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The Last of Us building shaders issue explained

Here's how long it takes for The Last of Us building shaders process to finish and what the ominous PlayStation PC port message means.

The Last of Us building shaders: Joel with weird beard effects

Having trouble with The Last of Us building shaders? If so, you’re probably staring at the game’s menu screen wondering how long the process will take. Well, you’re not alone, as the issue affects every rig out there, whether you’re using a high-end RTX 4090 powerhouse or a handheld gaming PC like the Steam Deck.

To avoid hardware hiccups on top of the building shaders issue, we’d suggest double-checking The Last of Us system requirements before playing. While Naughty Dog says it’s “actively investigating” poor performance and crashes, ensuring your rig matches the dev’s recommended specs will help the port properly on PC.

The Last of Us building shaders issue: Sarah standing in bedroom with texture issues

How long does The Last of Us building shaders take?

It should take around an hour for The Last of Us building shaders process to complete. We’d strongly recommend waiting for the message to disappear before playing, and you’ll want to restart before hitting ‘new game’. If you dive right in without doing so, you’ll experience quirky textures and unstable performance.

While testing the best Last of Us settings on PC, I foolishly decided to go ahead and start playing without restarting the game first. The result? Well, Sarah and her bedroom looked like a psychedelic nightmare, and Joel’s beard turned into Deux Ex artwork. In other words, if you want to avoid shenanigans disrupting the post-apocalyptic drama’s opening act, make sure you’ve let it build shaders and relaunch the game when it’s complete.

What does The Last of Us building shaders mean?

Simply put, The Last of Us building shaders message means it’s preparing to handle shadows, lighting, and textures. Without shaders, the port won’t be able to add fancy effects to its 3D models and environments, which will ultimately lead to a visual mess.

Again, there’s not much you can do to avoid the building shaders message at the moment, and it’s nothing to do with your specific build. However, if you’re planning on a Last of Us Steam Deck playthrough, you might want to plug the handheld’s charger in while it loads, as an hour of compiling shaders will gobble up battery life.

Thankfully, a Last of Us hotfix just landed, and Naughty Dog says “it’s investigating shader building related crashes.” That should mean better optimisation is on the way, but players may have to contend with performance shenanigans for now.