|The Last of Us Part II|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Release||June 19, 2020|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, survival horror|
The Last of Us Part II is a 2020 action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Set five years after The Last of Us (2013), players control two lead characters in a post-apocalyptic United States: 19-year-old Ellie who sets out for revenge and becomes involved in a conflict between a militia and a cult, and Abby, a young member of said militia. 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 enemies and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus.
The six-year development of Part II began in 2014, soon after the release of The Last of Us Remastered. Neil Druckmann returned as creative director and Gustavo Santaolalla returned to compose the score. The game was announced in December 2016 and delayed twice, first for further development and then due to logistical problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was released on June 19, 2020, to critical acclaim. Praise was directed towards the improved gameplay mechanics, visual fidelity, story, and the performances of its cast, though aspects of the narrative and presentation of its themes received a more mixed response.
The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure survival horror game played from the third-person perspective. Players can use firearms, bows, 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 more openly by being able to reach higher vantage points by jumping and climbing while playing as Ellie and Abby. Players can also crawl in a prone position to evade enemies. Throughout the game, players may have non-player characters assisting them.
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. Additionally, players can collect supplements to upgrade skills in a skill tree. The three main branches of the tree are Survival, Crafting, and Stealth. Survival upgrades improve health, Listen Mode's range, and throw distance. Crafting upgrades allow for melee upgrades, increase to Ellie's crafting speed, and the ability to craft smoke and stun bombs. Stealth upgrades improve prone movement speed, faster stealth kills, and unlock pistol silencers. Part II also introduces guard dogs that can track the player's scent.
Most of civilization has been destroyed by a mutant Cordyceps fungus, which transforms its human hosts into aggressive creatures known as the Infected. Five years ago, Joel Miller escorted the teenager Ellie, who is immune, to a hospital run by the Fireflies, a rebel militia, in hopes of developing a cure. Learning the Fireflies would kill Ellie to create a vaccine, Joel killed them and left with the unconscious Ellie, telling her later that a cure was impossible. Now living in a settlement in Jackson, Wyoming, Joel confesses his guilt to his brother Tommy.
Abby leads members of the Washington Liberation Front (WLF) militia to the outskirts of Jackson. Abby wants revenge on Joel, as her father was a Firefly surgeon he killed. After Abby is rescued from Infected by Joel and Tommy, she takes them back to the group. Realizing Joel's identity, Abby shoots him. Ellie and Dina leave Jackson in search of the brothers, and take shelter in a library, where they kiss. The next day, Ellie arrives at the WLF camp to witness Abby beat Joel to death.
Ellie wants revenge, but Jackson lacks the resources to fight the WLF. Tommy leaves to pursue the WLF to Seattle and Ellie and Dina go after him. Ellie and Dina escape a WLF ambush and discover that another WLF patrol have been slaughtered by a cult, the Seraphites. They retreat to a theater, where Ellie reveals her immunity to Dina and learns that Dina is pregnant. The next day, with Dina sick, Ellie pursues Tommy alone and encounters Dina's ex-boyfriend Jesse, who has followed them to Seattle.
Evading the Seraphites, Ellie tracks another WLF member, Nora, to a hospital, and tortures her for information. Realizing Nora is a former Firefly, Ellie recalls how, two years ago, she returned to the Firefly hospital and learned the truth. The next day, Jesse leaves to pursue Tommy, and Ellie heads to Abby's hideout at an aquarium. After a struggle, Ellie kills Abby's allies Mel, who is pregnant, and Owen. At the theater, Ellie, Dina, Jesse and Tommy are ambushed by Abby. Abby kills Jesse and holds Tommy hostage.
Three days earlier, Abby learns that Owen has gone missing while investigating the Seraphites. The WLF leader, Isaac, believes he may have defected, and plans to assault the Seraphites' island settlement. Searching for Owen, Abby is captured and witnesses the Seraphites shatter the arm of a runaway Seraphite, Yara. They are rescued by Yara's young brother Lev. At the aquarium, Abby finds Owen; he plans to sail to Santa Barbara, where he believes the Fireflies are regrouping.
Yara's arm requires amputation, so Abby and Lev retrieve medical supplies from the hospital, which is overrun by Infected. Lev runs away to the Seraphite settlement to convince their mother to leave the cult. Abby and Yara pursue him, fending off an attack from Tommy. At the settlement, they discover Lev has killed his devout mother in self-defense. As the WLF attack the settlement, Yara kills Isaac and sacrifices herself to let Abby and Lev escape. Abby and Lev return to the aquarium to find Owen and Mel killed and a map leading to Ellie's theater hideout. There, Abby shoots Jesse and Tommy and brawls with Ellie and Dina, overpowering them. At Lev's insistence, when Ellie tells her that Dina is pregnant, Abby spares them.
Some time later, Ellie and Dina are living on a farm, taking care of Dina's baby, but Ellie suffers from post-traumatic stress. When Tommy arrives with information on Abby's whereabouts, Ellie leaves for Santa Barbara to kill her, despite Dina's pleas.
Abby and Lev arrive in Santa Barbara searching for the Fireflies, but are captured by the Rattlers, slave-keeping bandits. Ellie is injured in a Rattler trap but escapes and rescues Abby and Lev, who have been weakened by weeks of torture. Threatening to kill Lev, Ellie forces Abby to fight her. Ellie overpowers her, losing two fingers in the process, but lets her live. Ellie returns to the farmhouse and finds it empty. She plays Joel's guitar, recalls her promise to Joel to try to forgive him, and leaves.
Development of The Last of Us Part II began in 2014, soon after the release of The Last of Us Remastered. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson reprised their roles as Joel and Ellie, respectively. Neil Druckmann reprised his positions as creative director and writer from The Last of Us; however, this time he co-wrote the story with Halley Gross, who was also narrative lead in the game. Bruce Straley, game director on the original game, left Naughty Dog in 2017. Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau were selected to be game directors for Part II; Newman was previously the melee combat designer for The Last of Us, and Margenau was game director on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Josh Scherr who previously worked as writer on all the games in the Uncharted series except for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, worked on this game as narrative designer and additional writer. Gustavo Santaolalla returns to compose and perform the score. Plans for multiplayer were cancelled because resources were shifted to improving the scale of the game. Naughty Dog stated that The Last of Us Part II was the longest game they had made.
The Last of Us Part II was announced at the PlayStation Experience event in December 2016. The first trailer revealed the return of Ellie and Joel, whose story takes place five years after the first game. It was revealed that players will control 19-year-old Ellie, who was playable for some sections of the first game, though Joel was the primary playable character. Motion capture began in 2017.
In early interviews, Druckmann said that whereas the first game was a story about love, Part II was about hate. He later said the story was really about empathy and forgiveness. By opening the game with Abby killing Joel, the team hoped that players would initially hate her and share Ellie's thirst for revenge. Then, by having players control Abby for the second half, they would come to understand her position and come to realize the futility of their fight. Druckmann hoped the story would be compelling, but that players would "feel the weight of their actions in a way that's different from other action games". He said that the staff had many debates about the story, and predicted that it would divide audiences: "I think raises those philosophical questions and asks the players to interpret some of the material that's there and see where they stand on those questions." Druckmann cited the reveal of Raiden as the main playable character in Metal Gear Solid 2 (2001) as an inspiration.
Soon after the release of The Lost Legacy in August 2017, the entire Naughty Dog team focused on Part II. 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 Abby (Laura Bailey), whose name was not yet revealed. Druckmann stated that the characters "are integral to [Ellie and Joel's] next journey". The game was featured at Sony's E3 2018 event. Another trailer was featured in the State of Play, a presentation concerning upcoming PlayStation games, in September 2019.
According to a report by Kotaku's Jason Schreier, who spoke to anonymous Naughty Dog employees, the development saw high levels of crunch. Schreier suggested that development slowed due to the high turnover following the development of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and said that some employees privately hoped Part II would fail to end the company culture of overwork. Naughty Dog was granted an additional two weeks of development for bug fixes. The game went gold on May 4, allowing for discs to be manufactured.
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. Sony announced five editions: standard, special, collector's, digital deluxe and an Ellie edition. 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. On May 6, Naughty Dog released a story trailer featuring Joel and Ellie after an attack on the town of Jackson. From May 13 to June 3, Naughty Dog released a series of making-of videos.
Naughty Dog were keen to keep the plot secret, and altered scenes in trailers to create the impression that Joel had greater presence in the story. Naughty Dog's review embargo forbade reviewers from revealing plot elements such as the fates of characters or the inciting incident. On April 27, several videos leaked online, showing cutscenes, gameplay and plot details. Druckmann tweeted that he was "heartbroken" for fans and for the team, who had devoted years to development. A few days later, Sony stated that it had identified the leakers and that they were not affiliated with Sony or Naughty Dog. According to Schreier, hackers had used a security weakness in a previous Naughty Dog game to penetrate Naughty Dog's servers.
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. The final release date was announced on April 27.
The Last of Us Part 2 was banned in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for its gay characters. This has been attributed to the countries' conservative traditions regarding homosexuality. The Japanese release removed the sex scene between Abby and Owen.
While the second trailer was well received, it drew some criticism for its violence. Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe president Jim Ryan defended the trailer, saying the game is made by and for adults. 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."
The cutscene featured in the 2018 E3 presentation in which Ellie kisses another woman, Dina. The game was praised for this kiss—frequently considered to be difficult to animate—passionate and believable.
The Last of Us Part II was praised for its improved gameplay, graphical fidelity, and cast performances. Jonathon Dornbush of IGN called it "a masterpiece worthy of its predecessor" and wrote that "it delivers a layered, emotionally shattering story on top of stealth and action gameplay that improves the first game's mechanics [... and] still makes time for a stunning, nuanced exploration of the strength and fragility of the human spirit". Andy McNamara of Game Informer concurred, calling it "the best narrative game I have played" and "a sequel unlike any other, taking video game storytelling to new heights." Kaity Kline of NPR called the game an "emotional rollercoaster" and writing: "I think The Last of Us Part II has changed me a bit as a person. It made me very aware of the little things in my life that I take for granted, the kinds of things you don't appreciate until they're ripped away forever." Kallie Plagge of GameSpot called it "beautiful and devastating", and wrote that "the more I reflect on it, the more I appreciate the story and characters at its core."
Christopher Byrd of The Washington Post called The Last of Us Part II "an astonishing achievement — a searing demonstration of how a video game can marry heart-stopping gameplay, gorgeous environmental storytelling and anxiety-inducing moral complexity. [...] The Last of Us Part II is not a game about zombies. It's a meditation on loss — not simply loss of life, but of community, family, and individual capabilities — and the effort it takes to muddle through maddening grief." Andrew Webster of The Verge wrote, "The Last of Us Part II is uncomfortable and exhausting, but that's what makes it great... those dark, disturbing moments are what make The Last of Us Part II so powerful. It's not just a game about violence. It's one that grapples with the impact of that violence and shows players the consequences." The performances of its motion capture cast was praised by The Guardian's Keza MacDonald, who said that much of the game's effectiveness was "the result of some fine acting from The Last of Us Part II's human stars, and the immense technical skill on show in translating those performances to the screen [...] It is rare in games for the moments when you're not playing to be as memorable as those when you are."
Some reviewers found issue with the game's narrative, character development, and its attempts to explore themes of violence and revenge. Maddy Myers of Polygon criticized the game for being "a story about characters who seem unable to learn or grow," comparing it unfavorably to games from the last decade in regards to how it attempts to discuss acts of violence, commenting, "if Naughty Dog makes you feel bad enough, maybe next time you won't do ... the thing the game forces you to do?" Riley MacLeod of Kotaku wrote, "Late one night, I paused the game and asked myself aloud if the developers thought I was stupid, if they thought the existence of violence had just never occurred to me before," and judging it as lesser than that accomplished in its predecessor. Rob Zacny of Vice came away believing that the game had been "poorly served by a Naughty Dog house style that has become less a signature than a straitjacket," in a more negative review that commented on the story's inability to delve into its characters, noting, "nobody ever reconsiders their quest for vengeance. Everyone acts under a kind of vindictive compulsion that goes little remarked and unexamined". Zacny expanded upon this in an article discussing the game's ending, which reveals that Ellie had known and made peace with Joel's "saving" of her in the first game prior to his death, thereby recontextualising her actions in the sequel to "paint her not as a tragic antihero, but as an outright monster", reinforcing that Ellie's fate "could have been avoided with a modicum of introspection or awareness". Moreover, Jeuxvideo.com opined that characters like Jesse and Manny lacked character development which were important to Ellie and Abby respectively but were simply used for advancing the narrative.
Some publications reported that members of the transgender community were dissatisfied with the representation of Lev, a transgender boy. Stacey Henley of VG247 found that criticism focussed on how Lev is sometimes referred to by his dead name and that non-transgender writers created him; she responded to these criticisms by commenting that the deadnaming was done sparingly and that a transgender male actor provides the voice and motion capture of Lev. Though expressing disappointment that it did nothing to break the trend of transgender stories in media being tragedies, she called his portrayal "a major step for trans characters in gaming". Kotaku's Riley MacLeod wrote that while he found aspects of Lev's portrayal realistic and connected with him on a personal level, he also found it difficult to experience Lev's suffering, and felt angered towards what he felt was the game refusing to rise beyond excessive demonstrations of violence from a diversity standpoint. He further saw Lev's character as simply a way of the game acknowledging trans people exist and wrote that it was up to players to create their own meaning from the character. Writing for Paste, Waverly praised the choice to have Lev voiced by a transgender actor and exhibiting his own personality traits, but criticized that too much focus was placed on Lev's identity instead of players coming to fully understand him as a person, and that having his past trauma disclosed by a cisgender character was used in order for cisgender audiences to feel pity towards trans people. Waverly similarly disliked the amount of physical and emotional violence inflicted upon Lev, finding it was yet another example of representing trans characters as suffering from a perpetual cycle of violence.
The game was the subject of review-bombing on Metacritic, resulting in a user review score of 3.4/10 at its nadir. Reporters noticed the review bomb occurred shortly after the game launched and observed that it was too early for these users to feasibly have finished the game by this time; some suggested that users' ratings in this time period were primarily based on the incomplete information contained within the plot leak. Commentators found that many of the negative reviews criticized the characterization and plot. Others noted that a proportion made statements about the perceived "social justice warrior" politics, and observed that some of the more vitriol responses focused on the presence of LGBT characters and diversity within the game. CNET's Daniel Van Boom wrote that despite the vocal proportion of fans making such claims, the review bombers do not represent the majority of players who otherwise have no problem with diversity. Writing in Kotaku, Riley MacLeod noted that Metacritic's opaque system that focuses on scores over review content "fails to take into account the diverse critical opinions of the game" thereby in the case of the game creating a situation that "shows a bunch of meaningless numbers and a lot of rage, very little of which paint any picture of how players are actually finding the game".
The character of Abby was controversial, with some audiences reacting negatively. Feeling these aspects were important enough to sway audience opinion, Kotaku highlighted the game's level of violence and the leaked plot details which were revealed to be accurate, including that the depicted antagonist, Abby, was a playable character for much of the game. They also criticized the game's "misleading" advertising in depicting certain characters' appearances that were different to the finished plot. Writing for Collider, Dave Trumbore felt that the game's story, particularly surrounding the role of Abby, had been unfairly maligned by audiences, writing that many who had expressed their hate towards certain narrative decisions ultimately failed to accept and understand the game's underlying messages and subtext. Some players criticized the muscular physique of Abby, and theories spread online that she was transgender; Polygon's Patricia Hernandez argued that this perception of Abby was a result of the lack of body diversity in games, and that the story showed Abby had the resources to achieve her physique. Actress Laura Baily, who had motion captured Abby, also became the target of online death threats in response to the character.
In another article, Hernandez observed that the discourse surrounding The Last of Us Part II had become adversarial, with "bigots" attacking the game for its diverse cast and Naughty Dog becoming defensive to criticism. In response to his critical Vice review, Sony contacted Rob Zacny on behalf of Naughty Dog to discuss his criticisms, which they disagreed with; Zacny said the discussion, while cordial, was unusual from a large publisher. On Twitter, Druckmann expressed disapproval at journalists mocking a comparison of The Last of Us Part II to the film Schindler's List. After Schreier tweeted "Video games are too long", referring to The Last of Us Part II, Troy Baker responded with a quote from US president Theodore Roosevelt about critics being less valuable than creators. Hernandez concluded that this was "not an environment that is conducive to encouraging honest reviews or critical discussion, which is ultimately a disservice to the game itself". Kat Bailey for US Gamer wrote how the lack of meaningful critical discourse surrounding the game also extended to publications' own reviews of it, noting how Sony's embargo had prohibited them from discussing large portions of its story, and without spoilers such articles failed to become a means of evoking in-depth discussions on the game.
In the UK, Part II became the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 game, outselling previous record-holder Uncharted 4 by at least 1% in physical sales, and outselling the original Last of Us by 76%. In Japan, it was the bestselling game during its first week, selling an estimated 178,696 copies. Neither of these figures include digital sales. In its release weekend, the game sold over 4 million copies worldwide, becoming the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive, beating Marvel's Spider-Man's 3.3 million and God of War's 3.1 million in the same period.
In 2017, The Last of Us Part II was named Most Anticipated Game of the Year by readers of the PlayStation Blog, Most Wanted Game at the Golden Joystick Awards, and Most Anticipated Game at The Game Awards; in 2018, it was awarded Most Anticipated Game at the Gamers' Choice Awards, and nominated for Most Wanted Game at the Golden Joystick Awards. It received Special Commendations for Graphics[b] and Sound at the Game Critics Awards in July 2018.
|November 17, 2017||Golden Joystick Awards||Most Wanted Game||Won|||
|December 7, 2017||The Game Awards||Most Anticipated Game||Won|||
|July 2, 2018||Game Critics Awards||Special Commendation for Graphics||Won[b]|||
|Special Commendation for Sound||Won|||
|November 16, 2018||Golden Joystick Awards||Most Wanted Game||Nominated|||
It's been almost a year since we announced The Last of Us Part II. It's been hard being quiet for so long. If you know, in the meantime, we put out a little game called Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. And with that finally out there and people playing it and enjoying it, the entire studio is now on The Last of Us Part II. We're in full production.
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "Game Delayed to May" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "May Story Trailer 2" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "Delay Indef 3" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "Plot Leak 2" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "June release date 1" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "Plot Leak Schreier 2" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Article The Last of Us Part II in English Wikipedia took following places in local popularity ranking:
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2020-07-05 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=52464953