Insiders say Sony has officially greenlighted a next-gen remake of Naughty Dog’s smash hit The Last of Us, codenamed “T1X.” However, Bloomberg reports that the internal politics of the project has churned up turmoil within Sony studios. Many of the team initially working on T1X have left the company over the move.
Work on the project started about three years ago when Michael Mumbauer, the head and founder of a Sony support studio called Visual Arts Service Group, formed an internal division with the idea of expanding some of Sony’s most successful titles. His team got the go-ahead to begin work on a remake of The Last of Us for PlayStation 5. However, Sony only sanctioned the project on a probationary basis and kept the effort secret. The division was never even given a name, nor was it given the support or funds to complete the project successfully.
Still, work continued, and the team eventually had a working section of the game to showcase how it would look and play. However, efforts got stalled when Sony needed Visual Arts Service Group to help Naughty Dog finish The Last of Us Part II. The game had already been delayed from a 2019 release to 2020, and execs wanted to get it polished and out the door.
Mumbauer and his team helped out, expecting to continue work on T1X when TLoU2 was ready to ship. Instead, Sony handed the project over to the original creator and studio darling Naughty Dog. Disenchanted, the still-unnamed internal team disbanded. Mumbauer and several others quit Sony completely. However, they are not the only ones under Sony’s umbrella disappointed in the company’s decisions.
Sony Bend, the developer behind Days Gone, pitched Days Gone 2 and was shot down. Although the game was one of Sony’s best-selling titles for 2019, executives believed that it took too long to develop. They also felt that reviews were mixed, a stance not entirely supported by its metascores. While critics’ reviews were about split between “positive” and “mixed,” very few responded negatively. Perhaps more important is how the gaming community reacted, and user scores were overwhelmingly high.
Instead of giving the go-ahead for Days Gone 2, Sony split the Oregon-based studio into two groups. One was to help Naughty Dog with a multiplayer title, and the other started work on a new Uncharted game under the watchful eye of ND superiors. Several staff members, including development leads, quit. Fearing that it would lose its independence, Sony Bend leadership asked that Sony remove the studio from the Uncharted project, which it did. Now Sony Bend has an unnamed original IP in the pipe.
While some fans may be anxious for a PS5 version of The Last of Us, the concept seems entirely unnecessary. The original game looked gorgeous on the PlayStation 3, and while the PS4 remaster did add noticeable visual enhancements, a PS5 remake seems redundant. I’d much rather see a Days Gone sequel. Regardless of my opinion, work goes on at Naughty Dog. However, The Last of Us Remastered: The Remake, or whatever they decide to call it, is too early in development to have a release window yet.