Last week, after a significant leak spilled the beans early, developer Naughty Dog confirmed a PlayStation 5 remaster of The Last of Us Part 2, a game that launched just a few years ago in 2020, and which has already received a performance update to allow for 60 frames per second gameplay on Sony’s latest console.

The announcement sparked a vociferous debate about whether The Last of Us 2 needs a remaster. But before we get into that, let’s lay out everything that comes with the package.

The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered, due out on January 19, 2024, includes a new roguelike mode called No Return, lost levels with developer commentary (playable sequences previously cut from the game), guitar free play (you can strum the strings across a host of unlockable instruments, use audio FX pedals to modulate your performance, and play as different characters in several in-game locations), “graphical enhancements”, and DualSense integration. “Re-experience, or discover for the first time, Ellie and Abby’s emotional journey with the definitive way to play The Last of Us Part 2,” Naughty Dog said in a post on its site.

So what exactly are those graphical enhancements? According to Naughty Dog, the remaster has native 4K output in Fidelity Mode, 1440p upscaled to 4K in Performance Mode, an Unlocked Framerate option for TVs that support VRR, increased texture resolution, increased Level-of-Detail distances, improved shadow quality, animation sampling rate, and improved loading times.

“It all brings the world of Part II’s story to life in richer and smoother detail, from the snow-swept mountains of Jackson, Wyoming to the rainy cityscape of Seattle, Washington, and should make a first visit or a return trip to the complex journeys of Ellie and Abby all the more engrossing,” Naughty Dog added.

Accessibility options are bolstered by the inclusion of Descriptive Audio and Speech to Vibrations, which uses the DualSense controller to indicate character speech and cadence. The unlockable Speedrun Mode, included in The Last of Us Part 1, is also coming to Part 2 Remastered, letting players post their best times. Following The Last of Us Part I, The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered includes the ability to unlock bonus skins for Ellie, Abby, and their weapons. Photo Mode now has dynamic lighting, Frame Forward, and Gaze Direction, as well as new frame and logo options.

It’s also worth noting that existing owners of The Last of Us Part 2 on PlayStation 4 can upgrade to a digital version of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered for $10 at launch. You can also import your saves from the original game to Part 2 Remastered.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered. Image credit: Naughty Dog / Sony.
The Last of Us Part II Remastered. Image credit: Naughty Dog / Sony.

With all that in mind, let’s return to the question at hand: Does The Last of Us Part 2 need a remaster? As the debate raged back and forth over the weekend (and it’s still going!), fans added the context of which other projects are in the works at Naughty Dog, announced and unannounced, as well as the studio’s recent output.

In the 10 years since the 2013 release of The Last of Us for PlayStation 3, Naughty Dog has released The Last of Us: Left Behind, The Last of Us Remastered for PS4, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, 2020’s The Last of Us 2, 2022’s Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, and The Last of Us Part 1 for PS5, a remake of the 2013 original that was itself remastered for PS4 just a year after it came out.

This new debate, then, is a repeat of a debate we had back when The Last of Us Part 1 was announced for PS5. Some of the same language is being used, with phrases such as “quick cash-in” applied to The Last of Us Part 2 on PS5 just as they were to The Last of Us Part 1 on PS5. Equally, there are many defending this latest remaster, insisting it provides the definitive version of a classic video game for the latest console, and pointing to the upgrade path for existing owners.

But where do you stand on The Last of Us 2 Remastered for PS5? Does The Last of Us 2 need a remaster?

Meanwhile, Naughty Dog is known to be working on a The Last of Us multiplayer game, although reports indicate this project has suffered significant development trouble and may not be seen for some time. The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckman has also confirmed he is writing and directing a brand-new PS5 game for Naughty Dog, although we know nothing about it at this stage. Then there’s the upcoming second season of smash hit HBO TV series The Last of Us. And The Last of Us Part 3 feels inevitable.

All in all, there’s a lot going on at Naughty Dog, this latest hot topic remaster notwithstanding. But with Sony’s PS5 release slate looking a little thin for 2024, perhaps remasters are exactly what the company needs right now to plug the gap.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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