The Last of Us is the newest IP created by critically acclaimed studio Naughty Dog, Inc. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, (similar to I am Legend) survivors Joel and Ellie must stick together in order to survive. Ok, this sounds like a typical Resident Evil type shtick but being a Naughty Dog game, things aren’t always what they seem. Instead of following the over the top action such as their award winning game Uncharted or blood-fest mayhem like most zombie based games this survival-horror piece of art is opting for a new direction. “It’s a love story. Not a romantic love story, a love story between these two characters”, says Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog.
BBC’s Planet Earth series showed an episode a few years back about a fungus called Cordyceps. This fungus had the ability to infect the body of an Amazonian bullet ant and started taking over this poor ant’s mind, sending the insect into the open. Eventually the ant dies and the fungus uses the corpse as fertile ground in order to grow new spores. This is the main idea for the game. What would happen if this fungus, which is totally real, could infect humans and transform them into a zombie-fied, plant, looking hybrid of a man?
Well, Joel and Ellie are going to find out real soon. What sets this game apart though is that the narrative is from the characters point of view. The emotional struggle of being put in this kind of position and making difficult decisions. Not only will Joel and Ellie have to defend themselves against cordyceps zombies but also against other survivors who are trying to cope in the world as well.
From the trailer you see Ellie gathering up bullets from a guy that Joel kicked the crap out of so I think it’s safe to assume that there will be limited resources through out the game. Also from the trailer you see Joel firing a shot at plant-man but he looks kind of hesitant when he pulls the trigger. Me personally, I like that. Playing a reluctant killer who probably was just an average Joe before the whole world went to hell. Must be tough on him because he knew what the world was like before all this. Ellie on the other hand was born into this chaos so she knows nothing about the old world.
Naughty Dog insists on raising the bar yet again though. Always exploring new options and genres they definitely know how to diversify their creativity. Moving away from the cartoon-ish styles of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, to a gritty adventure like Uncharted and now to a seriously dark setting like The Last of Us. I have the utmost confidence in this company. How many game developers can confidently say that just when their company logo appears on the screen, before any real reveal, a room full of people and critics alike will applaud with excitement and that is exactly what happened when they released the trailer at the Spike Videogame Awards, last year. That’s power that you cannot buy, that’s earned.
Release Date: End 2012-Beginning 2013
Platform: Playstation 3
- The Last of Us is “Character-Driven Survival Action,” Says Dev (escapistmagazine.com)
- 24′s Annie Wersching joins The Last of Us cast (vg247.com)
- New in-game screenshots revealed for The Last of Us on Playstation 3 (examiner.com)
- Irrational’s Ken Levine talks creative storytelling with Naughty Dog’s Amy Hennig (vg247.com)
- The Last of Us: acting out the end of the world (vg247.com)
- Naughty Dog Defends ‘The Last of Us’ Against Multiplayer Criticism (gamerant.com)