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Naughty Dog Wants to Ensure The Last of Us Part 2 Runs Well on Vanilla PS4

Naughty Dog tells us how it's trying to avoid the performance disparity plaguing some triple-A games on vanilla PS4s.

This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.

As we've entered a new era of "premium" versions of consoles, big games have suffered. Triple-A games in particular have struggled under straddling multiple editions of consoles, from the Xbox One S to the Xbox One X, and the PlayStation 4 to the PS4 Pro.

The likes of Control, Borderlands 3, and more large-scale games have suffered on base consoles, while performing markedly better on their premium counterparts, whether in sometimes choppy frame rate or just in longer load times. In the trailer that debuted yesterday for The Last of Us Part 2, at the corner of the screen you could spot a familiar tagline: "Captured from PS4 Pro." At an event yesterday for the new survival-adventure from Naughty Dog, I thought it would be a good time to ask how the team is working with the two separate consoles.

"Our target platform is the PS4, the base," Emilia Schatz, lead game designer on The Last of Us Part 2, tells USgamer. "That's actually what I've got on my desk at work, and so that's what we sort of aim for." Schatz adds that while the PS4 Pro has obvious advantages in terms of resolution, The Last of Us Part 2 has always aimed for the vanilla PlayStation 4 as its "development platform" first.

"So yeah, you want to have that balance, but you know, there's still a lot of optimization now to get done. What you saw here isn't quite our final frame rate and final screen resolution, stuff like that," she says.

From the few hours I played, I never encountered any bugs, nor any weird hitches in terms of performance or frame rate. Textures never popped in late, and AI acted as I would expect it to. It was impressively sound for a preview build, where I can usually anticipate random finicky things. Instead, it felt like a game nearly ready for its launch—though of course, I played very curated slivers of content.

The Last of Us Part 2 will be out on February 21, 2020 on PlayStation 4, and yes, PlayStation 4 Pro too. It won't have multiplayer, contrary to previous reports at last year's E3. Here's to hoping the discrepancy between the two won't be much thanks to Naughty Dog's focus on the vanilla model.

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Caty McCarthy avatar

Caty McCarthy


Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. Her work finds its way to VG247 via her time as USgamer's Senior Editor.