The Last Of Us: 2012/2013, Is Third Person

Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us, a game the studio managed to keep quiet for far longer than any previous Sony title we can think of, is causing a bit of a stir just now.

Stemming from a BBC documentary about the Cordyceps fungus, the game follows two protagonists – Joel and his teenage companion, Ellie, but until now we’ve not had much to really go on in terms of plot and game mechanics.

[drop2]If you’re looking for a quick recap, we’ve covered the trailer in detail here – read that link if you’re new to the game, and then head here for news on the game’s musical score.

The majority of the new information comes from a press day organised by Sony, which happened in Santa Monica yesterday.  It looks like the game is aiming for a ‘late 2012/early 2013’ release, pegging the title at around twelve months away from being with us.

That’s a long time to build some hype.

If you want to remain completely spoiler-free, look away now.  Whilst the full storyline will obviously remain under wraps just now, it’s now evident that Joel is the lead character, and doesn’t know Ellie until the game starts.  Game director Neil Druckmann cites Joel as “a vicious survivor” and says Ellie is “his one chance at redemption.”

“That kind of arc has always been intriguing,” he added.

“This is going to sound corny and it might not appeal to gamers, but I would say it’s a love story. It’s not a romantic love story, it’s a love story about a father-daughter-like relationship.”

The game was born back in 2008, when Druckmann was toying with an idea for a father and daughter graphic novel based on zombies.  He saw the now infamous BBC documentary that featured ants and the cordyceps fungus (hence all the pre-VGAs teasing) and the whole thing ran from there.

[drop]The documentary showed the fungus infecting the ants, and produced growths from their heads.  “We instantly thought ‘humans,’ ” said director Bruce Straley.

“It would be a cool realistic backsetting to a zombie movie where this thing jumped species,” Druckmann said.

At the same time, co-presidents at Naughty Dog – Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra – were considering splitting the team up into two so the studio could work on two products at the same time.

Half went onto Uncharted 3, the other half (an 80-strong team) onto The Last Of Us.

USA Today also confirmed the game’s viewpoint, saying it “has a third-person perspective” and, excitingly, quoting Balestra as saying they “want to redefine what our medium is even called.”

“‘Video game’ is not an accurate name anymore,” he said. “It is not necessarily a game with rules and a winner and a loser. It’s an experience.”

But don’t expect too much variation from the way Uncharted 3 plays out.  “As a gamer it’s all about strategy and giving the player enough tools in their toolkit so that they can come upon something and choose,” says Staley, “and have the consequences play out within their choices.”

“We’re telling it the way we’ve been developing this method at Naughty Dog,” said Druckmann.

Via USA Today, EG.

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34 Comments

  1. Hmm, not a standard “running around shooting zombies” type affair then? This game just got interesting for me…

  2. Will probably give this a miss. Zombies have been done far too many times already, regardless of who is putting this game together

    • but there arent any zombies in the game..

    • where are the zombies?

      • what should we call the,? the infected?

      • Mutants.

      • Well whatever you want to call them, (lets go with super-natural enemies for arguements sake), my shelf is already filled with games where I shoot super-natural enemies in the face so no more games of this type are currently welcome lol.

      • all things are repeats look at all the war games films are repeats to not play a game because it has creatures in it is a bit harsh.

  3. Sounds great in my opinion. Games like this really need a good story to why the outbreak started and it needs emotion. Which hopefully the story of these two characters will bring :)

    • Really does was really hoping/expecting third person so I’m happy.

      Also, that’s what you’ve been doing, Bruce! Also number 2 – 80 people?! Naughty Dog huge now

  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWzcYbtZQrk
    oh yes please be this good

  5. Am quietly looking forward to this… everything Im hearing I like…

  6. Awesome i remember watching the BBC documenty on this parasitic fungus – it very interesting in the way its shows how even species of plants can evolve to have ways of surviving. Even if that way is horrific and painful for its host :)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Cordyceps

    But it’s cool to see a Developer a species that actual exists and then having it jump species to createa form of zombie game – instead of jump going with some new unknown species of virus that just magical appears or was created by humans .

    • There are a bunch of different known methods to zombify an insect. It’s quite fascinating and scary at the same time. I read about one parasite who infects certain caterpillars and makes them climb the top of the tree that they are on. It then eats away at the caterpillar until it’s completely liquid inside and then explodes and tries to infect more caterpillars that way. It baffles me how something can take control over an insect and force it to follow a certain behaviour (climb up the tree and await death).
      It’s certainly an interesting topic to build a game around.

      • there’s a species of wasp that lays eggs on a spider and somehow make the spider spin a sort of cocoon for the babies, and the babies then eat the spider.

        quite gruesome actually.

    • It’s an interesting idea, like that film ‘The Happening’. Not a great film but the idea is quite a scarily believable one. After all, human behaviour is just chemical impulses and if those could be messed about with in the right way, it’s possible we’d just start walking off buildings or into traffic.

  7. Drip, drip, drip, drip.

    Do you think we can expect daily updates now until it releases?

  8. There is no way this game can turn out terrible.

    Created by a well known developer, accompanied by a good cast of voice actors/musicians and with a long length of time to finish working on it.

    though despite how good it could be if it comes out in 2013, i think most people will go insane just waiting to play it (see: Final Fantasy Versus)

  9. “‘Video game’ is not an accurate name anymore,” he said. “It is not necessarily a game with rules and a winner and a loser. It’s an experience.”

    Anyone who says things like this worries me a little bit. I don’t know why, there’s just something with it that doesn’t sit well with me.

    • I see your point there. It asks the question is this game doing a Heavy Rain. Either way will be good to find out :)

    • Agreed. There are only a small handful of games that I would consider have a decent narrative and even those pale in comparison to a decent movie/book. Games should always focus on decent game play and an overall ‘fun’ factor first, something that a lot of titles don’t bother with anymore.

    • “Video game” does sound a little restricted when you look at the majority of titles out there. For me, the Uncharted franchise finally bridges the gap between video gaming and Hollywood blockbusters. Sure, it’s still early days with such ambition but I love that they’re happy recognising where many “gamers” see what they’re now achieving. Good for them. Be more than the generic dross that occupies shelf after shelf.

      Don’t be (what most of us perceive to be) a game. Be an interactive experience that delights millions around the world and acts as a catalyst for others in the industry.

  10. Liking the fact Naughty Dog are behind it. If anything they are a safe bet with third person games *Uncharted reference here*.

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