The Last of Us
|The Last of Us|
North American cover art with Joel and Ellie looking over their shoulders as they wade through a flooded city
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Director(s)||Neil Druckmann (creative)
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, survival horror|
The Last of Us is an upcoming action-adventure survival horror video game developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation 3 video game console. It was officially revealed on December 10, 2011 during the Spike TV Video Game Awards and is scheduled for a worldwide release on June 14, 2013 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive.
The Last of Us uses third-person view. The player will take control of Joel, while Ellie will be controlled by the AI. The game will involve gun fighting and melee combat as well as a cover system. The player will fight off the Infected — former humans — and the Survivors — humans that are not infected, but are hostile towards Joel and Ellie. A new gameplay mechanic is a feature the developers call "dynamic stealth", meaning that there are many different types of strategies and techniques that the player can use at any given time as they approach a new situation, to which enemies will react differently. Naughty Dog have developed an AI system called "Balance of Power". This new system allows enemies to react realistically to any combat situation they are placed in by taking cover if they see the player, calling for help if they need it and even taking advantage of the players weaknesses, such as when Joel runs out of ammunition or when he is being attacked by other enemies.
The story is set two decades after a cordyceps-type fungus has killed millions, with nature gradually retaking the abandoned cities and towns. The survivors are hemmed inside quarantine zones, completely under the heel of the United States military, with order and screening for any Infected being viciously maintained under martial law. Joel, a hardened black-marketeer within one of the quarantine zones, goes through an event which makes him promise an old friend that he will get a young, fourteen year old girl named Ellie, away from the harsh regime to a resistance group known as the Fireflies. They begin a journey through the U.S., avoiding the Infected, humanoid creatures whose sole aim has become spreading the fungal infection. Joel and Ellie also have to avoid scavengers that survive outside the quarantine zones who see Joel and Ellie as their latest prey. Adding to their problems, the military is determined to find Ellie and bring her back under their power.
The game was first teased before the Spike Video Game Awards on November 29, 2011, with a billboard in Times Square mentioning "a [PlayStation 3] exclusive you won't believe". Initial trailers showed an apocalyptic event, including riots, epidemic, quarantine, and violence, as well as a clip of the BBC's Planet Earth showing an ant infected with Cordyceps unilateralis, a dangerous parasitic fungus that usually kills insects such as ants. On December 9, 2011, players of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception spotted an in-game reference to the aforementioned trailer with the newspaper headline "scientists are still struggling to understand deadly fungus". At the Spike Video Game Awards, Sony officially unveiled the game, a brand new intellectual property from Naughty Dog, created by a previously unpublicized 80-person Naughty Dog development team. A gameplay trailer, made up of in-game footage, showed a man and a teenage girl fending off other survivors and what appeared to be people with unusual fungal growth before running out into a dilapidated city covered in greenery, reminiscent of the film I Am Legend.
Shortly after the unveiling, Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells posted new details of The Last of Us on the PlayStation Blog:
|“||The Last of Us is a genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements to tell a character driven tale about a modern plague decimating mankind. Nature encroaches upon civilization, forcing remaining survivors to kill for food, weapons and whatever they can find. Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States.||”|
The announcement confirmed that the new project is being headed by studio game director Bruce Straley. Former lead designer on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Mark Richard Davies has been working at Naughty Dog on the game. After Uncharted 2: Among Thieves shipped in 2009, some of the development team from the game formed the team for The Last of Us, while the remainder worked on Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception; The Last of Us marks the first time that Naughty Dog has become a two-team studio. It is also the first time the studio has introduced a second new intellectual property in the same hardware generation.
The Spike Video Game Awards 2012 officially revealed The Last of Us to be released on May 7, 2013. However, Sony and Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann later delayed the release date to June 14, 2013 to give the developers more time to polish up the final game. Instead, a demo of the game will be activated for those players who own God of War: Ascension in late May.
The concept for The Last of Us arose after watching a segment of the BBC nature documentary Planet Earth, which documented a cordyceps fungus-infected ant, where the fungus takes over its brain and produces growths from its head; the idea that the fungus could infect humans became the initial idea for the game. Major artistic inspirations included the novels City of Thieves, I Am Legend, No Country for Old Men, The Road, the comic book series The Walking Dead, and their screen adaptations. GamesRadar pointed out the game's inspirations by the film versions of I Am Legend and The Road and the TV series version of The Walking Dead, as well as by 28 Days Later and the film versions of Children of Men and The Day of the Triffids.
While the fungus epidemic is the main backdrop of the game, The Last of Us is not a "zombie game", but "a love story about a father-daughter-like relationship", influenced in part by the interactions between Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan, his mentor and father-like figure, in the studio's Uncharted series. Joel is a survivor and anti-hero, while Ellie is a 14-year-old girl with no experience of the world pre-apocalypse. The composer for the game will be two-time Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla (of Brokeback Mountain and Babel). The team wanted to focus on emotion with the soundtrack rather than horror.
On release of the initial trailer for the game Dead Island, the team was concerned that the two games would be largely similar, both exploring the human or emotional side to an apocalyptic event. However, on release of the aforementioned game, the team realized that the gameplay did not match up to that showed by the trailer; by contrast, lead designer Neil Druckmann feels that the trailer for The Last of Us is "very representative of what we're going for". Druckmann also stated that he wants the story in The Last of Us to raise the bar for other video game developers, as he feels the standard of storytelling is not as good as it should be within the industry. The developer showcased an extended length gameplay video at Sony's press conference during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012.
The Last of Us won multiple awards after the E3 2012 showing:
|Best PS3 Game||Best of E3||IGN||Jun 6, 2012|
|Best of Show||Best of E3 2012||PlayStation Universe||Jun 11, 2012|
|Most Anticipated Game|
|Best of Show||Destructoid: Best of E3 2012||Destructoid||Jun 6, 2012|
|Best PS Game|
|Best of Show||Best of E3 2012||Machinima.com||Jun 12, 2012|
|Best of E3||Best of E3 2012: Editor's Choice||GameSpot||Jun 6, 2012|
|Best PS3 Game||Best of E3 2012||G4TV||Jun 6, 2012|
|Best Sony Exclusive||Best of E3||Digital Trends||Jun 6, 2012|
|Best PS3 Exclusive||Best of E3||Game Informer||Jun 13, 2012|
|Best of E3||Best of E3||The Electric Playground||Jun 12, 2012|
|Best of Show||Best of E3||The Telegraph||Jun 12, 2012|
|Most Valuable Game||Most Valuable Game of E3 2012||GamesRadar||Jun 12, 2012|
|Best of Show||Best of E3 2012||Electronic Gaming Monthly||Jun 11, 2012|
|Best PS3 Game|
|Editors Choice Award:E3 2012||Editors Choice: E3 2012||The Verge||Jun 12, 2012|
|Best of E3 2012||Best of E3 2012||Yahoo!Games||Jun 12, 2012|
|GameRevolution: Best of E3 2012||Best of E3 2012||GameRevolution||Jun 12, 2012|
|Best Overall Game||Best of E3 2012||Cheat Code Central||Jun 11, 2012|
|Most Anticipated Game|
|Best of Show||Best of E3 2012||Game Critics Awards||Jun 26, 2012|
|Best Console Game|
|Best Original Game|
|Best Action/Adventure Game|
|Special Commendation for Sound|
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