Last of Us on PS4 is great news, but does it confirm a sequel?

The Last of Us’ confirmed reappearance as a tooled up, extra-pretty, 1080p PS4 game is undoubtedly a good thing. Yes, we already find ourselves awash with a mighty maelstrom of moans; a blithering howl of “Boo! Rehash!” from that sector of the internet that inexplicably equates blind cynicism with the expression of intelligence. But realistically there’s nothing bad about this situation. In fact with a little forethought, it becomes clear that The Last of Us’ next-gen appearance is a probable harbinger of very good things for the future.

The whinging isn’t only silly, it’s completely misplaced. While, yes, I can understand general knee-jerks to the ongoing next-gen re-releases of recent games--given how thick and fast such things have been announced over the last few months--The Last of Us is a game with a very particular set of circumstances. It’s a barnstormingly good, genuinely powerful--important, even--work, which arrived just as its host hardware was on the way out. And it’s a platform exclusive. As such, arriving on only one format in the run-up to a generational hand-over, a whole bunch of players will have missed out on it.

Let’s face it, no-one buys a second current-gen machine for one game when the next set of upgrades is just around the corner. Single-format console gamers though, are likely to switch allegiances during a generational transition. It just makes sense for The Last of Us to get a PS4 do-over. People should play it, and now more people can.

But the real point, the exciting one, is what this re-release really means for the future. You see I suspected that a PS4 version of TLoU was on the cards a few months ago. Moreover, I saw it as part of a more interesting bigger picture. I see no reason to swing away from that hypothesis now.

My thinking is this: The Last of Us 2 is coming to the PS4. Probably always has been. You see the structure and pacing of the series’ releases makes me feel that’s been the plan for a long time. The first game’s launch window was an odd one, to say the least. 

Genuinely new games usually come with new consoles, not outgoing ones, and having been a one-franchise studio for decades, Naughty Dog’s development of TLoU, alongside Uncharted 3, makes things even more unusual. Then consider the seven month wait for the Left Behind add-on. Slightly odd in this age of day-one DLC, and rapid-fire expansions made ready to capitalise on big hits fast. Doubly so when you consider that this wait took us right through to the PS4’s launch window.

What if, rather than simply making up a rather bizarre, anti-intuitive release schedule, the above was actually a considered 'big-picture' strategy? I suspect it was. TLoU’s late launch put it on as many PS3s as possible, during a period when relatively few new games were fighting for attention. The opposite would have been the case during the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One. Plus, TLoU’s critical plaudits have given Sony great momentum rolling into next-gen. The DLC? Part story-expansion, part brand-awareness flare gun, sending up a carefully-timed shot to ensure that The Last of Us isn’t forgotten during the PS4’s launch frenzy and the world’s giddy clammering for (the announced) Uncharted 4. The Last of Us’ re-release on the PS4, complete with all of the game’s extra content, can only be an extension of that.

Naughty Dog hasn’t talked openly about a sequel to TLoU, saying that the green-lighting of any such project would come down to the question of “Can we tell people a story that’s really worth telling, and that’s not repeating itself?” With its distinctly different approach to the original game’s material, focusing on exploration, evasion, and hitherto unexplored elements of survivor politics during Ellie’s pre-Joel days, it rather strikes me that the long-tail development of the Left Behind DLC was Naughty Dog’s exploration of that question. And that the answer is a resounding “Yes”.

Uncharted 4 will be at E3 2014. Of that we can be almost sure. But do not be at all surprised if that’s not the only big Naughty Dog game we get word of over the next 12 months. After all, now that ND is capable of making two blockbusters at at time, all those people not working on Nathan Drake’s shiny new next-gen face have got to be doing something… 

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  • brickman409 - April 14, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    I don't understand why people are flipping out over The Last of Us coming to PS4. If you don't want to pay for a game you already played but with better graphics, then don't buy it! I don't remember anyone getting angry when movies got remastered from DVD to Blu-Ray.
  • Rhymenocerous - April 12, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    So The best PS4 game so far is a year old PS3 game. //Roll Nah, I'm yankin yer chain. A PS4 re-release makes complete sense, what with the Left Behind DLC and all. I just wonder if a sequel will be as emotionally engaging, and not just improved gameplay elements. The narrative, as we all know, is a MASSIVE part of TLoU's success.
  • GOD - April 11, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    Well they already said that if they do make a sequel to Last of Us, it won't star Joel and Ellie at all as their story as far as they wanted to tell it is over. If they do make a Last of Us 2, it means that it'll either star some side character that you had met along the way, or someone completely new but still in the same world.
  • TheGreyWizard - April 11, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    I would also like to know if there'll be a GOTY edition for the PS3.
  • shawksta - April 11, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    It seems no, they are specifically repackaging it for PS4
  • GamesRadarCollanderCooper - April 11, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    It took this guy 9 paragraphs to state the obvious
  • db1331 - April 11, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    No shit. So you're telling me you have reason to believe there will be a sequel to the most well-received single player game in the last decade? A franchise who's first game has sold over 6 million copies to date, and won a metric ass-load of awards is going to be revisited? And not on Sony's old console, but on their new one? Are you from the future!? Hopefully Dave will let us know if a new CoD is coming out this November as well, so we can all get our pre-orders in.
  • Jackonomics2.0 - April 11, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    If they are, they would be working on said sequel, not repackaging it for Next Gen so they can use its GOTY status to get sales for the PS4 instead of making newer games.
  • rainn'sgaydar - April 11, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    Seems pretty plausible to me. And surely there's a story there. You could focus on Ellie a fees after the first game. She's probably got a question that's been lingering in her mind for years and years. (SPOILER ALERT!) What really happened in that hospital? Would Joel lie to me? And let it grow from there. Maybe Joel is sick and she's torn between pursuing herself as a cure and staying loyal to the guy that saved her a handful of times. Anyway, the promise of developer and voice actor commentary has me ready to play TLoU again, plus I didn't play Left Behind, so I'm all in for the upgrade. As an aside, your RSS Feed has been hanky for a while. I get some articles and not others.
  • db1331 - April 11, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    Yeah, I was just about to pick up Left Behind, but now I think I'll hold off. I'll get a PS4 in 2-3 years, when this remastered edition of the game is $20. I love in game commentaries though. I wish more games had them.
  • rainn'sgaydar - April 11, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    One day I'll remember to play through Portal with commentary. One day
  • homestar99 - April 11, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    This is all very well but I can't stop the voice in the back of my head from making this question. Is there cross buy? I'm not going to pay unless releases are slow. I already bought the game and the season pass, aren't I entitled to a revamp for free.
  • db1331 - April 11, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    Damn, you're right. I'm going to take my 100+ DVDs to Best Buy and trade them in for the Blu-rays tonight.
  • homestar99 - April 11, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    I'm sorry but what did that have to do with my statement?
  • jimmeroo - April 13, 2014 3:45 a.m.

    Captain obvious here. He's telling you that your feeling of deserving a free copy of an hd remaster is the same as going to best buy and trading dvds for blu-rays for free....
  • homestar99 - April 13, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    Oh, I didn't understand 'cos I honestly forgot that films and TV are put on two different disc formats. Digital Service reliance and all that.

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