Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is a singular gaming experience. On the one hand, the mechanics are exactly the same as their wildly popular Uncharted action-adventure series; on the other, it’s about spending lots and lots of time with characters you grow to love in a world without hope. It’s one of the most emotional games you could hope to play. How, then, could the developer dream of replicating its success? Especially now that six years have passed and we’re a whole game generation ahead? For years, we’ve hoped The Last of Us Part II would be worth the wait.
And now we have our first real taste. Following gameplay footage from 2018’s E3, we now have our first full length trailer for the game. Some of the things we know already: the player character is Ellie this time out, an older but still spirited young woman who knows how to survive. What we didn’t know is whether Joel, our main character from the first game, would feature at all. The trailer answers that question.
There’s Joel! Looking somehow more grizzled than before. Ellie’s gonna need Joel’s help on her journey. At the end of the last game, Joel and Ellie return to the compound in Colorado, and it seems they’ve stayed. Ellie has a burgeoning romance with another young woman and things seem okay. But tragedy falls and Ellie looks for revenge. As when The Last of Us was at its best, the Cordyceps fungus might have caused an outbreak of zombie-like humans, but it’s the surviving humans that are the real threat. Savagery and swiftness keep you alive. It looks from the trailer that while the clickers remain an ever-present threat, they aren’t the mission.
The Last of Us Part II director Neil Druckman—who also directed part one—issued a lengthy statement to accompany the trailer. He starts:
Even though we’ve been eager to share more about The Last of Us Part II and tell you its release date, we wanted to wait until we were close to wrapping up production and we were confident in the date itself. We have a bunch of new stuff to share with you today… starting with the fact that on February 21, 2020 the Last of Us Part II can finally be in your hands.
So there we have our release date! February 21, 2020. A scant six months from now, we’ll be able to play the game and get back into the harrowing world. Druckman also explained the various editions of the game players can buy. Beyond the Standard Edition, the Collectors Edition and Ellie Edition each offer quite a few bells and whistles, both of the memorabilia variety and the in-game variety. There’s also a Deluxe Digital Edition for those who don’t like physical media. You can read the full breakdown of those packages here.
Ultimately, The Last of Us Part II needs to have the emotional heft and visceral tension of the first part. This is something Druckman knows all too well. He said, “It’s a highly emotional story with complex themes that befit the world of The Last of Us. What we realized pretty early on is that we were putting together Naughty Dog’s most ambitious and longest game in our 35 year history.”
Even though we won’t be able to play for awhile, our own Dan Casey was among a group of journalists who got to play three hours of the game. You can see and read his thoughts this Thursday, September 26. Until then, keep crafting.
Featured Image: Naughty Dog/Sony