A new report from Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier has revealed that Sony Interactive Entertainment has commissioned a remake of 2013’s The Last of Us for the PlayStation 5 as it sets its sights on AAA blockbuster titles. The remake was reported being developed by Visual Arts Service Group, a smaller studio that assists with the polishing of PlayStation first-party titles, but has since been handed over to Naughty Dog.
Michael Mumbauer, founder of the Visual Arts Service Group, and his team had decided that they wanted to begin developing their own games and began hiring for the remake in 2018. Visual Arts Service Group initially wanted to remake 2007’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune but that project was deemed too expensive so they settled on a remake of The Last of Us as it could be bundled into a PlayStation 5 version of the sequel.
Sony Interactive Entertainment ordered the development of the remake to be kept a secret and did not give the Visual Arts Service Group funds to recruit any further but by the Spring of 2019, the team had developed a playable section of the game to showcase what a remake would look and feel like to play. Despite this Hermen Hulst, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, was unconvinced and did not approve the required recruitment.
Visual Arts Service Group was also then moved to assist with the development of The Last of Us Part II after the games delay from 2019 to 2020, this caused development of The Last of Us remake to slow down. After the release of The Last of Us Part II, Sony Interactive Entertainment then deployed developers from Naughty Dog to assist with the remake, stripping the Visual Arts Service Group of its independence.
This caused unrest at Visual Arts Service Group, which is now often jokingly called Naughty Dog South, and resulted in its founder Michael Mumbauer as well as several other senior members leaving the studio. The development of The Last of Us remake is currently ongoing at Naughty Dog with the Visual Arts Service Group serving as an assist studio. The remake has also been given a bigger budget.