It looks like 2024 is going to be a brilliant year for fans of bleak post-apocalyptic horror: not only is The Last of Us Part II going into production for HBO, but the game is getting a PS5 remaster – and refreshingly, you're not going to have to pay huge amounts of money or wait months and months to play it. If you already own Part II, you'll be able to play the remaster for just $10.
The Last of Us II Remastered will be released on the 19th January, 2024. Here's what we know so far.
The Last of Us II Remastered for PS5: what's new?
The most exciting new thing about the remastered version is No Return, which is a "roguelike survival mode" that enables you to have all the fun of TLOU II's combat without all the bleak story stuff. It'll pit you against the game's human and less-human enemies in a selection of randomised encounters, swapping between stealth and combat and playing as new characters too. If you fancy something calmer there's also a new free play guitar mode that enables you to strum away to your heart's content.
Tech-wise you're looking at native 4K output and 1440p upscaled to 4K in performance mode. There's also variable refresh rate for compatible TVs. Sony says you can also expect vastly improved loading times and DualSense feedback and adaptive triggers.
In a nice surprise, you'll be able to carry your saves across from the existing game.
I know it's easy to mock Naughty Dog for remaking the same game over and over – the original Last of Us was remade for PS5 last year – but when it's such a brilliant game, why not? I think almost enough time has elapsed since I sobbed through the end of Part II for me to play it again, and I'm looking forward to the PS5 enhancements.
I'm also very much looking forward to sobbing through Part II on TV.
The Last of Us Part II on streaming: when can we see it?
HBO is managing expectations here, saying that it isn't currently planning a release of The Last of Us Season Two until 2025. However, I'm crossing my fingers that it'll sneak out before the end of 2024.
Production of Season Two was halted for the US writers' and actors' strikes, and while the writers' strike is now over the actors' unions are still negotiating – and until an agreement has been reached, that will prevent Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay from setting foot on any set. However, production is currently planned for an early-2024 start; showrunner Craig Marin recently posted on Threads that the writers had "got pretty far actually" before pausing for the strikes.
Season Two is expected to follow the second game's plot closely, and if you've played it you'll know what that means: this is not going to be a gag-packed laugh-fest. But hopefully it won't follow the history of the game, where Jocelyn Mettler and Laura Bailey, the face and voice respectively of new character Abby, were subject to horrific online abuse.