Last Of Us Part II Composer Hints That PS5 Upgrade Is Coming

Ellie sits under a tree and plays her guitar.

Image: Naughty Dog / Sony

More Last of Us may be on the way, at least in the form of a “next-gen” PlayStation 5 upgrade for The Last of Us Part II. Composer Gustavo Santaolalla suggested during a recent interview that “new editions” of the game are in the works that would expand on his character’s cameo appearance.

Santaolalla’s character plays only a brief role in the PS4 version of the game, strumming on a banjo in Jackson City. He said in an interview with Blender that the new version of the character will be more interactive, potentially letting players select which music from the game’s soundtrack he plays, according to the Spanish gaming site Vandal (via VGC). He quickly added, however, that he can’t reveal anymore yet.

Kotaku reached out to Naughty Dog for comment.

The musician probably wasn’t even supposed to reveal that much, as there’s been no official tease yet for a new version of The Last of Us Part II. It wouldn’t be a shock that Naughty Dog is working on one though. Sony has been developing PS5 versions of recent PS4 hits like Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima, as well as porting some to PC like God of War and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It would make sense that Part II would be next in line, especially considering the recent success of the HBO adaptation.

In addition to bringing more content, improving visuals and performance, and introducing new accessibility options, “next-gen” upgrades are also a great way for companies to “double-dip” on sales, as outlined in a 2021 report by Bloomberg. Coming out at the tale end of the PS4 console generation, a PS5 port of Part II would be a good way to get it in front of new PlayStation owners who haven’t already played the game using backwards compatibility. It’s also a way to start charging $70 for it.

It’s also the most “new” Last of Us content fans are likely to see in the immediate future. Naughty Dog has been coy about any plans for a Last of Us Part III sequel, and the planned multiplayer spin-off, Last of Us Factions, reportedly hit production snags earlier this year. Season two of HBO’s adaptation is also in limbo at the moment as Hollywood writers and actors go on strike.


Microsoft And Sony Reach Deal For Future Of Call Of Duty On PS5

Art for a Call of Duty operator sits in front of dueling Xbox and PlayStation signs.

Photo: Barone Firenze / Activision / Kotaku (Shutterstock)

Microsoft and Sony have finally reached a deal for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation once the Activision Blizzard merger goes through. The surprise agreement comes after months of fighting between the two companies and is a sign the acquisition is all but inevitable.

“We are pleased to announce that Microsoft and PlayStation have signed a binding agreement to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer tweeted on July 16. “We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games.”

It’s not immediately clear what the terms of that agreement are, and whether they are similar to proposals Microsoft recently signed with Nintendo and other cloud gaming providers. In the past, Sony has paid Activision for special benefits relating to Call of Duty, including timed-exclusive content and special marketing rights. It was also revealed during the recent court battle over the deal that Activision had leveraged its partnership with Sony to negotiate better commission rates for the franchise on Xbox.

Read More: Sony Won’t Share PS6 Info With Call Of Duty Devs If Owned By Microsoft

Sony had been vigorously contesting Microsoft’s planned acquisition of the publisher in regulatory proceedings across Europe, the UK, and the U.S. After the recent legal defeat of the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block the deal, however, the PlayStation 5 maker seems to have decided it’s time to settle. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan had reportedly said in the past that his only interest was in blocking the deal.

Sony’s current agreement with Activision wasn’t set to expire until 2025, and the new agreement seems likely to carry through for at least the rest of the PS5’s life. Microosft has claimed all along that it’s not in its financial interest to make the series exclusive as the games generate billions in revenue on the competing platform.

Microsoft declined to comment. Sony did not immediately respond.

Look At These White-Hot PS5 And PS4 Sales Happening Right Now

As the summer sun once again sets Earth on fire, that means only one thing: sales! And so Sony launched its annual summer sale with a not unreasonable 3,081 games at cheaper prices. Rather crucially, that number includes some bigger names, such as Elden Ring down by a third, and many Sony first-party titles down to $40. To save you some scrolling, we’ve picked out a few highlights.

As mentioned, Elden Ring is the headline game here, down from $60 to a much more friendly $42. That’s the vanilla version and the one you’ll want to pick up. The so-called “Deluxe Edition” comes with the original soundtrack, a digital art book, and nothing else, and is down from $80 to $56.

For a far heftier saving, if you’ve held off on FIFA 23, the Ultimate Edition is down from an eye-watering $100 to a much more amenable $40. Due to the peculiarity of EA’s decisions, that means you can now get the full game and 4,600 FIFA Points (worth about $40 if bought in-game) for $20 less than buying it without the free fake money.

If you’re looking for something more recent, April’s excellent Dead Island 2 is down 25 percent already. However, given that it launched at an astonishing $70 (sure, Sony’s first-party titles are trying this gouging number, but it was one heck of a push for Deep Silver), that’s now $52.49.

Those looking for a more punishing time might want to note that the never-that-good NBA 2K23 is now an astonishing 90 percent off, down to just $7! Which seems about right. (Although that’s $7 for the right to be nickel-and-dimed every moment you’re playing.)

First-party Sony games got all cheap

Let’s be more positive! Red Dead Redemption II is just $20 for the sale! Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, which comes with the original remastered Marvel’s Spider-Man, is almost half-price at $40! Last year’s The Last of Us Part I is down to $50, while the un-remade The Last of Us Part II is only $20! Horizon Forbidden West is $30! (That last one is confusing. The PlayStation 5 version is only discounted to $40, but the PS4 version comes with a free digital upgrade to the PS5 version for $10 less. Sony!)

Speaking of Sony first-party titles, the wonderful Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is down almost two-thirds to $30, and it is indeed worth picking up.

A mighty discount has also been slapped on Marvel’s Midnight Suns, bringing the standard version down from $60 to just $24. Meanwhile, the Legendary Edition that’s usually a painful $100 is now down to $40.

What else can I offer you? How about this year’s Like A Dragon: Ishin! remake dropped to $39? You can bump that up to the Deluxe version with a discounted Upgrade Bundle for $9, saving you $22. Or maybe you fancy 2019’s Mortal Kombat 11 for just $5 instead of $50?

Oh, go on then, one more. And a proper crazy bargain to finish on: You can pick up the amazing Super Meat Boy Forever for just two of your American dollars.

You can see the full list of all 3,000+ games right here.

If A PS5 Slim Is Coming, This Is Probably What It Looks Like

A new online video appears to show what looks like a PlayStation 5 Slim, the heavily rumored but not-yet-announced smaller version of Sony’s current-gen console.

Rumors of a sleeker, slimmer PS5 have been floating around online for about a year now, but things really heated up in July. That’s when court docs from the Microsoft v. FCC hearing seemed to confirm its existence, suggesting the device would cost $400 and that it would be released later this year. Now, a new video seems to give us our first look at this slimmer PS5, while also confirming that it might have a detachable disc drive.

On August 10, as spotted by The Verge, an image of the alleged PS5 Slim leaked out via a Chinese forum. That image got shared all over X, formerly Twitter, attracting a lot of attention. But now, the recently surfaced video gives us an even better look at the (still not officially announced) console variant.

The video, posted by Better Way Electronics on Twitter, seems to confirm that not only is the PS5 slim…well, slimmer, but that it will also feature some kind of detachable disk drive. This had first been reported back in September 2022 by Insider Gaming. The new smaller PS5 also sports two USB-C ports on the front of the console, unlike the current version which only has one as well as a USB-A port.

Kotaku has contacted Sony about the leaked console.

Last year, Insider Gaming also reported that Sony was planning to release this new PS5 Slim with a detachable drive in September 2023, which lines up with what Microsoft believed in the previously mentioned court docs. Rumors suggest the PS5 Slim will be sold two ways, one console without the disc drive attached and one in a bundle that comes with it. It’s also believed that Sony will sell the drive itself separately.

At the moment, Sony is selling two versions of the PS5: The $399 PS5 Digital Edition and the $499 PS5 with a disc drive. It’s possible that this new Slim could become the only PS5 in the future, with Sony letting people buy a disc drive if they want or skipping it if they don’t care. The rumored $400 price for the Slim seems to back up that possibility.


Five Minutes Of The $50 Red Dead Redemption Port Running On PS5

John Marston rides off into the sunset.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

The first thought that came to mind when starting Red Dead Redemption on PlayStation 5 is how well the 13-year old game holds up visually. The second one was that there was still no way in hell I could recommend it to anyone for a “next-gen” price tag of $50. The graphics are clean and crisp, but otherwise it’s the same game that’s been available for years on Xbox One without the Undead Nightmare DLC for almost half that price.

The cinematic scenes and character interactions still draw you in, and the performances remind you why Rockstar Games’ open-world Western was a worthy GOTY contender (Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Mass Effect 2 also came out in 2010). It still feels like an old game, especially with the original interface, occasionally clunky action, and less-than-snappy controls. Look out across sprawling prairies or cactus-filled desserts and you’ll immediately remember this is a PS3/Xbox 360-era world. Then the sun starts to go down behind the clouds and you remember how special it was at the time and immediately feel pulled back into its drama.

Red Dead Redemption – 5 Minutes of PS5 Gameplay

Red Dead Redemption – 5 Minutes of PS5 Gameplay

I spent a couple of hours with the game on PS5, a clip of which you can see above, and didn’t run into any real issues. It’s locked to a disappointing 30fps, but keeps a consistent performance outside of some occasional stuttering during cutscenes. According to Digital Foundry’s analysis, the PS4 port resolves to “full 4K resolution” and even looks slightly better on PS5 than the backwards compatible version on Xbox Series X/S, especially when it comes to shadows. But the differences are mostly limited to minutiae that few people are likely to notice. “It’s the kind of game that doesn’t really need a major overhaul to work well on modern systems—but even so this is a very barebones effort,” wrote Oliver Mackenzie.

The port would be a home run if not for the $50 head scratcher. It’s not the sort of thing I usually like to harp on, and if you have the money to spare, and never played Red Dead Redemption before, and only have a PS4 or PS5, go for it! But for anyone who just wants to revisit the game or is overwhelmed by the surprising bounty of great new games this year, it’s likely an instant deal breaker, and nothing during my time playing it convinced me otherwise. Maybe the game will come to PS Plus in a few months, or go on sale during the holiday. For now it’s just a pricey trip down memory lane with nothing new to offer.

Sony’s PS5 Remote Play Gaming Handheld Is Just $200

On August 23, Sony delivered some news that’s sure to get PS Vita fans mildly interested: Sony is back in the handheld game (kind of) via a dedicated remote play streaming device that’ll beam pixels from your PS5 straight to your hands. It’s called the PlayStation Portal remote player and it will cost you $200.

Back in May, Sony gave us a sneak peek at “Project Q,” an upcoming handheld device that looked like someone took a bandsaw to a DualSense controller to fuse a screen to it. Using the PS5’s Remote Play feature that lets you stream a game running on your PS5 to a smartphone or PC, the device was billed as a way to take your PS5 games with you while still using DualSense controller features, provided you had access to Wi-Fi and, of course, had your PS5, somewhere, plugged in, turned on, and connected to the internet. Today, that device has been officially unveiled via a blog update from Sony, losing its the Project Q delineation and gaining the title PlayStation Portal remote player. Less snappy.

Read More: PlayStation 5 Handheld Looks Even Goofier Than Expected In Leak

Sony states that the PlayStation Portal remote player will include the full features of the DualSense controller: adaptive triggers and the device’s signature haptic feedback. It also sports a 3.5mm audio jack (thank god), and will use an 8-inch LCD screen to beam a streamed 1080p image at 60fps into your eyes.

A PlayStation Portal shows a homme screen and Astro.

Photo: Sony

But while the device does look rather snazzy, it’s important to reiterate that, unlike products like the Nintendo Switch, or portable PCs like Valve’s Steam Deck, the PlayStation Portal remote player (PSPRP?) can’t run games locally. In order to use it you will need to be connected to the internet and so will your PS5 back home. Sony says that this requires a wireless internet connection with at least 5Mbps, but that 15Mbps is ideal.

The device will not use any local processing power to run a game aside from what’s required to transfer a streamed image. Sony gave no details about what is under the hood of the PlayStation Portal remote player.

Sony also revealed some new official PlayStation headsets along with the announcement, with a set of earbuds (named Pulse Explore) and over-ears headphones (Pulse Elite) that will retail for $200 and $150 respectively. And if you’re planning to use your PlayStation Portal remote player wirelessly, you will need these as notably, Sony’s upcoming handheld will not use Bluetooth, instead favoring the company’s own wireless audio technology.

The PlayStation Portal remote player launches on November 15, 2023.

Update 9/1/2023 at 9:30 a.m. ET: Added the launch date of the PlayStation Portal.

Update 8/23/2023 at 11:00 a.m. ET: Added a detail to indicate that the PlayStation Portal remote player will not support audio over Bluetooth.

$245 PS5 Controller Promises To Get Rid Of Stick Drift

French gaming accessory distributor Nacon opened preorders for its Revolution 5 Pro controller for PS5, PS4, and PC. The officially licensed, polished-looking product is listed at $199, about half the cost of a digital-edition PlayStation 5. But if you can’t stand stick drift, maybe that’s a small price to pay.

For a while, it’s seemed like no modern controller could escape stick drift, or phantom joystick movement that affects in-game actions. Nintendo offers Switch owners free repairs for its freewheeling Joy-Cons, and Sony similarly covered drifting DualSense controllers under its warranty. But there are few permanent fixes for any controller.

Nacon, then, attempts to cut the problem out at the root. Like a growing number of other manufacturers (and Sega back in the ‘90s, with its Saturn and Dreamcast controllers), it uses contactless magnet technology, powered by a phenomenon called the Hall effect, to track the movement of its analog joysticks and triggers. This is in contrast to the degradable potentiometers and springs living in a typical Joy-Con or DualSense controller.

Read More: One Of The Most Beloved Nintendo Controllers Is Back To Fix Switch Joy-Con Drift

“This asymmetric controller offers revolutionary features to improve precision and gaming performances,” Nacon writes on its website. “Exceeding all expectations with its technology optimized for the PS5. Enjoy an enriched configuration interface, improved and ergonomic modular design, all wrapped in premium materials for unparalleled comfort.”

Aside from utilizing the magnetic Hall effect for its sticks, the Revolution 5 Pro controller also uses magnets to supply its trigger stops. The company touts its odd-looking d-pad for apparently being made in collaboration with its sponsored fighting game player, which it suggests imparts “exceptional control and precision.” As for the battery, $199 gets about 10 hours of playtime, which is comparable to a DualSense controller (that gives up around the 12-hour mark).

As with many of these high-end “pro” or “elite” controllers the Revolution 5 Pro has various modular pieces you can swap in as you’d like. It offers “four profiles saved per platform, three sets of weights, three stick sizes, three sets of stick heads, one external microphone jack and no less than 60 customisation options,” according to Nacon. So, go crazy.

The expensive controller, available in white or black, will start shipping in October.

 Updated: 9/29/23, 12:10 p.m. ET: This article previously included pricing information based on the European list price of the controller, €229. Nacon has since announced that the U.S. price will be $199.99.

EA Removes Every FIFA Game From PS5 And Other Stores

You can no longer buy last year’s hit soccer game, FIFA 23. Nor any other older game from the famous Electronic Arts sports franchise. At least, not digitally.

The publisher has pulled every FIFA game that was previously for sale on the PlayStation 5, Xbox, Switch, Steam, and Epic Games storefronts. The move, first noticed by industry analyst MauroNL, comes ahead of the launch of EA Sports FC 24, the newest game in the series which was re-branded earlier this year after EA abandoned the FIFA licence amid ongoing renewal negotiations.

While some DLC packs for the games, which date back to FIFA 14 on modern platforms, are still available on the storefronts, the games themselves are either missing or don’t show an option to purchase. On Steam, where FIFA 23 has accrued over 100,000 user reviews and a rating of “mixed,” a notice reads: “At the request of the publisher, EA SPORTS™ FIFA 23 is unlisted on the Steam store and will not appear in search.”

It’s not clear if the games will return at some point in a different form, or whether their removal will be permanent. EA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FIFA games, and now EA Sports FC, come out every year with updated rosters but often minimal changes to the underlying modes and mechanics. EA Sports FC 24, which arrives September 29, currently has a 76 on Metacritic, with GamesRadar calling it the “most playable” version of the series in years, while Eurogamer called it “business as usual.”

Chief among the improvements is a streamlining of Ultimate Team, the series’ loot box mode where players collect packs of cards and then use them to construct hyper-talented all-star squads. According to GamesRadar, EA has improved the feel of the mode on the field, and added an “Evolution” feature for leveling up players’ skills, as well as mixed in star female players who were previously kept separately.

Ultimate Team is the real reason many players shell out for a new version of FIFA every year, abandoning the game they paid $70 for just 12 months prior. It’s also been supremely lucrative for EA, which rakes in more money from microtransactions than the sale of the new games themselves. Though apparently not enough to make the publisher want to pay the International Football Federation the $1 billion it was reportedly requesting to renew the FIFA brand.

PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan Stepping Down Amid Great PS5 Sales

The head of PlayStation is stepping down, Sony announced in a press release today. Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO, is retiring after just four years on the job. The massive shakeup in leadership comes as the PlayStation 5 breaks sales records and as Sony has doubled-down on prestige blockbuster games like The Last of Us Part 1 and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.

“After 30 years, I have made the decision to retire from SIE in March 2024,” Ryan said in a statement. “I’ve relished the opportunity to have a job I love in a very special company, working with great people and incredible partners. But I’ve found it increasingly difficult to reconcile living in Europe and working in North America.”

Ryan will officially leave the position in April, 2024. Hiroki Totoki, Sony Group Corporation President, COO and CFO, will help with the transition and take on the role of interim CEO of PlayStation once Ryan leaves, and will help with the search for his successor. The news was first reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier.

A 30-year veteran of Sony, Ryan was promoted to the top PlayStation job in 2019 after a re-organization saw head of CEO of Worldwide Studios, Shawn Layden, step down, and President of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, transition into a more background role working with indie game developers.

As head of PlayStation, Ryan oversaw the launch of the PS5, which despite pandemic-era shortages, is now on pace to break sales records thanks to an ongoing lineup of first-party exclusive blockbusters like Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarök. His tenure also included the launch of PS VR2, as well as a major pivot by the subscription service PS Plus to more directly compete with Xbox Game Pass’ Netflix-like library of games.

The unexpected departure comes just a couple months after Sony signed a 10-year agreement with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the tech giant’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Despite a vicious regulatory fight in the U.S. with the Federal Trade Commission and in the UK with the Competition and Markets Authority, both of which included testimony by Ryan, the historic deal is likely set to close beginning in October.

“Jim Ryan has been a great contributor to our industry and a fierce leader for PlayStation,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer tweeted. “I wish him the best in what he does next. Thank you for all you’ve done for the community over the last 30 years, Jim.”

Here’s the full press release:

Sony Group Corporation and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) today announced that SIE President and CEO Jim Ryan has made the decision to retire in March 2024 after almost thirty years with the PlayStation business. To support Mr. Ryan in his transition, Sony Group Corporation President, COO and CFO Hiroki Totoki will assume the role of Chairman of SIE effective October 2023. Effective April 1, 2024, Mr. Totoki will be appointed Interim CEO of SIE while he continues his current role at Sony Group Corporation. Mr. Totoki will work closely with Sony Group Corporation Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida and the management team of SIE to help define the next chapter of PlayStation’s future, including the succession of the SIE CEO role.

Jim Ryan joined Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Europe-based legal entity, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe (SIEE) — which was then Sony Computer Entertainment Europe — in 1994. Since then, he has held a number of senior positions at the company including President of SIEE, Head of Global Sales and Marketing at SIE and Deputy President of SIE since January 2018, before being appointed SIE President and CEO.

Comment from Kenichiro Yoshida

“Jim Ryan has been an inspirational leader throughout his entire period with us, but never more so than in overseeing the launch of PlayStation 5 in the midst of the global COVID pandemic. That extraordinary achievement made by the entire SIE team has been steadily built on and PlayStation 5 is on track to become SIE’s most successful console yet. I’m immensely grateful to Jim for all his achievements. Respecting Jim’s decision to finish his long career at Sony leaves me with an important decision regarding his succession given the significance of the Game & Network Services business. We have discussed intensively and have determined the new management structure. We aim to achieve Sony Group’s further evolution and growth through bringing even greater success to the Game & Network Services Business.”

Comment from Jim Ryan

“After 30 years, I have made the decision to retire from SIE in March 2024. I’ve relished the opportunity to have a job I love in a very special company, working with great people and incredible partners. But I’ve found it increasingly difficult to reconcile living in Europe and working in North America. I will leave having been privileged to work on products that have touched millions of lives across the world; PlayStation will always be part of my life, and I feel more optimistic than ever about the future of SIE. I want to thank Yoshida-san for placing so much trust in me and being an incredibly sensitive and supportive leader.”

Comment from Hiroki Totoki

“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Jim Ryan for his outstanding achievements and contributions over his 30-year career at Sony, including the great success of launching the PlayStation 5. The PlayStation business managed by SIE is an essential part of Sony Group’s entire business portfolio. I will work with Jim and the senior management team closely to ensure our continued success and further growth. I am also looking forward to creating the exciting future of PlayStation and the game industry together with everyone at SIE and its business partners.”

Update 9/28/2023 2:02 p.m. ET: Added a tweet by Phil Spencer.


Sony Hides Trailer For Troubled Star Wars: KOTOR PS5 Remake

A Sith Lord holds up a red light saber.

Image: Aspyr Media / Embracer Group

A teaser for a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake coming to PlayStation 5 nearly stole the show at Sony’s September 2021 showcase. But reports surfaced last year that the project was already in trouble. Now Star Wars fans have noticed that Sony recently deleted tweets about the game and has hidden the trailer from its official YouTube channel.

Word that the teaser trailer had been removed from PlayStation’s channel first began to spread on September 28 on the Gaming Leaks and Rumors subreddit. Twitter user Crusader3456 later shared a thread showing that Sony’s tweets about the teaser from the original 2021 PlayStation Showcase had also been deleted. The only official mention left appears to be a single tweet promoting multiple games from the livestream.

A screenshot shows a trailer set to private on the PlayStation Blog.

Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku

It’s possible the highly anticipated KOTOR remake is still alive and this is just some weirdness on the part of Sony’s social media department. It also might be the case that the project, which debuted as a PS5 exclusive, has all but been canceled amid ongoing development issues and massive budget cuts at parent publisher Embracer. Sony and Embracer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg reported in July 2022 that the developers has spent a significant amount of time and resources on a proof-of-concept demo that failed to past muster at a review meeting. Several senior leads were let go from the project, and the following month development on the KOTOR remake shifted to Saber Interactive in Europe (Aspyr is based in Texas).

Fast-forward a year, and parent company Embracer is instituting cuts across its sprawling portfolio, including canceling games and shutting down entire studios like Volition, after reportedly losing out on a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia. Aspyr also announced in June that it would bail on shipping a promised DLC pack for its Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 remaster on Switch. A fan is now suing.

A successful remake of KOTOR would be a lynchpin project for any publisher, especially as new Star Wars shows flood Disney+ every year. It would also be an incredibly ambitious and challenging endeavor for even the best studio. It’s not yet clear if Embracer has given up hope on the project. Fans certainly still haven’t.

Update 9/29/2023 11:54 a.m. ET: A spokesperson for Sony said the KOTOR remake trailer was delisted over licensing issues. “As part of normal business, we delist assets with licensed music when the licenses expire,” they told Kotaku in an email. The only music in the trailer seems to be the main Star Wars theme which is owned by Disney.

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