After months of speculation, denial, and leaks; Naughty Dog finally admitted that a PS4 port for The Last of Us is on the way for a summer 2014 release. Since the announcement, the developer has admitted that the team was hard at work on converting the post-apocalyptic zombie thriller long before things were officially announced. If you’ve been wondering why things were kept under wraps for so long, we may finally have some answers.
The creative director behind The Last of Us Remastered, Neil Druckmann, recently spoke to Edge Online about the task of bringing the game to the new console generation. The team was excited about giving the critically-acclaimed product a new generation makeover, but The Last of Us was so optimized to channel the PS3’s unique power that the conversion was a nightmare.
“I wish we had a button that was like ‘Turn On PS4 Mode’, but no… We expected it to be hell, and it was hell. Just getting an image onscreen, even an inferior one with the shadows broken, lighting broken and with it crashing every 30 seconds … that took a long time. These engineers are some of the best in the industry and they optimized the game so much for the PS3’s SPUs specifically. It was optimized on a binary level, but after shifting those things over, you have to go back to the high level, make sure the systems are intact, and optimize it again.”
It seems possible that the complicated porting process made it difficult to predict an exact window for when the remastered edition would be ready. That could definitely explain why it took so long for the developer to officially confirm the existence of the project. Druckmann went on to explain how the problems didn’t end once the team got the new build of the game running.
“I can’t describe how difficult a task that is. And once it’s running well, you’re running the (versions) side by side to make sure you didn’t screw something up in the process, like physics being slightly off, which throws the game off, or lighting being shifted and all of a sudden it’s a drastically different look. That’s not ‘improved’ any more; that’s different. We want to stay faithful while being better.”
In addition to the gameplay changes, Druckmann explained that the transition to 1080p and 60 frames per second for the cutscenes involved taking a few steps back and rendering them all from scratch. It sounds like a nightmare, but from what we’ve seen so far, the finished product appears to be well worth the wait.
Although the remastered edition isn’t setting out to change the game, it’s possible that a few minor tweaks will be made to take advantage of the PS4’s hardware. For example, Druckmann tossed around a few ideas about utilizing the PS4’s triggers to switch between shooting, listening, and crouching. He also addressed the possibility of putting the touchpad to use.
“…Then there are some ideas of how to use the touchpad that we’ll play with and see if it’s worth it. Mostly, we don’t want to mess with the experience too much, and we don’t want to deviate from what made The Last Of Us so great.”
That said, it seems unlikely that fans will have any complaints about a lack of new features in the port. As long as the fresh coat of paint that the PS4 adds to the mix shines as well as it does in the trailer, it’s going to be pretty hard to disappoint with this one.
Are you convinced that The Last of Us Remastered is worth the wait (and the price tag) or will you be sticking to your PS3 version?
The Last of Us Remastered is aiming for a summer 2014 release on the PS4.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.
Source: Edge Online