The Last of Us: Remastered

In an age of shallow gameplay and broken narrative logic, The Last of Us is a demonstration of how it should be done.

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VideoWatch: Seven games made better by DLC

It's this week's Eurogamer Show.

FeatureThe new cinema of Naughty Dog

How the developer arrived at The Last of Us, and where it's heading next.

Key events

We are living in a new golden age of video game music, and by way of a celebration there will be a lavish orchestral concert at the Royal Albert Hall at the end of the month (Wednesday, 30th May). It's called PlayStation in Concert and will feature an 80-piece Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, plus City of London Choir, bringing PlayStation music to life. Oh, and a light show.

After the darkness and dormancy of winter life restarts, almost as if the punishing frosts, snows and winds had never happened. The season of spring starts to take hold, colours reappear, foliage regrows and landscapes transform to offer different looks, feels and opportunities for interaction. This can be truly impactful when it manifests in video games. Where winter revealed the bones of landscapes and their design, spring brings a softer touch, its re-birth and revitalisation draping life and colour back over lands. Spring can empower a landscape to represent and symbolise in its own way. By adding these into games' story arcs and narratives, a whole new side of the landscape can be seen and experienced - one where the land tells stories of recovery, shows an ability to cleanse and has an ability to enhance peace and quiet, all while under the drape of a colourful, full of life landscape, giving the land an entirely new look and atmosphere.

The environments of massive open-world games, particularly in recent years, have been rightly praised for their representation, scale and design accuracy. However, there are some gems at the other end of the spectrum - environments that make you feel cramped, tense and desperate for a break. This is an approach to environment design utilised in our real-world, from gardens to architecture, and is mirrored excellently in some game environments, creating areas that trap us in cramped, claustrophobic conditions.

The Last of Us patch 1.08 for PS4 Pro analysed

Digital FoundryThe Last of Us patch 1.08 for PS4 Pro analysed

Great for 4K display owners - but 1080p gamers aren't happy.

A little while back, we reported that a minority of PlayStation 4 Pro titles were experiencing performance issues that resulted in some games running at a lower performance level than standard PS4 hardware during stress points. The good news is that almost all the titles we highlighted - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Mantis Burn Racing and Watch Dogs 2 among them - have received patches that help to set things right. Mantis Burn Racing even got an HDR upgrade in the process. At the end of last week, Naughty Dog released an update for The Last of Us Remastered that similarly sets out to address our concerns. There's some great work in this update, so why isn't everyone happy?

Initially, there was some confusion about what the new code actually delivered. Patch notes for the update are not particularly helpful, citing 'miscellaneous bug fixes' only, when the reality is that this update features a remarkable optimisation push. There's no post about it on Naughty Dog's website either - but a post tucked away on the PlayStation community forums gives us a little more information:

"We introduced bug fixes and optimisations that will ensure a consistent and high level of performance on the PS4 Pro," says Scott Lowe, senior communications manager at Naughty Dog. "Now, when running The Last of Us Remastered on the PS4 Pro on a standard high-definition display, the game will run natively at 1080p and offer high-quality shadows when running at its high-framerate mode."

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The Last of Us: Part 2 announced, Ellie and Joel to return

The Last of Us, one of the finest games in recent memory, is getting a sequel.

Developer Naughty Dog formally announced The Last of Us 2 this evening on stage at PSX 2016.

Main characters Joel and Ellie will both return for the follow-up, which is set some years later. Ellie is a young adult, vengeful. She also still plays the guitar. And she's still hanging around with Joel.

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Why The Last Of Us doesn't need a sequel (and why we'll play it anyway)

Some time before The Last Of Us was released in 2013 I received a small, squeezable brick in the post from Sony Computer Entertainment. It was about the size of a deck of cards and textured like a stress toy, and it had "The Last Of Us" printed on one side, with a smiley face on the other. A happy brick.

The brick remains one of the oddest pieces of promotional material I've ever been sent, although with hindsight there are worse emblems for Naughty Dog's serious, desaturated tale of survival in post-civilisation America. John Lanchester, writing about games, noted that "Respectability is a terrible thing for any art form", and with its Oscar-winning composer, its shelf of BAFTAs, and its zombies that are too sophisticated to be called zombies, The Last Of Us comes perilously close. You wouldn't know from its face, but this brick is caught in the middle of a tug-of-war over this respectability, at once a sign of how resistant the game and its grim setting are to celebration and trivialisation, but also, actually, the perfect symbol of The Last Of Us' lean simplicity. The game is cold and hard, compact and brutal.

The Last Of Us was a summing up of sorts. It arrived in June 2013, less than six months before the launch of PS4, a late-generation victory lap for Naughty Dog after the studio had delivered three breathless, brickless Uncharteds. Here, though, was something else, not so much a break from matinee adventuring as a dark inversion - The Last Of Us takes the invincible third-person combat of Nathan Drake's extended power fantasy and turns it into a 15-hour prison-yard murder, the same levering reticule and cover mechanics transmuted into a gasping, sweaty ordeal. It is a game about powerlessness and fear, one that declines to spare us the mundane details of scavenging and survival. It's a game about opening drawers and cupboards, about making bandages with bourbon and rags. It's a game about the irreducible usefulness of bricks.

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VideoWatch: Seven games made better by DLC

It's this week's Eurogamer Show.

It's been a good week for people who enjoy half-cloaks and complicated bits of machinery, all things told. Star Wars Battlefront's new DLC let's you play as cape-sporting cloud man Lando Calrissian, whereas Fallout 4's Contraptions workshop DLC lets you tinker with all sorts of, well, contraptions.

Naughty Dog clarifies The Last of Us 2 rumours

"We were working on stuff, but we don't know what we're doing next."

Last week Naughty Dog accidentally referred to its hit post-apocalyptic epic as "the first The Last of Us" and voice actor Nolan North had previously let it slip that a sequel was in development. But that's not necessarily the case as the studio has recently clarified.

Naughty Dog accidentally lets The Last of Us sequel slip

Naughty Dog accidentally lets The Last of Us sequel slip

"Did I say the first The Last of Us?"

Naughty Dog all but confirmed that a sequel to The Last of Us is in the works.

During a livestream of the Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection writer Josh Scherr said, "All the facial animation in the Uncharted series was led up by Eric [Baldwin, lead animator] here. All the facial animation in the Uncharted games and the first The Last of Us- uh, did I say the first The Last of Us? The first Last of Us. The Last of Us. The first Last of Us. The Last of Us was also keyframe animation."

Baldwin couldn't help but laugh at this point while community strategist Eric Monacelli stuck to the script and pretended nothing had happened, quickly changing the subject to the Left Behind DLC.

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Nolan North: "I know they're doing The Last of Us 2"

UPDATE: Joel actor Troy Baker: "I know nothing."

UPDATE 30/6/15 9.55am: The Last of Us lead actor Troy Baker has said he knows nothing of a sequel to the game, despite word today from Uncharted lead Nolan North that The Last of Us 2 would be made.

Some tremendous steps toward LGBTI equality have been taken of late - the gay marriage referendum in Ireland being one particularly inspiring example. There's still a ways to go, of course, but overall it's encouraging to see acceptance growing in the public consciousness.

Arnie's new film channels The Last of Us

Grizzled, flannel-shirted Dad protects daughter during viral apocalypse.

Upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger film Maggie looks more than a little inspired by The Last of Us, Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic PlayStation masterpiece.

Whatever your stance on the humble moustache, mutton chops, beard or goatee, facial hair can be found growing with reckless abandon on a number of gaming's most memorable protagonists (and a few forgettable ones to boot). Once you delve a bit deeper, however, a pattern starts to emerge from among the bristles; facial hair is, basically, game developer shorthand for emotional development.

The Last of Us' new multiplayer DLC executions are PS4-exclusive

The Last of Us is getting some slick new multiplayer DLC this week with a bevy of new weapons, skills, items, outfits, gestures, and special executions. While most of these add-ons can be purchased for either the PS3 or PS4 versions of the game, some of the new executions are PS4-exclusive due to "memory constraints" with Sony's older hardware.

"We had to exclude some sets from the PS3 version of the game due to memory constraints on the hardware," said Naughty Dog community strategist Eric Monacelli on the official The Last of Us site. "Yes, it seems with our latest add-ons we're squeezing every last ounce of memory the PS3 has to run our Factions mode."

The PS4-exclusive special executions are for the rifle, automatic rifle, and ground shiv, Sony has confirmed to Eurogamer.

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The Last of Us: Remastered is fifth biggest UK launch of 2014

The Last of Us: Remastered is fifth biggest UK launch of 2014

Infectious release is the PS4's fourth largest to date.

The Last of Us: Remastered has climbed to the top of the UK all-format charts with the fifth biggest launch of 2014 so far.

The Last of Us: Remastered sits behind Ubisoft's Watch Dogs, EA's Titanfall, Bethesda's Wolfenstein: The New Order and Sony's Infamous: Second Son on the list. The PlayStation 4 re-release is also the fourth best launch for the platform to date.

Naughty Dog's effort has ended Watch Dogs' long reign in first place - shuffling Ubisoft's open world down into second.

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FeatureThe new cinema of Naughty Dog

How the developer arrived at The Last of Us, and where it's heading next.

With Naughty Dog, you often get more than you asked for. When the Sony-affiliated Santa Monica developer set about creating a light-hearted jaunt for the PlayStation 3 with Uncharted, it created a dynamic and impressively filmic brand of interactive action. As the last generation came to an end and it set about a fusion of the survival horror of Resident Evil 4 with the emotional heart of Ico, it flourished a post apocalyptic genre piece with a tale of human warmth: a story about adolescence interrupted, adulthood and parental responsibility, as well as the countless lies we tell each other every day just in order to survive.

Face-Off: The Last of Us Remastered

Digital FoundryFace-Off: The Last of Us Remastered

The double-dip dilemma. Should you buy the PS4 version if you already own it on PS3?

Striking at the opportune moment, Naughty Dog's award-winning The Last of Us is now available to PlayStation 4 owners in remastered form - giving both newcomers and double-dippers alike a chance to play the game in lush 1080p at 60 frames per second. For impressions of how the adventure holds up on next-gen hardware when played from a fresh perspective, be sure to check out our earlier tech analysis from Digital Foundry chief Richard Leadbetter. In this article however, we'll be addressing the returning crowd; indeed for those who loved the PlayStation 3 original, is there enough here to make the game's campaign worth another play-through? Is there more to it than just a resolution and frame-rate bump?

The first thing I'll say is that expectations going in were cautiously managed. I was disappointed to see the game absent from Sony's E3 spot this year, and Naughty Dog's roll-out of information prior to the expo proved treacle-like at best. In an earlier interview with Edge, creative director Neil Druckmann even conceded to the difficulty of translating the game's PS3-focused engine to PS4, where his team's emphasis was much less on adding new bells and whistles - and more on simply getting the code to run.

“We expected it to be hell, and it was hell,” Druckmann says. “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.” In the end, getting the game running as faithfully to the original as possible has proven a priority, alongside a simple image quality boost “akin to looking at a DVD versus Blu-ray.”

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Digital Foundry vs The Last of Us Remastered

Digital FoundryDigital Foundry vs The Last of Us Remastered

Has the spruced-up PS3 classic got what it takes to compete in the next-gen era?

Mystery has surrounded Naughty Dog's PlayStation 4 remaster of its survival horror classic, The Last of Us. Announced by error and with a somewhat muted marketing push, it's a remaster where the developer has seemingly been unwilling to actually show us the game in action, a state of affairs that persisted into E3 where it was mysteriously absent from the Sony press booth. Quite why this was the case remains a puzzle - Naughty Dog had nothing untoward to hide. It's a brilliant game.

We'll be approaching it on Digital Foundry via two distinct articles, produced by authors coming to the game from two totally different perspectives. Tomorrow, my colleague Tom Morgan unleashes a full PS3 vs PS4 comparison and tells you about it from the perspective of someone who completed the original - essential reading for any potential double-dippers out there. This article is different: aside from playing through a 20-minute pre-release press demo, I've never played The Last of Us to any great degree. Dim recollections of the demo and editing the tech analysis aside, I've nothing to compare it to - I'll be judging it solely on its merits as a PlayStation 4 game, while at the same time attempting to answer all the major questions players may have.

So let's look at the tentpole enhancements as Naughty Dog has outlined them. Principally, we're looking at 1080p resolution at 60fps in both single and multi-player, a 4x detail increase to texture maps and a 2x resolution boost to shadow maps. Texture streaming is no longer required owing to the PS4's prodigious RAM, and there's longer draw distances, better LOD and improved particle effects. In essence, Naughty Dog has scaled up the original game to full HD and boosted assets to match, while doubling frame-rate. How does that look? Well, we've prepared a 22-minute 60fps gameplay capture here, downscaled from full resolution captures, and we've provided a 1080p60 download that should work just fine on most modern computers - and indeed the PlayStation 3.

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The Last of Us review

EssentialThe Last of Us review

Journey's end: Our original review, to mark the release of The Last of Us Remastered.

The Last of Us Remastered is released for PS4 this week. We're confident that our review of the original PS3 game applies to this edition too, so here's the original review - first published on 5th June 2013 - in full. In the left-hand column you'll find links to our review of the included add-on Left Behind and a few of our other favourite articles about the game. For a closer look at the PS4 edition, check Digital Foundry's analysis of the remaster, or its PS3 vs PS4 face-off.

The Last of Us, a surpassingly confident and handsome survival thriller from the cinematic populists at Naughty Dog, serves the post-apocalypse straight. Set 20 years after a fungal disease brings American society down and turns the infected into mindless monsters, its gorgeously ruined world, zombie body horror and cynical portrayal of survivors turning on each other are all very familiar themes right now. They don't come from the collective subconscious of a world in crisis so much as from a dozen tastefully chosen inspirations, among them The Walking Dead, Half-Life 2, 28 Days Later and The Road.

There's another layer of modern mythology at work though, and it's a quintessentially American one. The story follows Joel, a taciturn and bitter Texan smuggler, and Ellie, a precocious teenager, as they travel from Boston, through lawless Pittsburgh and all the way west to the Rockies, covering the best part of a year as it does so. The seasons change and the pair have to fight off bandits and scrape together what they can from their surroundings to survive, often travelling on foot, sometimes on horseback. It's the classic journey into the west, the pioneer's tale - but turned on its head, because this anti-Western isn't about the birth of a nation. It's about the death of one.

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These new The Last of Us Remastered screens sure are purdy

These new The Last of Us Remastered screens sure are purdy

14 new screenshots highlight the next-gen factor.

14 new screenshots of The Last of Us Remastered have leaked on NeoGAF a week ahead of the game's 30th July launch (though North Americans get it a day earlier).

It was recently revealed that the spruced up version of Naughty Dog's neo classic post-apocalyptic adventure will have a Photo Mode available in a day one patch. On the downside, even the retail game will require a 50GB install.

The Last of Us Remastered will be in 1080p and include "higher resolution character models, improved shadows and lighting, upgraded textures, along with even more improvements."

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The Last of Us threatrical performance announced

The Last of Us threatrical performance announced

Cast reunite for one-off show, streamed online.

Cast and crew from Naughty Dog's smash-hit survival adventure The Last of Us will reunite next week for a special theatrical show.

The Last of Us: One Night Live will feature Troy Baker (Joel), Ashley Johnson (Ellie), Merle Dandridge (Marlene), Hana Hayes (Sarah) and Annie Wersching (Tess) under direction from Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann.

Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla will also perform parts of his score for the game.

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The Last of Us: Remastered's photo mode coming in day one patch

The Last of Us: Remastered's photo mode coming in day one patch

Retail game requires a 50GB install, reports suggest.

The Last of Us: Remastered is getting a day one patch that introduces the game's photo mode - and early reports from those who have their hands on the retail version suggests the game itself will require a 50GB install too.

The photo mode is coming as part of a patch that also introduces Grounded, the full-length documentary about the making of last year's hit PlayStation 3 game.

"One of the things that we wanted to include was the share mode, especially after we saw the reaction for the inFamous photo mode," Naughty Dog's community strategist Arne Meyer told Eurogamer. As to how exactly it'll work, there are still no concrete details. "Generally speaking we want to break the camera so you can move around, with depth of field. We were already experimenting with that. We don't have a full feature list just yet.

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No PS3 to PS4 upgrade discount for The Last of Us Remastered

Sony will not offer a discount to those buying The Last of Us Remastered on PlayStation 4 who already own The Last of Us on PlayStation 3, it has confirmed.

In April Naughty Dog's Eric Monacelli responded to a fan question regarding a discount for those who had already splashed out on the PS3 game (and perhaps also a season pass) less than a year ago, saying the developer was "looking into the business model for all this".

Now, Sony has confirmed there won't be an upgrade available.

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The Last of Us Remastered lets you lock frame-rate at 30fps

The Last of Us Remastered lets you lock frame-rate at 30fps

UPDATE: Requested by PS3 "purists", not due to 60fps troubles.

UPDATE 17/7/14 09.30AM Naughty Dog's decision to include an optional 30fps lock in The Last of Us Remastered is due to requests by PS3 "purists" - not because the game would otherwise experience tearing.

That's according to the developer's co-president Evan Wells, who wrote on Twitter last night that the feature was implemented simply due to fan demand.

"Does the inclusion of a 30fps lock mean the 60fps fluctuates quite regularly?" a user asked.

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FeatureThe best games of 2014 are actually from 2013 - and that's okay

Why the flood of remasters and remakes should be embraced.

If there was one key message to take from last month's E3, it was that 2015 is going to be a proper treat. The roll call of games coming out next year is just dizzying - Halo 5: Guardians! Bloodborne! Xenoblade Chronicles X! - and it's all so exciting that even some of what were set to be this year's biggest games didn't want to be left out, with the likes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight slipping back to get involved in the throng.

How strong exactly is PlayStation's 2014 line-up?

Shuhei Yoshida talks up PlayStation TV, Destiny and the importance of remakes.

Sony's president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida has spoken about the importance of third-party games such as Destiny as well as PS3 remasters like The Last of Us Remastered in the PlayStation's line-up towards the end of 2014, as well as the importance of new audiences the PlayStation 4 has found.

Video: The Last of Us PS3 vs PS4 trailer comparison

VideoVideo: The Last of Us PS3 vs PS4 trailer comparison

We haven't seen much in-game yet, but those 1080p cut-scenes look nice.

Sony and Naughty Dog unveiled The Last of Us Remastered some time before E3, but for whatever reason last week's showing in Los Angeles was still rather anaemic. We learned that the game will be out on 29th July, but very little of the trailer shown at Sony's conference was in-game.

With that in mind, Digital Foundry is keeping its powder dry for the game's release next month - or at least when we get to see substantial in-game content - but for the time being we've put together a quick video comparing the game's E3 trailer with the same cut-scenes in the PS3 version. The main differences will be a smoother frame-rate and higher resolution (although the PS3 cut-scenes will have been rendered at a higher res and then scaled down), but hopefully it will still whet your appetite.

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Digital FoundryWatch Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us at 60fps

Experience Naughty Dog's new PS4 trailers the way they were intended.

UPDATE 11/06/14 19:07: This report from GamingBolt.com suggests that the Uncharted 4 trailer is indeed running in real-time - a simply phenomenal achievement. We've studied the video in a little more depth and have concluded that it's definitely running at native 1080p resolution (as opposed to being rendered at a very high resolution, then scaled down - a process known as super-sampling). Small clipping anomalies, a touch of specular aliasing on Nate's shirt as he sits up, along with some shadow aliasing on his forehead also suggest a real-time render. On the face of it, we're still looking at some pretty incredible anti-aliasing here for a real-time technique on a game running at 60fps, particularly when it comes to the perfect, artefact-free rendering of Nate's hair - but the combination of the low contrast setting, slow camera movement, motion blur and depth of field would work well generally in making aliasing much less of an issue.

The Last of Us Remastered release date announced

The Last of Us Remastered release date announced

New trailer reveals how the upgrade looks.

Naughty Dog's harrowing post-apocalyptic drama The Last of Us has been dated for a 29th July release, Sony announced at its E3 press conference.

That's a Tuesday, so it's ostensibly the following Friday, 1st August, in Europe.

The Last of Us Remastered will feature the original game along with its Left Behind campaign expansion and all the multiplayer DLC.

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A glimpse at The Last of Us Remastered on PS4

A glimpse at The Last of Us Remastered on PS4

Is that a 1080p painting? WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS.

Naughty Dog has released a glimpse at The Last of Us Remastered in a new video.

The video, below, contains a few seconds of the post-apocalyptic adventure running on PlayStation 4. It's lifted from a particularly memorable moment in the game, so we won't spoil it here.

The Last of Us on PS4 includes higher resolution character models, improved shadows and lighting and upgraded textures. It runs at 1080p resolution, and Naughty Dog is targeting 60 frames per second.

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