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That’s according to a new Bloomberg report which claims the project was originally in development at PlayStation’s Visual Arts Service Group before the studio was switched to a support role on the game.
The remake’s development is now being led by series creator Naughty Dog, which is said to have taken charge of the project following the completion of The Last of Us Part 2, which was released in June 2020.
Michael Mumbauer, who has since departed Sony, founded the San Diego-based Visual Arts Service Group in 2007 with the goal of growing some of PlayStation’s biggest franchises.
For many years it worked as a support studio on series like Spider-Man and Uncharted, but more recently it had ambitions to lead its own projects, plans which started to take shape about three years ago when Mumbauer assembled a team of around 30 developers to work on a new game.
Originally it had wanted to remake 2007’s first Uncharted game, but the project was deemed to be too expensive and time consuming, so it switched its attention to a remake of The Last of Us, a more recent release which would require less additional design work, Bloomberg reports.
The original Last of Us released at the tail end of the PS3 generation in June 2013 before a remastered version arrived for PS4 in July 2014, seven months into the newer console’s cycle, and Mumbauer’s crew reportedly envisioned its PS5 remake being packaged with the sequel in the future.
However, Sony is said to have failed to adequately back Mumbauer’s team to achieve its ambitions, and after the Visual Arts Service Group was assigned to help polish The Last of Us Part 2, which had been delayed, the studio’s role on the remake project was reduced to the point where it became clear that Naughty Dog was in charge.
Mumbauer discussed the significant but not widely publicised role that the Visual Arts Service Group played in helping deliver many of PlayStation’s hit games during a revealing interview with God of War creator David Jaffe in December 2020.
While nothing has been announced, it would be unsurprising if Naughty Dog was to remaster Last of Us Part 2 for PS5 and perhaps launch it alongside the next multiplayer entry in the series (and possibly the Last of Us remake too).
Following its release, The Last of Us Part 2 sales cleared four million copies worldwide in three days, making it the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive to date.
A Last of Us adaptation from HBO is also in the works. Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin is co-writing and executive producing the show with Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann, who is the creative director behind the Last of Us games.
In February, Game of Thrones actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were cast as lead characters Joel and Ellie. Production will begin this summer in Calgary, Canada and is expected to run until June 2022.
Bloomberg’s report also claims that PlayStation rejected plans for a sequel to Sony Bend’s Days Gone, instead reportedly assigning one team within the studio to work on a new Uncharted game with supervision from Naughty Dog.