5 things we know about The Last Of Us: Part II

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The surprise sequel that everyone is desperate to play

1. All grown up

Surviving on the collapse of civilisation takes its toll on the mind. Joel and Ellie went through hell in The Last Of Us, its damning conclusion still haunting the minds of gamers to this day. Its effect seems to have had a similar impact on the two protagonists, the pair swept up in another adventure defined by violence and attrition. Ellie is taking a central role this time out as the lead character, though it is set a number of years into the future – she is 19 years old now, her youthful exuberance burned away with an all-consuming hatred.

2. Love & hatred

The announcement trailer highlighted a world that has somehow transcended to a bleaker plane of existence. If there is any salvation – any hope – to be found in it, it doesn’t look as if Ellie is searching for it. Her hands calloused and cut, blood trickles down her cheek as she peers over a fresh corpse. her sombre rendition of Shawn James’s Through The Valley creating a miasma of tension and sorrow. If the first game was about trust and the relationship Joel and Ellie built together, The last Of Us: Part II is about hatred. 

3. New Tech

Naughty Dog hasn’t confirmed what game engine it will be using for the follow up, though it has revealed that it is using brand new mocap technology to capture the nuance in Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Troy Baker’s (Joel) body and facial movements. The intricate detail – the crinkles on the brow, the subtle movements of the eyes and cheeks – on Ellie in this reveal trailer were incredible, pushing past uncanny valley and into a new territory entirely. Expect something special when this finally launches.

4. Don’t worry

There has been a lot of concern from the community that, by continuing Joel and Ellie’s story, the poignancy of The Last Of Us’s ending would be somehow diminished. Creative director Neil Druckmann has acknowledged these fears, assuring us that Naughty Dog has it in hand. He noted that the team had played with other characters in the same universe but it never felt right. The Last Of Us: Part II is a complementary story, then, with Druckmann simply asking: “that fans of the first one put faith in us”.

5. Some ways away

The Last Of Us: Part II is now in active development. We know that two-time Academy Award-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla will be returning to score the game, while it will be co-written by Westworld writer Halley Gross and returning game director Neil Druckmann – though it is understood that Bruce Straley (who co-directed the original) will not be returning. What we do not know is exactly when it is coming out. It will likely dominate the conversation through 2017 though.

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