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The Last of Us Part II

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The Last of Us Part II
TLOU P2 Box Art 2.png
Box art featuring Ellie
Developer(s)Naughty Dog
Publisher(s)Sony Interactive Entertainment
Director(s)
Designer(s)
  • Emilia Schatz
  • Richard Cambier
Writer(s)
Composer(s)Gustavo Santaolalla
Platform(s)PlayStation 4
ReleaseJune 19, 2020
Genre(s)Action-adventure, survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player

The Last of Us Part II is an upcoming action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Set five years after the events of The Last of Us (2013), players enter the role of 19-year-old Ellie, who comes into conflict with a mysterious Christian cult in a post-apocalyptic United States. The game contains survival horror elements and is played from the third-person perspective. Players can use firearms, improvised weapons, and stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus.

The game is scheduled for release on June 19, 2020. It was announced in December 2016 and delayed twice, first for further development and then due to logistical problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gameplay

The Last of Us Part II is an upcoming action-adventure survival horror game played from the third-person perspective.[1][2] Players can use firearms, improvised weapons, and stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus. The gameplay mechanics in Part II have also expanded upon its predecessor, The Last of Us. In it the player character can traverse the environment further by being able to reach higher vantage points by jumping and climbing whilst playing as the more nimble Ellie.[3] Players can also crawl in a prone position to evade enemies.[3] Throughout the game, players will have an non-player character assisting them.[4] Additionally, large portions of the game are set in Seattle, Washington.[4]

The game also sees the return of "Listen Mode" allowing players to locate enemies through a heightened sense of hearing and spatial awareness, indicated as outlines visible through walls and objects.[3] Additionally, players can collect supplements to upgrade skills in a skill tree.[3] The three main branches of the tree are Survival, Crafting, and Stealth.[3] Survival upgrades improve health, Listen Mode's range, and throw distance.[3] Crafting upgrades allow for melee upgrades, increase to Ellie's crafting speed, and the ability to craft smoke and stun bombs.[3] Stealth upgrades improve prone movement speed, faster stealth kills, and unlock pistol silencers.[3] Part II also introduces guard dogs that can track the player's scent.[3]

Development

Baker and Johnson reprise their roles as Joel and Ellie respectively

Development of The Last of Us Part II began in 2014, soon after the release of The Last of Us Remastered.[5] Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson reprise their roles as Joel and Ellie, respectively. Neil Druckmann reprises his positions as creative director and writer from The Last of Us however this time the story is also co-written by Halley Gross.[6][7][8] Bruce Straley, game director on the original game, left Naughty Dog in 2017.[9][10] Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau were selected to be game directors for Part II;[11] Newman was previously the melee combat designer for The Last of Us, and Margenau was game director on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.[12] Gustavo Santaolalla returns to compose and perform the score.[13] Plans for multiplayer were cancelled because resources were shifted to improving the scale of the game.[14] Naughty Dog stated that The Last of Us Part II was the longest game they had made.[15] The game also sees the return of Tommy portayed by Jeffrey Pierce.[4]

Druckmann and Santaolalla reprise their roles as creative director and composer respectively

The Last of Us Part II was announced at the PlayStation Experience event in December 2016.[16] The first trailer revealed the return of Ellie and Joel, whose story takes place five years after the first game. Players control 19-year-old Ellie, who was playable for some sections of the first game, though Joel was the primary playable character. Whereas the first game centers on love, Druckmann stated Part II centers on hate.[17] Motion capture began in 2017.[7]

Soon after the release of The Lost Legacy in August 2017, the team working on the former shifted to help develop Part II, meaning the entire studio was working on it.[18][19] The second trailer was released in October 2017 as a part of Paris Games Week. It revealed four new characters: Yara (played by Victoria Grace), Lev (Ian Alexander), Emily (Emily Swallow), and an unnamed character played by Laura Bailey.[20][21] Druckmann stated that the characters "are integral to [Ellie and Joel's] next journey".[22] The game was featured at Sony's E3 2018 event.[23] Another trailer was featured in the State of Play, a presentation concerning upcoming PlayStation games, in September 2019.[24]

The development, according to a report by Kotaku's Jason Schreier, included a crunch schedule of 12-hour work days owing to the studio culture; after the game's delay, developers continued under this schedule for the additional months. Schreier suggested that development was affected and slowed due to the enormous turnover of employees following the development of Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, with few veterans left on the team. Some of the developers working on the game allegedly hope that the game will fail to prove that the working conditions they are under are not viable. The developer was granted an additional two weeks of development for bug fixes.[25]

In April 2020, Baker urged players to go into the story with an open mind and revealed that Joel has a "central role".[26][27][28] He said he was unsure as to whether players would like the story, but that they would not be "ambivalent" about it.[26][27]

On May 4, it was announced that the game had gone gold, meaning development had finished, allowing for discs to be manufactured.[29][30] Two days later, Naughty Dog released a story trailer featuring Joel and Ellie after an attack on the town of Jackson.[31][32]

From May 13 to June 3, Naughty Dog is releasing a series of videos about the six-year development of Part II.[33][34] The first portion discusses the game's narrative with Druckmann noting that the game might be divisive but "in an exciting way".[33][34]

Release

The Last of Us Part II was originally scheduled for release on February 21, 2020, but was delayed to May 29, 2020, in October 2019.[24][35][36] Sony announced four editions: standard, special, collector's, and an Ellie edition.[37] Different editions come with different collectors' items as well as items and unlocked abilities in Part II, in addition to a bonus for pre-ordering the game.[37]

On April 2, 2020, Naughty Dog announced that The Last of Us Part II was almost complete but had been indefinitely delayed due to logistical problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[38][36][39] On April 27, Sony announced a new release date of June 19, 2020.[40][41]

Earlier the same day, several videos leaked online, showing cutscenes, gameplay and plot details.[42][43] Druckmann tweeted that he was "heartbroken" for fans and for the team, who had devoted years to development.[44] A few days later, Sony stated that it had identified the leakers and that they were not affiliated with Sony or Naughty Dog.[45] According to Schreier, hackers had used a security weakness in a previous Naughty Dog game to penetrate Naughty Dog's servers.[46][47]

Reception

While the second trailer was mostly well-received,[48][21] it drew some criticism for its violence.[49] Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe president Jim Ryan defended the trailer, saying the game is made by and for adults.[50] Druckmann explained: "We're making a game about the cycle of violence and we’re making a statement about violent actions and the impact they have ... [the idea] was for the player to feel repulsed by some of the violence they are committing themselves."[51]

The cutscene featured in the 2018 E3 presentation in which Ellie kisses another woman, Dina (Shannon Woodward), was praised for making a kiss—frequently considered to be difficult to animate—passionate and believable.[52][53] Critics also praised the improved graphics, enemy artificial intelligence, and combat.[54]

Awards

In 2017, The Last of Us Part II was named Most Anticipated Game of the Year from PlayStation Blog,[55] Most Wanted Game at the Golden Joystick Awards,[56] and Most Anticipated Game at The Game Awards;[57] in 2018, it was awarded Most Anticipated Game at the Gamers' Choice Awards,[58] and nominated for Most Wanted Game at the Golden Joystick Awards.[59] It received Special Commendations for Graphics[a] and Sound at the Game Critics Awards in July 2018.[60]

Date Award Category Result Ref.
January 1, 2017 PlayStation Blog Most Anticipated Game Platinum [55]
November 17, 2017 Golden Joystick Awards Most Wanted Game Won [56]
December 7, 2017 The Game Awards Most Anticipated Game Won [57]
July 2, 2018 Game Critics Awards Special Commendation for Graphics Won[a] [60]
Special Commendation for Sound Won [60]
November 16, 2018 Golden Joystick Awards Most Wanted Game Nominated [59]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Also awarded to Cyberpunk 2077 and Ghost of Tsushima.[60]

References

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