They suggest their disappointment with what they perceive to be the issues surrounding the game’s underwhelming new gameplay comes from a place of genuine excitement. The fact that they felt it necessary to take a side on the ‘debate’ about Naughty Dog says a great deal about the conversation surrounding this franchise. There are likely some good arguments on each side of the debate regarding the new game whilst there are also some unreasonable ones in some corners. The merits of the upcoming remake cannot be truly decided until it is released. However, regardless of whether the critics and fans feel that the game is justified upon its release, it will not settle the long, drawn-out, crippling debate that now forever seem to surround The Last of Us.