Following its long-awaited official unveiling last week, Naughty Dog has given another glimpse of its The Last of Us Part 1 remake for PS5 and PC, this time showcasing what it calls a “glow up” for supporting character Tess.
During last week’s Summer Game Fest, one of the key arguments Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann made for remaking The Last of Us – a game that already got the remaster treatment in 2014 – was that the additional power of modern hardware would enable it to get closer to its “original vision”. Druckmann specifically highlighted the remake’s rebuilt character models and faces as an example, insisting these were able to better reflect the cast’s original performances.
Inevitably, the remake’s character changes have come as something of a shock to fans who’ve grown attached to the original versions over the last nine years, with both Joel and Ellie now sporting more realistic facial makeovers that age them notably. That’s especially true for Naughty Dog’s latest reveal, showcasing the new version of Joel’s friend Tess, a character, played by Annie Wersching, that helps smuggle Ellie out of Boston’s quarantine zone.
If the remake’s changes to Joel and Ellie were a surprise, Tess’ reveal is likely to be even more so, giving the clearest indication yet of just how far Naughty Dog is prepared to deviate from its original designs in the remake, with new Tess looking very different to her original model.
While fan responses to Tess’ new look have been mixed, most seem to agree the increased fidelity of animation work on display – another of Druckmann’s talking points last week – is extremely impressive. There’s considerably more emotional nuance in the newer animation performance compared to the older models, for instance, which should serve The Last of Us’ already powerful story particularly well.
Whether that increased fidelity will ultimately be seen as enough to justify the $70 price tag Sony is slapping on the Last of Us remake remains to be seen, but expect to see plenty more big changes as the game’s 2nd September release draws nearer.