The Last Of Us is, arguably, one of the most technically impressive games for the PS3. So it must be pretty easy to just zip it over to the much-more powerful PS4, right? Not quite. As it turns out, Naughty Dog's latest was very, very specifically designed to work within the development strengths – and limitations – of the PS3, one of the trickiest pieces of hardware to program for in years. In a recent interview with Edge, creative director Neil Druckmann talks about the process of bringing the game to the PS4, which is less straight shifting details like the game's lighting pipeline and game systems and more rebuilding them from the ground up.
"I wish we had a button that was like ‘Turn On PS4 Mode’, but no,” Druckmann told Edge. “We expected it to be Hell, and it was Hell. Just getting an image onscreen, even an inferior one with the shadows broken, lighting broken and with it crashing every 30 seconds… It was optimized on a binary level, but after shifting those things over [to PS4] you have to go back to the high level, make sure the [game] systems are intact, and optimize it again."
Apart from the hardware differences, Druckmann said that making sure the game was improved but still the same is where things got really taxing.
"Once it’s running well, you’re running the [versions] side by side to make sure you didn’t screw something up in the process, like physics being slightly off, which throws the game off, or lighting being shifted and all of a sudden it’s a drastically different look," he said. "That’s not ‘improved’ any more; that’s different.”
As it stands, The Last Of Us Remastered is going to be mostly the same experience – Druckmann said trying to go back and make too many changes was akin to falling down a rabbit hole.
"Star Wars comes to mind. I’m more of a fan of the original cut and Han Solo shooting first. The Metal Gear Solid remake on GameCube [is good, but] I loved the original," he said. "It’s only subjective, but there’s something nice about saying, ‘We’ve finished it’. That’s what we put out there, that’s the final experience."
Read the rest of the interview (which lets slip that Naughty Dog is currently working on two other projects) below.