The Last of Us Part I will debut on September 2nd on PS5, a remake designed to “remember and honor” the original PS3 game. Those were Sony’s words on the PS Blog, where Naughty Dog detailed the combat, animations, and explained why the game wasn’t remastered.
According to Sean Eskaig, head of animation for TLOU (2013) and now director of Part I, the project is not a remaster, as all elements of the art direction (including characters, environments and lighting technology) have undergone changes.
We redid everything from the art direction, lighting, technology and even the character designs. We’ve taken everything we’ve learned over the decade since the original and used this new technology to create something that lives up to the original but looks better.
Regarding the combat in The Last of Us Part I, John Bellom, the game’s head of programming, explained that the advancements in hardware allowed for quite a leap:
A few changes to the combat system, to put it mildly, incorporate something we had to improvise. [no original]. In the original, we have sections that were pre-programmed and always played the same way.
Regarding the reuse of mechanics from The Last of Us Part II, Christian Wohlwend, who is in charge of combat, said that the evolution in this regard has been “monumental”:
The evolution in the melee system has been monumental. So we were able to take advantage of all the new The Last of Us Part II development tools in the remake. This makes it much more flexible, makes it easier to improve and avoid errors, and also elevates the entire content.
It should be noted that the current processing power of the PS5 is so powerful that unprecedented features will appear in the remake. For AI in combat, for example, the PS3 had a limit of 8 NPCs. Already on PS5, up to 128 NPCs are allowed – although the developer explains: it will not fill the screen with infected.
To solve this at the time, Naughty Dog had to enable or disable the focus of NPCs on characters. However, this limit is no longer a cause for concern as the PS5 allows for up to 128 active NPCs. But rest assured that no one will have to deal with as many infected or scrappers in the remake.
Audio and cinematics enrich the story of The Last of Us Part I
Eric Pangilinan, art director of The Last of Us Part I, said it will give fans of the franchise an immersive experience. The most exciting scenes promise to be made even heavier by the work done in motion capture.
All these animation improvements enhance the impact of the scenes. Because in this way we increase the fidelity of expression. We can make more subtle gestures that look more natural.
Since everything is designed to provide more immersion in the remake, none of them would be complete without a good job on the audio, right? Combined with DualSense technology, the quality of the sound effects promises to transport fans into the game.
The innovation is noticeable as soon as you open the game. You can tell the size of the fire, point out where every panicked scream in the streets is coming from, hear the sounds of the infected all around you as you run through what Joel once called home. But Naughty Dog also shows the potential of 3D audio even in slower, less intense moments.
The Last of Us Part I launches on September 2nd for PS5 – and will be coming to PC in the future. Amazon pre-orders are still going on – with discounts. Get your copy here!