Coronavirus won’t stop ‘The Last of Us Part 2’ after all. Did a leak get the game a June release?
“The Last of Us Part 2,” a game in which a deadly virus has destroyed humanity, is coming this summer after all. Sony unveiled this morning that the PlayStation 4, game, one of the most anticipated of 2020, would release on June 19.
As release dates on major films continue to be pushed due to the closure of cinemas around the globe, the video game industry has been able to carry on with less publicly pronounced effects. Games, after all, are already geared to a stay-at-home lifestyle, and more appear to be wakening to the medium’s inherent social nature, as evidenced by the ways in which “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has become a gathering space and last week’s use of “Fortnite” by hip-hop superstar Travis Scott to release a new single.
Sony’s announcement regarding “The Last of Us Part 2” comes after the game purportedly leaked on YouTube. Not surprisingly, heated arguments about what may or may not be the game’s twists have erupted online.
Better VR headsets and experiences that respond to you are reasons to isolate inside virtual reality when COVID-19 is the reality outside your door.
Santa Monica-based Naughty Dog published a statement Monday expressing dismay at the leak.
“We know the last few days have been incredibly difficult for you,” read the statement, attributed to the studio. “We feel the same. It’s disappointing to see the release and sharing of pre-release footage from development. Do your best to avoid spoilers and we ask that you don’t spoil it for others.”
The footage has been dissected across social media and video game forums, some of it showing pivotal narrative scenes with implied outcomes for key characters. The studio urged fans to see everything in context of the full game before passing judgment.
“’The Last of Us Part 2’ will be in your hands soon,” continued the statement. “No matter what you see and hear, the final experience will be worth it.”
The game, a tweak on the zombie formula, was originally due May 29, which itself was a push from its original Feb. 21 release. In April, Santa Monica-based game developer Naughty Dog said “The Last of Us Part 2” was nearly complete and cited “the global crisis” related to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Logistically,” wrote the game publisher in a tweet, “the global crisis is preventing us from providing the launch experience our players deserve.”
Sony at the time suggested no potential release date, saying only that the game, a sequel to one of the industry’s most popular titles, would be delayed “until further notice.”
Today, however, Sony also announced that its upcoming action-adventure “Ghost of Tsushima,” a game set in feudal Japan, would release July 17. The samurai game had initially been set for June 26. “Iron Man VR,” due in May and also postponed, was not given an updated release date today.
“The Last of Us Part 2” is one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2020. The original game, released in 2013, has been said by Sony to have topped 17 million copies sold. It was recently announced that a series based upon the game was in development for HBO.
Ellie takes the lead in “The Last of Us” sequel, fighting zombies and her own feelings for Dina. And there’s a twist to your test over whether to kill those dogs.
The sequel focuses on the character Ellie, who in the first game spent her childhood and early teen years surviving the zombie-like apocalypse. Now 19, Ellie is protecting a Wyoming encampment from infected humans and dealing with emotional turmoil she’s suffered.
“We all have those moments where our mind tips in this very primitive, probably prehistoric way in which we survive,” said the game’s director, Neil Druckmann, in an interview with The Times shortly after extended scenes were previewed for the press in September. “It felt like we could make a game that explores the different facets of what that means.”
Druckmann worked closely with writer and actress Halley Gross, who was previously a story editor and writer for HBO’s “Westworld.”
Gross said “The Last of Us Part 2” provided her an opportunity to go deep on the lasting effects of trauma, especially as it pertains to a young woman.
“It is this hostile environment; it is this place where there are no rules,” she said. “When you have to fight for your life every day, and you can’t go to therapy and you can’t get help, how do you deal with that and how does that corrupt you? Or save you?”
Games are a playground, a place to see what happens when we do what we aren’t told, and a world in which failure is embraced — welcomed, even — as a way to learn. Why play matters in times of stress.
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