When the sequel to one of your most recent projects scores itself a dedicated panel at the PlayStation Experience (PSX), it’s a surefire sign that you’ve done something right as a developer.
Just look at Naughty Dog, whose 2013 third-person horror epic The Last of Us earned itself such massive applause from critics and mass audiences alike that its follow-up’s much-anticipated status and resultant PSX presentation come as no surprise.
Here’s what we learned from writer-director Neil Druckmann and co-writer Halley Gross as they teased what terrors and thrills await us in The Last of Us: Part II…
- Much of Part II‘s top-secret narrative takes place in the city of Seattle, where the increasingly world-wearied Joel and Ellie will pursue some form of justice (probably against the Fireflies, if the sequel’s haunting teaser trail was any indication), only to find the lines of morality becoming evermore blurred en route.
- Druckmann warns that “no-one is safe” in the franchise’s plague-ridden, undead-infested world, so even Joel and Ellie – undoubtedly one of gaming’s most beloved modern pairings – mightn’t make it to Part II‘s credits alive, regardless of how much trauma they’ve endured up to this point.
- Indeed, one of Druckmann and Gross’ key goals here involved raising the personal and physical stakes for their already battered protagonists, in a similar vein to how Uncharted 4 took Nathan Drake to his very limits, but – according to IGN – with even less in the way of that series finale’s lighthearted hi-jinks. Don’t go in hoping for Joel and Ellie to masquerade as Italian waiters, in other words.
- That’s not to say we can’t expect any glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel, however. Despite their storyline’s undoubtedly grim tone, the writers were equally adamant at Part II‘s PSX panel that players would find “hope” and “lighthearted moments” peppered throughout the script alongside its more harrowing sequences.
- Speaking of harrowing experiences, apparently nailing down the plot’s second act proved tougher than expected for Druckmann and Gross alike, with the former worrying about a “big giant middle part” – his words, not ours – until the latter suggested some “awesome ideas” to keep players invested throughout.
Much as hearing all these intriguing comments surrounding Part II doesn’t make the undefined wait time any easier, Druckmann did also reveal that “50-60%” of the sequel’s levels have been completed as of this weekend and that we can expect more footage – presumably in the form of a full gameplay demo this time – at E3 2018 next June.
Until then, be sure to let us know your predictions for Part II in the comments section and watch voice actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson’s stirring rendition of the teaser trail’s haunting melody, “Wayfaring Stranger”, at the PSX panel below.