The Last of Us on PS4: What Type of Performance/Visual Upgrade The PS4 Version Can Offer?

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The news that The Last of Us is coming to the PS4 was ‘leaked’ through an official Sony spokesperson recently. Although, Sony has denied any such news, it’s safe to assume that The Last of Us will eventually come to the PS4, especially if Sony wants to introduce this series to the new PS4 users. Supposedly, if such a version exists, what type of visual and performance upgrade can we expect from it? Let us discuss them in detail.

The Last of Us was a technical marvel on the PS3, it looked absolutely stunning with its gorgeous lighting and superior character animation system. The Last of Us also had a lot of emphasis on its A.I, and how dynamic it was. Even if the end game fell a little short of the developer’s goal, it will still be remembered as a technical accomplishment on its own. So what will happen if the developers will unshackle themselves from the ancient hardware of the PS3, and be allowed far more freedom to do what they want with the hardware?

Superior Quality of Shadows

One thing that lacked in The Last of Us was the quality of shadows was not its strong suit, often times, it resulted in lower quality shadows, or aliasing on shadows, as can be seen in the screenshot below. Of course, on the PS4, Naughty Dog can mitigate this issue easily.

Say Good Bye to Jaggies

Perhaps, the worst offender here in terms of image quality. The image quality of The Last of Us was kind of inconsistent. While there were places which looked spectacular – in a semi-open space, particularly in the day – the jaggies were visible, which often distracted from the otherwise superior art of The Last of Us. As an example of the image inconsistency, take a look at the image below. The implementation of motion blur was done to some great extent in The Last of Us, but it often resulted in jagged edges around other characters, kind of distracting from the whole experience.

If we have learned one thing from the launch PS4 exclusives, it is the strong implementation of anti-aliasing. Both Killzone Shadow Fall and inFamous: Second Son use superior quality of anti-aliasing for edge smoothing. inFamous: Second Son, in particular, does it extremely well for an open world game, and barely shows any jagged edges for the most part. Since The Last of Us is more of a linear/semi-open type of game, Naughty Dog can go for a really good quality AA implementation for it.

Resolution boost – it can’t be for nothing

This one is obvious, The Last of Us was running on native 720p on the PS3, which might be a good resolution for that platform but not for PS4, which can bear the burden of 1080p resolution. As such, we can expect the game to match the pre-release bullshots for The Last of Us, which were often downscaled from higher resolution. One such 1080p “bullshot” can be seen below.

Frame rate – Stable 30 vs. 60 fps

Naughty Dog games mostly have been 30 fps, since they focus more on the cinematic gameplay. This is fine and all, but the problem with The Last of Us on PS3 was that the frame rate was just not that stable. It often dipped below 30 fps, resulting in an impact on the gameplay and controller response. If The Last of Us is on PS4, we can at least expect a locked 30 fps frame rate for the entire course of the game, or perhaps Naughty Dog can up the ante and go with 60 fps. Hard to say that it will be 60 fps, but we do have footage of Uncharted 3 running at 60 fps.

No More Pre-Rendered Cutscenes (Hopefully)

Pre-rendered cutscenes for Naughty Dog games were the norm on the PS3. As good as they might have looked, they weren’t really running in real-time on the PS3. In The Last of Us, we can change our costumes for Joel and Ellie, and it always felt weird to see these costumes not showing up in some of the pre-rendered cutscenes. Of course, not every cutscene was pre-rendered, only the important ones were. It still remains a mystery as to why the decided to go with this approach, although Kurt Margenau, Lead Game Designer at Naughty Dog, tells us that they certainly weren’t used to pass of loading in-game.

Fun Fact: Naughty Dog used to render these cutscenes on multiple PS3′s. As an example, Uncharted 3 cutscenes were rendered on a render farm consisting of 8 PS3′s.

In conclusion, if there is any game that requires a re-release on the PS4, it is definitely The Last of Us. Even if Sony has denied any such news, we all know that such an announcement is inevitable. Expect to hear about it at this year’s E3.

So what do you think about this article? Are you excited for The Last of Us on the PS4? Let us know in the comments below.

Khurram Imtiaz

A Geek and Gamer, who loves JRPGs and VITA. Follow him on Twitter and Google+

  • MattS71

    All those sound good, but I am hoping for tweaked companion AI – that was the one GIANT offender in this game! How enemies would conveniently not see Ellie cause AI is hard to program for, as ND explained to us