What I’ve always respected about the games industry, is it’s remarkable ingenuity to adapt, develop and pave the way with a creative rigour that not only propels its own commercial activity, but directly influences the ponderous enterprise of movie making. One of the few aberrant forms of entertainment where sequels are often a rousing refinement over their predecessors. But something has changed in recent year’s. There’s been a dramatic preferential shift towards sustaining revenue, with the all too prevalent focus on commerce over craft. The common solution being to regurgitate an already established idea. The kind of homogenised posturing that developer’s entreat, to give the appearance of renovating something venerable. With the “Last Of Us” now perpetuating this popularised trend.
The “Last Of Us” is a rare breed. A game so revered that a sequel, equally if not better than the original, is still lauded as an exemplary surrogate for modern gaming narratives. Though I have some personal issue’s with aspects of the combat in both parts, those game’s, even the curiously polarising sequel, remain esteemed additions to the PlayStation library. But the curious decision to remake a game from the latter stages of the PS3 era, one that has already received a consummate remaster on the PS4, seems redundant. It’s the kind of cynical, capitalist service I’d expect from a movie studio, not an acclaimed and creatively assured developer like NaughtyDog.
But it’s disturbing just how readily people will defend a decision that – on the surface at least – is as creatively stagnate. NaughtyDog have attempted to extricate themselves from the critical public consensus that this isn’t a “Cash grab”, but a project worthy of approval, not ridicule. Now I don’t doubt the meticulous efforts that the team at NaughtyDog will submit for the “Last Of Us Part 1: 2”. Remaking a game with such an established, almost mythologised notoriety is always going to yield flourishing unit sales. And with the ability to polish a few of the games rougher edges and time worn maturity, its liable to be a superior experience. But is it really necessary? Is there such a dearth of original material that they had to refurbish an already fabled game?
With the movie industry stifled by its own creatively induced anaemia, bereft of any fertile concepts. As well as stilted by its reliance on the guaranteed revenue of superheroes, cinema has begun to depend on nostalgia to consolidate the interests of consumer’s. Ghostbusters, Top Gun, Star Wars. A huge influx of commercialised sentimentality on the big screen that has now begun to contaminate computer games. Where once gaming was a pioneering complex narratives, propagated by player agency, is now attempting to replicate an industry limited by its medium, dominated by the banality of Superheroes and marching to the beat of a drum they once played.
If NaughtyDog felt inclined to remaster one of their games, then it should really be one that would benefit from it, like the original Uncharted.”Drake’s Fortune” is ripe for a remaster, having aged like a fine vinegar. “Resident Evil 2” was a requisite adaptation into a new era. Retaining the same thematic attributes, while updating the antiquated graphics and mechanics. A game that was 20 years old. Not nine. Im not sure where the cutoff is for a remake to be acceptable, but this isn’t it. To me the “Last Of Us Part I” is a waste of valuable resources, when you think about what they could have made. Perhaps the “Last Of Us Part III”. So to my mind at least, the “Last Of Us” does not need a remake. Change my mind NaughtyDog!