Without a doubt one of the biggest surprises in the games industry in 2011 was the announcement at the Spike VGA's that Naughty Dog, who had just released the stunning Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception had formed a second team who were working on an all-new game and IP called The Last of Us. Developed by a team of around 80 people the first trailer for this game was nothing short of stunning with the game shooting to the top of many most wanted lists. That was before we knew much about the game, and now, a couple of months later, we know a little more, and the anticipation continues to build.
Naughty Dog's The Last of Us is visually stunning.
Admittedly we still don't know too much about the storyline in this game other than the games two main characters - 14 year-old Ellie and the older male Joel, a weapons and drugs smuggler, are trying to survive a pre-apocalyptic world in which, 20 years earlier, a fungus has mutated and wiped out much of the human population. Survivors are mutated creatures while non-infected humans struggle to survive. In fact, Joel has been tasked with escorting Ellie from a military quarantine zone as a favour for a dying friend.
Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells has stated the following about the game...
Joel saves Ellie from an attacker!
The Last of Us is a genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements to tell a character driven tale about a modern plague decimating mankind. Nature encroaches upon civilization, forcing remaining survivors to kill for food, weapons and whatever they can find. Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States.
What we do know about the game is that some sections will be based in Pittsburgh, weapons will degrade over time which leads to the need to scavenge for parts during the game, melee combat will be possible and that you will control Joel while Ellie remains AI controlled - so we're guessing no co-op mode in the main campaign perhaps? Naughty Dog have, though, confirmed that the game will have online components although details haven't been revealed as yet.
Character modeling in The Last of Us is superb.
Visually we expect this game to be nothing short of spectacular, and you can see from the surrounding screenshots just how stunning this game looks - and we're still at least 9 months from release! There's a lot we don't know about this game on a technical level, but it has been confirmed the game uses the same engine, albeit with optimisations we assume, as the Uncharted titles. Given that's the case then it's highly likely that the game will support 3DTV's. Naughty Dog have also mentioned the they are paying particular attention to faction animation so the characters in the game convey more emotion from the facial gestures and looks then their Uncharted titles.
Despite claims of an early 2013 release the game was later pushed back to a June 2013 release date. Given Naughty Dog's history we're quite happy for them to take as much time as required to make this new IP as gripping and exciting as we expect from the company and from everything we've seen they look likely to hit the mark.
Below is a Red Band trailer for the game released by Sony in April 2013. It's damn impressive so make sure you check it out.