The Last of Us has been a massive success for Naughty Dog thus far, achieving one of the highest aggregate review scores of all time and establishing itself as the fastest-selling new PlayStation IP of all time. Now, a year after the release of the game, Naughty Dog is just over a week away from launching The Last of Us Remastered on PlayStation 4. Remastered is an updated version of the original PlayStation 3 game with all DLC, improved graphics, and a steady 60 frames per second at 1080p.
The gaming community is a bit divided on The Last of Us Remastered at this time. Some gamers question the point of remaking a game just one year later, while the $50 price tag ($10 shy of the normal retail release price for new games) is also raising a few eyebrows. Sony has defended the game and its price tag with one developer calling it a steal at that price. Is the $50 release justified? To answer that, you have to understand that most gamers are looking at the game all wrong.
When gamers think of remakes they typically think of massive overhauls that come about two console generations later, really providing an all-new take on an old classic. The upcoming Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire games come to mind. People don't mind paying a price that's close to standard, because it's usually been nearly a decade since the original release, and the changes are significant enough that it's practically a new game. The Last of Us Remastered, on the other hand, is largely the same game, just slightly prettier. The extra power of PlayStation 4 allows for graphics that are more crisp and detailed, running at a higher resolution and a smoother frame rate, but it's not an all-new graphics engine. Of course you'll be disappointed if you're expecting it to be a remake in the same sense of Twin Snakes versus the original Metal Gear Solid.
This is where there's a perception problem. The Last of Us Remastered is not a remake, and it doesn't claim to be. As the title suggests, it's a remastering. In terms of what it offers, it's much more akin to a Game of the Year Edition. It's pretty common practice for award-winning games (and The Last of Us definitely qualifies in that category) to be re-launched six months to a year later with all DLC included and perhaps an exclusive extra or two under the title of Game of the Year Edition. These re-releases are typically fairly close in price to a new release, if not identical. Is it really unreasonable, then, for Naughty Dog to release what is essentially "The Last of Us Game of the Year Edition" with the added bonus of improved visual quality for $50?
On the flipside, Sony's Robert Krekel (worked on The Last of Us and is now with Sony Santa Monica) says that $50 is a steal for Remastered. I disagree with this as well. I see deals like Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (contains all major entries in the franchise including several remastered versions for $50) and Halo: The Master Chief Collection (all four numbered entries in the franchise in remastered form for $60), which include multiple top-rated games in one bundle for a similar price to The Last of Us Remastered. I view Remastered as a sort of Game of the Year plus package. In this light it's neither a steal or a rip-off; it's a fair price.