The Last of Us Part 1 remake will use the DualSense controller in an innovative way

Joel from The Last of Us looking troubled
(Image credit: Sony)

The Last of Us Part I is set to make the game even more accessible and it'll use the PS5 DualSense to do it.

The Last of Us 2 was widely praised for its extensive range of accessibility options but the PS5 remake of its predecessor is set to take them even further. Over on the official PlayStation blog, game director Matthew Gallant says, “we’re expecting this to be an accessible experience for blind players, for deaf players, for players with motor accessibility needs.” 

A particularly innovative feature is that it’ll be possible to play dialogue through the DualSense wireless controller’s haptic feedback. Gallant explains that this feature, which started as a prototype but proved successful during playtests, means that “a deaf player can feel the way a line is delivered, can feel the emphasis, along with the subtitles to give some sense of how that line is delivered.” 

Fun for everyone

Other accessibility features highlighted by Gallant include audio descriptions for cinematics, which are also shown in the trailer. “We partnered with Descriptive Video Works,” Gallant writes, “a professional service whose background is TV, movies and video game trailers, and integrated it into the cutscenes and across all our localized languages.”

The brief trailer gives an overarching view of the features that we can expect in The Last of Us Part I, picking out individual features such as the game's high contrast mode, story and combat subtitles, traversal audio cues, enhanced listen mode, and its motor accessibility options. 

The accompanying blog post, however, goes into much greater detail and we recommend checking it out to see the full extent of the features available. It includes information on the game’s three accessibility presets. Naughty Dog explains that as many of the game's accessibility features "were built to work in concert with one another", these presets "configure all the recommended settings for vision, hearing, and motor accessibility" across multiple menus.  

A screenshot from The Last of Us Part 1 for PS5 showing the game's High Contrast Mode, with the player character highlighted in blue and enemies in red

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

You can, of course, customize these presets further in the game and Naughty Dog points out that the DualSense controller is also fully customizable, with the option to remap "every command to a different controller input – including touchpad swipes and controller shake."

The post also reveals six difficulty levels: Very Light, Light, Moderate, Hard, Survivor, and Grounded. Like many of the other features, these are also customizable, making it possible for you to “individually tweak difficulty settings related to incoming damage, enemy and ally effectiveness, stealth, and resources.”

There is always more work to be done around accessibility in gaming but it’s good to see Naughty Dog using the latest generation of hardware to create a more inclusive game. Sony’s first-party studios have been making efforts to improve the accessibility of their games in recent years, with titles like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the upcoming God of War: Ragnarok being notable examples. Hopefully we only see things improve further.

The Last of Us Part I is a ground-up remake for PS5 and PC. The PS5 version is set to release this Friday, September 2. You can watch the launch trailer to get hyped. The PC release date has yet to be confirmed.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.