Earlier this month, there was a lot of talk about the reports of a potential The Last of Us Remake, and while a lot of people in my circles don’t seem to be down for a remake of a game from 2013, I think it could be a great thing if accessibility is included. And those talks have escalated today after it’s been said that the outline for the story of The Last of Us Part 3 has already been written, but isn’t in development.
The Last of Us Part 2 launched in 2020 and there’s no denying that it made strides in accessibility. It boasts the most features available in a game from launch, and the scope of these features has seen the studio win awards. This was thanks to Naughty Dog keeping accessibility in mind throughout development and by including numerous consultants to help.
Now, I could look at the news of this potential remake in different ways. The popularity of remasters and remakes has been great over the years, so why not make an old game look amazing on the newly released PS5? Then there’s HBO that is making a The Last of Us show that covers the events from the games. So, having a new version of the original game would help generate hype and maybe even be ready to launch around the same time the show does. Then, as the show progresses over the years, perhaps the third instalment to the game will be ready to launch, and the show can go hand-in-hand with it. Who knows!
But I’m thinking that this could be an incredible opportunity for Naughty Dog to remake the original game while carrying the accessibility features in The Last of Us Part 2 over. That way, disabled players who were excluded from enjoying the original game, due to it being inaccessible, will be able to experience it without those concerns of it being unplayable.
Think of it as preceding what Sony has done already. Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man originally launched on the PS4 and had a good wealth of features available for disabled players. But when the PS5 was growing closer to launch, so was a remastered version of the same game. However, it also included some additional accessibility features that were designed for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and added to the PS5 remaster.
It’s been reported that The Last of Us would be a remake, not a remaster (We already had a remaster!). So really, we’re not going to see minor texture improvements and just improved frame rates. We’ll likely see a whole wealth of improvements and overhauls; from lighting, ray tracing, DualSense vibrations, and more. But building it from the ground up may mean that Naughty Dog could give themselves room to implement the scope of accessibility features it was able to achieve in the sequel.
And one of the benefits of having accessibility being so prominent across a studio is that lessons learned from previous games can be carried over to new productions from the off. As Ian Hamilton said in an interview about The Last of Us Part 2 with CIPT: “You’ll be able to take that experience through into your next game, allowing you to do more and better, earlier cheaper and easier. And that’s Naughty Dog’s secret sauce, the thing they said allowed them to achieve what they did; they took what they previously learned and applied it earlier in development.”
It also wouldn’t be surprising to me if ensuring the remake is accessible was the goal, especially with how much accessibility appears to be flowing through the veins at Sony Interactive Entertainment of late. The PS5 console sported a good deal of system-level accessibility options at launch, and recently received an update to include some more. Jim Ryan, the CEO of SIE joined a campaign by Disability:IN, and Returnal has taken us at CIPT by surprise in our preview of the game.
So maybe the fact that The Last of Us being potentially remade isn’t for everyone. Maybe those people just want a new game and adding another updated classic to their collection doesn’t appeal. But if those accessibility features are going to be carried over so more players can experience the original game? Well then, I say go for it!