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The Biggest Differences Between The Last Of Us Part I On PS5 And PS4

Fans who played "The Last of Us" on PlayStation 4 will be able to spot more than a few differences in "The Last of Us Part I" for PlayStation 5. Although the remake was leaked before its reveal, Naughty Dog officially announced "The Last of Us Part I" during the Summer Game Fest showcase on June 9. After sharing information about a standalone multiplayer experience for those who enjoyed the "Factions" game mode, creative director Neil Druckmann brought out Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, the voices of Joel and Ellie. Together with Summer Game Fest host Geoff Keighley, the group discussed the upcoming "The Last of Us" TV show and Baker and Johnson's involvement with it. Then, they unveiled the remake.

Since that first teaser, Naughty Dog provided fans with a plethora of information and gameplay ahead of the "The Last of Part I" September 2 release. An August 2022 PlayStation blog post detailed some of the changes incorporated into the remake that set it apart from the PlayStation 4 remaster.

Big improvements to graphics and animations

As expected with a remake, "The Last of Us Part I" boasts improved graphics for the PlayStation 5, including the divisive decision to adjust the character models to bring them more in line with the designs in "The Last of Us Part II." According to the PlayStation blog post, environments also react more realistically to the player. "Light filters through trees, moss swirls when you're wading through waterlogged streets, bugs stir in the bushes, cars wobble under your weight when you land on them," said creative director Shaun Escayg. 

Enhanced lighting and foliage alter the overall look of the entry. "Part of the original creative vision for the first game was not having a very visually dark, dystopian, apocalyptic overall image but emphasizing the beauty of nature reclaiming its territory back," shared art director Sebastian Gromann. Thanks to the greater capabilities of the PS5, the remake reflects that concept more closely.

Naughty Dog has also improved animation work from the first "The Last of Us." When the remake was announced during Summer Game Fest, Neil Druckmann said the studio used the motion capture from the original to bolster the remake. Because the technology is more sophisticated, the characters' facial expressions more closely resemble those of the actors.

Enhanced AI for more dynamic combat encounters

Since the release of "The Last of Us" in 2013, artificial intelligence in gaming has also come a long way. Lead programmer John Bellomy explained in the blog post that encounters for the PlayStation 5 remake will play out differently each time because of more realistic enemy actions. "We have more dynamic encounters thanks to paired search and new investigation behaviors, topographical analysis with pathfinding, and probing for visibility, so things like sneaking and ambushing will work in more situations," he said.

Something else that should be immediately noticeable compared to previous versions is the number of enemies in a given area. In the original "The Last of Us," Naughty Dog was limited to having just eight NPCs active at a time. For encounters involving more than eight, some of them would have their attention simply switched off. That limit is now a thing of the past, so an area could theoretically have more than eight enemies on high alert searching for the player.