Should we rewrite Shakespeare’s Macbeth into modern language so we can better understand it? Should we retouch Bohemian Rhapsody to be more in line with today’s buzzwords? Perhaps some of us would answer “yes” to these questions but it hasn’t been done because these works all have their specific time and place.
The film industry on the other hand has shown a taste for wanting to modernize golden oldies. Some managed to compliment their predecessors, others were catastrophic disasters. Now, it seems that the video game world has also decided it’s time for them to put a new lick of paint on an old dust collector and sell it as if it is brand new.
The Last of Us: Part I is the latest entry in the “Do we really need it?” debate, so let’s explore some pros and cons.
©Naughty Dog Studios
From what we have been shown, it is indisputable that The Last of Us: Part I will look significantly better than the original. It’s probably one of the primary reasons behind the remake but is that necessarily a good thing? Those who first loaded the game back in 2013 will undoubtedly have very specific memories of that experience and will look back on that time with a sense of nostalgia. Sometimes, trying to perfect things can strip them of exactly that which made them unique. A curious visual glitch will be remembered much longer than a perfectly rendered cardboard box.
From the studio’s perspective, it is highly likely that they wish to create a unified experience with 2022’s The Last of Us: Part I, 2020’s The Last of Us: Part II, and an upcoming The Last of Us standalone multiplayer game all looking pretty on Sony’s PlayStation 5.
The Last of Us was a critically acclaimed title and became one of the most successful games of all time. The gameplay, the setting, and the character development gave The Last of Us an authenticity that few interactive media could achieve. It was praised for its portrayal of women and unobscured LGBTQ+ representation to name but a few but… that was back in 2013. Nine years might not seem that long ago but video games live in dog years. A lot of the things that The Last of Us did right storywise are being done even better in newer titles.
The studio probably has a different goal in mind when it comes to the game’s story because HBO is televising it. Apparently, previous attempts at making movies and TV shows based on video games aren’t deterring HBO from giving it a try with this title. With high-profile actors and a seasoned production team, HBO’s The Last of Us WILL attract attention. By association, a bright spotlight will shine on the games that inspired the series, and Naughty Dog studios will be ready with a sparkly new version of the original.
Despite all of the studio’s elaborate reasons why WE want a remake, ultimately money is the main reason why they want it. How much is it actually going to cost them to redo an existing title? The entire blueprint and most of the construction is already there. Money spent versus potential earnings on The Last of Us: Part I must be very lucrative considering a $79.99 price tag for The Digital Deluxe version and $99.99 USD for the above-shown Firefly Edition.
We might not rewrite Shakespeare’s Macbeth but we do endlessly re-release his complete works with fancy pictures and a pretty cover for the home library. Do we really need it?
Queen will never update Bohemian Rhapsody to fit modern lingo but that hasn’t stopped them from selling the umptieth collection of their songs with new album artwork. Do we really need it?
Denis Villeneuve’s re-envisioning of Dune made over 400 million dollars at the box office, despite many fans claiming that the movie was unnecessary. Do we really need it?
So, what about video games?
Black Mesa is a fan recreation of an epic classic. It doesn’t cost a fortune and it stays 100% true to the original. Fans can decide to play the original Half-life or revisit the world in a version where it’s abundantly clear that the people behind it love the game as much as we do.
Warcraft III: Reforged is a total disaster. Blizzard did NOT deliver on its promises AND took away the original, making a repurchase obligatory! Not cool, Blizzard! Sooo not cool!
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is a remaster, not a remake and that made all the difference. The bundle of all three Mass Effect games in a new fluid package was well received by critics and players alike. I played all the Mass Effect games when they were first released. I even upgraded my PC just to play the first entry in the series. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition allowed me to relive a lot of nostalgia yet not cringe at dated graphics.
The Last of Us: Part I will be released on September 2nd, 2022 but… Do we really need it?
Ultimately, the answer lies completely with the consumer. If we don’t need new versions of old books, music, and classic movies, then why are we buying them? Are game studios afraid to use their resources to develop new ideas and titles because of how harshly we criticize them?
Do YOU think we need a remake of The Last of Us?
I, for one, am definitely going to buy The Last of Us: Part I because… it’s finally going to be released on PC!