The leaks continue with The Last Of Us Part I, but don’t roll your eyes at the idea you could be spoiled on a game you’ve already played and hasn’t changed just yet. This one’s actually great. Screenshots of the game’s accessibility features are rolling in, and they show essential options the original definitely did not have, nor the 2014 remaster. We can debate the need to revive old, well-celebrated games all we want, but there’s no question that making a game playable for more people is a win for everyone.
The Last Of Us Part I is an upcoming PlayStation 5 exclusive. It’s a comprehensive remake of the original hit 2013 PlayStation 3 title. The game was then remastered for PlayStation 4 in 2014, but this new version is a complete remake, according to the studio and it’s had a history of notable leaks so far, from its initial reveal during this year’s Summer Game Fest, to screenshots, and video from the game spilling out on Twitter and YouTube. As a game that came out not terribly long ago, and is charging a full $70 bucks without its original multiplayer (though there is a separate multiplayer game set in The Last Of Us’ world from Naughty Dog on the way), it has also been the subject of intense debate, with many questioning whether it needs to exist at all.
The latest leaks concern the upcoming remake’s new accessibility options. Spotted on Twitter by user Naughty Dog Info and first reported on by Video Games Chronicle, the remake will let you adjust combat difficulty, with options for audio cues for in combat, adjustments to enemy AI behavior, such as turning off their ability to flank you, cut down on their overall accuracy, and so on. There’s also an interesting “Skip Puzzle Option,” and settings for field of view. Screenshots also reveal assistance with “Traversal” and “Navigation,” as well as audio descriptions. All awesome stuff.
I am curious about the “Skip Puzzle Option,” though. Like many modern games The Last Of Us is sort of a hybrid of different genres: It’s a 3rd-person action adventure game, also a survival game, a traditional linear, beat-by-beat story game, and there are a number of sequences that have you moving around dumpsters and ladders like puzzles. Will the characters automatically move pieces around the environment? Will there be a “fade-to-black” skip of entire rooms?
The audio description feature was also previewed in a recent video from Sony. Titled “The Last Of Us Part I Rebuilt for PS5.” A little past the half-way mark of the 10-minute video, game director Matthew Gallant describes the remake as “the first PlayStation game that has audio description built into the cinematics.” You can hear the feature describing a scene where Ellie and Joel kill some time in an empty apartment. This is fantastic stuff. Truly.
Accessibility features should be standard. Period. End of story. While I’m tempted to praise Naughty Dog for including this, and their efforts are appreciated, this is something we should expect to see in all games. And it’s made even easier by having large studios like Naughty Dog set standards. When I spoke with indie developer Clarris Cyarron about her team’s work on Glitchhikers’ accessibility and content options, she specifically referred to The Last Of Us Part II as the standard they referred to when building out their game’s terrific content and accessibility features. I may not care to revisit The Last Of Us again myself, but it’s great to know others will be able to play it for the first time with fewer boundaries and other devs will have a new standard to go by.
Update 7/23/22, 4:15 p.m. ET: the original story made an error when referring to a certain accessibility feature. It has been updated to reflect the correct term.