Corey Hong, a quality assurance tester with Naughty Dog, has confirmed via his LinkedIn page that the developer is working on an “unannounced remake project,” adding credibility to a Bloomberg report from last year about how a remake to The Last of Us is in the works. Naughty Dog’s 2013 post-apocalyptic hit is not mentioned anywhere in Hong’s updated resume, but another bullet point regarding an “unannounced multiplayer project” seems to allude to the franchise’s long-rumored standalone multiplayer component. Bloomberg reported that Sony’s Visual Arts Service Group was originally in charge of The Last of Us remake for PlayStation 5, but the project is now being spearheaded by Naughty Dog.
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Michael Mumbauer, who took over direction of the Visual Arts Service Group in 2007, recruited a group of about 30 developers, internally and from neighboring game studios, to form a new development unit within Sony. The idea was to expand upon some of the company’s most successful franchises and the team began working on a remake of the 2013 hit The Last of Us for the PlayStation 5 [“T1X”]. But Sony never fully acknowledged the team’s existence or gave them the funding and support needed to succeed in the highly competitive video game market, according to people involved. The studio never even got its own name. Instead, Sony moved ownership of the The Last of Us remake to its original creator, Naughty Dog, a Sony-owned studio behind many of the company’s best-selling games and an HBO television series in development.
Sony sent word that after the completion of The Last of Us Part II, some people from Naughty Dog would help out with T1X. Mumbauer’s team saw this as their short-lived autonomy being stripped. Dozens of Naughty Dog staff were joining the project, and some had actually worked on the original The Last of Us, giving them more weight in discussions about T1X’s direction. The game was moved under Naughty Dog’s budget, which Sony gave more leeway than the Visual Arts Service Group. Soon it was apparent that Naughty Dog was in charge, and the dynamics returned to what they had been for the last decade and a half: The Visual Arts Support Group aiding another team of developers rather than leading.
The Last of Us fans aren’t sure whether the game would even benefit from a remake, considering all of the critical claim that the original PS3 title has already achieved since its release in June 2013. A remastered version of the game with improved performance (1080p/60 FPS), gameplay tweaks, and a photo mode was released for the PS4 in July 2014. It received a patch in October 2020 that drastically reduced loading times.