The Last of Us Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com The Last of Us RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The Last of Us Part 1 Review: The Last Time for the Third Time https://www.gameskinny.com/4ysv5/the-last-of-us-part-1-review-the-last-time-for-the-third-time https://www.gameskinny.com/4ysv5/the-last-of-us-part-1-review-the-last-time-for-the-third-time Wed, 31 Aug 2022 11:01:14 -0400 Justin Koreis

The Last of Us is considered by many to be a modern masterpiece of storytelling in video games. It garnered widespread acclaim when it was released in 2013 and was a significant early title in establishing Sony's lineup of prestige first-party titles.

After playing through its remake in The Last of Us Part 1, I'm left with one unanswered question: Why does this version of the game exist?

The Last of Us Part 1 Review: The Last time for the Third Time

Developer Naughty Dog bills The Last of Us Part 1 (TLoU Part 1) as a remake, not a remaster. That version released in 2014. The graphics here are fully rebuilt, while the gameplay and story are true to the original. On paper, it's a winning concept. Who doesn't want to revisit a near-consensus masterpiece in the best possible way?

The graphical enhancements touted by Naughty Dog aren't just lip service. TLoU Part 1 is stunning; it's one of the best-looking console games I've ever seen. The character models are incredibly lifelike, which brings the already-excellent performances to life. The new lighting system casts detailed shadows, and the chromatic effect of rainbows at the center of a flashlight beam looks authentic. 

That said, some drawbacks come with that new graphical fidelity. Everyday objects that form crafting components blend too well with their surroundings, making them a chore to locate. There's no telling which desk drawers can be opened and searched, so keeping stocked supplies often involves combing the perimeter of every object in the room. 

Areas that were dark and atmospheric in the original are pitch black in this version, save for the area illuminated by the flashlight. Basic navigation is a chore more than before. These aesthetic tweaks make TLoU Part 1 look amazing but harder to play.

The story is as great as ever, every bit as poignant, exhilarating, and painful as before. The natural range of emotion and expression in Joel, Ellie, and the extended cast has lost none of its power and is as masterfully executed today as in 2013. It doesn't deviate in any way — which is fine — but perhaps TLoU Part 1 is a missed opportunity to add additional depth or recontextualize things like Final Fantasy 7 Remake did. 

What hasn't aged as well is the actual gameplay. Unlike Resident Evil Remake or Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the way TLoU Part 1 plays hasn't been adjusted — and that's a problem. What was once passable stealth gameplay wrapped in subpar shooting mechanics becomes bad stealth gameplay wrapped in awful shooting by today's standards. 

Take the simple act of sneaking around human enemies as an example. You can dispatch enemies silently, but there's no way to move or hide the bodies. Joel just leaves them in the middle of the floor for anyone to stumble across. If you are spotted, everyone in the area immediately knows where you are, as if they have a hive mind — even if you eliminate the enemy that discovered you before they make a sound or raise the alarm.

The shooting, meanwhile, is slow, clunky, and wildly imprecise. That could make the game difficult if the enemy AI wasn't atrocious. Often, the fastest way to get from one area to the next is to hold a doorway and shoot the enemies as they file in one at a time, joining the growing pile of bodies at your feet. Mix in some Quick Time Events, and TLoU Part 1 plays like a mediocre game from the mid-2000s. 

That's not to say all the improvements made to TLoU Part 1 are purely superficial. The brilliant suite of accessibility features that debuted in The Last of Us Part 2 have been brought over here. This, even more so than the improved visual quality, is TLoU Part 1's greatest achievement.

There are deeply customizable alternate controls, visual aids, and many different options to help with some of the different ways people process visual information. You can skip puzzles, tweak combat, and enable cinematic descriptions. There's a care and thoughtfulness to it all that is readily apparent, and it's the sort of feature-set that every game should endeavor to emulate and improve upon.

That doesn't mean TLoU Part 1 dials down the violence and somber atmosphere. It's still a mature title, with frightening monsters and a bleak world. The Clickers and Bloaters are more terrifying than ever, especially in 4K resolution with HDR and some great headphones. I've played this game multiple times in its various iterations, and I still took additional breaks to keep my stress levels from boiling over. The shifts between the action, story, and horror segments are well-spaced, with the right amount of time between sequences to keep things fresh. 

That's what puzzles me the most about this remake. The pacing is great because the pacing was always great. The story and characters are incredible because they were always incredible. These things didn't get better because they didn't need to. The good things about the original Last of Us are still good. The issue is that the things that weren't good still aren't. So why does this game exist?

The enhanced graphics are nice, but it's not as though The Last of Us was ever bad-looking. The original also received a remaster a year after it launched, which still holds up. The graphics didn't need to improve, but they did. The gameplay did need to improve and didn't. When I reached the end of my playthrough of TLoU Part 1 and watched the credits roll, all I could think of was why I would play this if not for review — and I couldn't come up with a good reason.

The Last of Us Part 1 Review — The Bottom Line

 

Pros

  • All-time great storytelling is still great.
  • Gorgeous new graphics.
  • Outstanding new accessibility options.

Cons

  • No updates to gameplay or mechanics.
  • Awful shooting and poor stealth.
  • New lighting and textures negatively affect gameplay.

The 2013 release of The Last of Us was highly influential. The brilliantly-written-and-performed story is as good as ever in The Last of Us Part 1, and the introduction of dozens of new accessibility features should be celebrated and emulated. The visual quality is staggering, bringing the emotional highs and lows of The Last of Us to the fore more than ever. 

Unfortunately, the gameplay that was passable in 2013 isn't good by today's standards. Calling a game that hasn't improved on a fundamental level a "remake" is a stretch. TLoU Part 1 is for super fans of the series or those who missed the first two versions, especially for accessibility reasons. For everyone else, it's hard to recommend spending the 15 or so hours it takes to play through The Last of Us yet again. 

[Note: Sony Interactive Entertainment provided the copy of The Last of Us Part 1 used for this review.]

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The Last of Us Remake is Heading to PS5 in September https://www.gameskinny.com/39mnb/the-last-of-us-remake-is-heading-to-ps5-in-september https://www.gameskinny.com/39mnb/the-last-of-us-remake-is-heading-to-ps5-in-september Fri, 10 Jun 2022 18:10:45 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Sony and Naughty Dog have announced that The Last of Us is getting the remake treatment. Called The Last of Us Part I, the game is being rebuilt from the ground up (Sony says it's a "complete" remake) for PlayStation 5. It's set to release on September 2, 2022, with the PC version still in development. A trailer for the remake can be seen above.

As expected, The Last of Us Part I will take full advantage of the PS5's capabilities, implementing fast loading times, haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and 3D audio. Naughty Dog has taken the opportunity to bring The Last of Us up to modern standards, the developer says in a PlayStation Blog post regarding the upcoming release

Rochelle Snyder, Sr. Manager of Communications at Naughty Dog said, "We’ve implemented modernized gameplay, improved controls, and expanded accessibility options in this single-player experience to allow even more individuals to enjoy the game. Effects, exploration, and combat have all been enhanced."

The PlayStation Blog posted also three comparison sliders showing the graphical differences between The Last of Us Part I and The Last of Us Remastered, the latter of which was released for the PS4 back in 2014. You can see those below. 

So far, Sony hasn't shared many more details on what can be expected from The Last of Us Part I when it comes to combat, traversal, or accessibility options, though it's safe to guess that like the improved graphics, they run more in line with The Last of Us Part 2

According to the PlayStation Blog, The Last of Us Part I is currently available for pre-order across three editions. Those who pre-order will also get supplements and weapons parts packs. 

  • The Standard Edition includes the base game for $69.99.
  • The Digital Deluxe Edition includes the base game alongside a number of skills, upgrades, skins, and other goodies for $79.99.
  • The Firefly Edition includes the base game, everything in the Digital Deluxe Edition, a steelbook case, and The Last of Us: American Dreams comic 1-4 for $99.99. 
    • The Firefly Edition is only available through PlayStation.com in the United States, though it's already out of stock as of June 10, 2022.

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The Last of Us 2 PS5 Patch Adds Boosted Framerate Target https://www.gameskinny.com/jm70t/the-last-of-us-2-ps5-patch-adds-boosted-framerate-target https://www.gameskinny.com/jm70t/the-last-of-us-2-ps5-patch-adds-boosted-framerate-target Wed, 19 May 2021 12:42:22 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The Last of Us 2 PS5 patch is live now, Naughty Dog announced in a new PlayStation Blog post.

It adds a new framerate target of 60fps, but you'll need the game installed on your PS5 for it to work. The TLOU 2 PS5 patch won't work if you've got it installed on an external hard drive and, obviously, won't work if it's on your PS4.

The patch adds a new option under the game's display menu, where you can choose to target 30fps or target 60fps. This is in addition to the already available improvements on PS5, including the usual faster load times and such.

As of now, that's all Naughty Dog is doing for The Last of Us 2 on PS5 and with PS5 in general, but the blog post closes with a tease of more Naughty Dog PS5 games to come.

It reads: 

The team has been digging into the PS5 hardware and the possibilities it unlocks since launch last year and we’re excited about what the future holds. This patch is just the first step of working on the PS5. We’ll let you know when we’ve got more news to share!

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

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The Last of Us 3 Could Be Happening, But Not Anytime Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/q30yu/the-last-of-us-3-could-be-happening-but-not-anytime-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/q30yu/the-last-of-us-3-could-be-happening-but-not-anytime-soon Wed, 28 Apr 2021 16:48:06 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The Last of Us 3 is in the works — sort of. Speaking on the Script Apart podcast, series creator and Naughty Dog Co-President Neil Druckmann said he and The Last of Us 2 writer Halley Gross wrote a narrative outline exploring the events that directly follow TLoU 2's ending. However, there's no game in development just yet.

In fact, it's not even certain there will be a Last of Us 3. Druckmann said he hopes it can "one day can see the light of day. We'll see."

It seems there are quite a few strings attached to a potential third Last of Us game. Druckmann also mentioned the team would have to work out how the game could stay within the framework the first two developed. 

He said:

With one game, there's no pattern of what a franchise is. With two games, now there's starting to be a pattern  now I feel like there are some structural and thematic themes you would have to stick to if you were making a third game.

Of course, Naughty Dog has other games they want to make as well. Rumors from Bloomberg suggest they have the freedom to do it too, with other studios brought in to work on remastering older Naughty Dog games to free up resources for Druckmann's team.

With The Last of Us HBO show in the works, though, we'd be surprised if this was the last we saw of The Last of Us.

[Source: IGN]

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Naughty Dog Reportedly Developing The Last of Us Remake https://www.gameskinny.com/2dun2/naughty-dog-reportedly-developing-the-last-of-us-remake https://www.gameskinny.com/2dun2/naughty-dog-reportedly-developing-the-last-of-us-remake Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:12:37 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Naughty Dog might be developing a The Last of Us remake, Jason Schreier said in a new report from Bloomberg. The project is part of an initiative to package The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2 together for PlayStation 5, the report said.

Specifics are unclear, and neither Sony or Naughty Dog have commented on The Last of Us remake. 

The report is situated amid a bigger story from Schreier about the possible remake's development cycle. Sony contracted the Visual Arts Service Group studio to develop the project. The plan was initially remaking the original Uncharted, though Sony believed it would be too expensive. 

Then, Sony moved the Visual Arts team onto Naughty Dog to work on The Last of Us 2's visuals following its 2019 delay. Sony passed leadership on The Last of Us remake to Naughty Dog in the process, who is still heading up the project now, Schreier said. The report also said Sony might consider moving ahead with the Uncharted remaster depending on how this project goes.

If The Last of Us remake is happening, it would coincide with The Last of Us HBO show as well. Neil Druckmann confirmed the show wouldn't follow the game to the letter, and it's possible the TLOU remake could follow the show more than the original game.

[Source: Bloomberg]

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HBO's The Last of Us Casts Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal as Ellie and Joel https://www.gameskinny.com/bhp6e/hbos-the-last-of-us-casts-bella-ramsey-pedro-pascal-as-ellie-and-joel https://www.gameskinny.com/bhp6e/hbos-the-last-of-us-casts-bella-ramsey-pedro-pascal-as-ellie-and-joel Thu, 11 Feb 2021 12:32:17 -0500 Josh Broadwell

The Last of Us HBO series has cast its two lead roles. Game of Thrones' Bella Ramsey will star as Ellie Williams in The Last of Us, while The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal will portray Joel Miller. 

The announcements come from two separate exclusive reports — The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, respectively — which series creator Neil Druckmann quickly confirmed on social media.

Prior to The Hollywood Reporter's scoop, unconfirmed reports tapped Moonlight's Mahershala Ali as Joel. The Reporter said Ali was in talks for "a role," but nothing came of it.

The Last of Us casting news comes shortly after HBO and Naughty Dog confirmed Kantemir Balagov as the pilot episode's director.

A number of supporting roles remain unconfirmed for now, including Marlene, Tess, and Joel's brother Tommy. As yet, there's no set air date for The Last of Us' pilot episode.

While it's unclear how the HBO series will adapt Naughty Dog's record-breaking games, there is some indication Druckmann and co-writer Craig Mazin plan to include Ellie's full story and not just events from the first game. They delayed casting and filming in 2020 until The Last of Us 2 released to better align the narrative with what takes place in Seattle.

[Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline]

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'Beanpole' Director Kantemir Balagov Joins HBO's The Last of Us https://www.gameskinny.com/u3t5z/beanpole-director-kantemir-balagov-joins-hbos-the-last-of-us https://www.gameskinny.com/u3t5z/beanpole-director-kantemir-balagov-joins-hbos-the-last-of-us Mon, 18 Jan 2021 15:01:32 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Kantemir Bagalov, the award-winning Beanpole director, has joined Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl writer Craig Mazin to bring the The Last of Us adaptation to life for PlayStation Productions and HBO. Bagalov will "direct the pilot," according to an exclusive report from the Hollywood Reporter. 

The news comes soon after HBO officially greenlit the series.

Johan Renck (Chernobyl, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead) was originally tapped to direct the series, though dropped out after scheduling conflicts arose. Balagov is no stranger to dramatic, moody pieces, two descriptors that certainly fit The Last of Us.

The first part in Naughty Dog's acclaimed action drama follows bereaved father Joel Miller and plucky orphan Ellie as they trek across a United States destroyed by the cordyceps fungus and wracked with deadly factionalism.

Plenty of tense fighting punctuates the game version of Ellie and Joel's journey, and there's no word yet how the series might translate that into cinematics or what additions the story might see. Given filming was originally delayed until The Last of Us 2 released, it's safe to say we'll likely see some changes that help align the original story more closely with its sequel.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

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It Wasn't for Nothing: The Last of Us HBO Series Gets the Greenlight https://www.gameskinny.com/k7pep/it-wasnt-for-nothing-the-last-of-us-hbo-series-gets-the-greenlight https://www.gameskinny.com/k7pep/it-wasnt-for-nothing-the-last-of-us-hbo-series-gets-the-greenlight Fri, 20 Nov 2020 14:57:08 -0500 Josh Broadwell

The Last of Us HBO adaptation is finally entering production almost a year after it was announced. The Hollywood Reporter said HBO green-lit the series following a slight delay earlier in the year, while the script was adjusted to accommodate The Last of Us Part 2.

Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) is co-writing the show with The Last of Us creator and director Neil Druckmann. Druckmann is also acting as executive producer along with Carolyn Strauss (Chernobyl, Game of Thrones). The series is a joint effort between HBO and PlayStation Productions.

HBO Programming Executive Vice President Francesca Orsi said:

Craig and Neil are visionaries in a league of their own. With them at the helm alongside the incomparable Carolyn Strauss, this series is sure to resonate with both die-hard fans of The Last of Us games and newcomers to this genre-defining saga.

Johan Renck (Chernobyl) will direct the show's pilot episode.

It's still early days in The Last of Us HBO series' production, so naturally, plot details are scarce. However, former SIE Worldwide head Shawn Layden said PlayStation Productions focuses on more than re-telling the same story from the games.

While the story will still follow Joel and Ellie's cross-country trek, there's plenty of room for additional story material, including threads connected to The Last of Us Part 2. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us series news as it develops.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

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Naughty Dog Says There are "No Plans" for The Last of Us 2 DLC https://www.gameskinny.com/t59n5/naughty-dog-says-there-are-no-plans-for-the-last-of-us-2-dlc https://www.gameskinny.com/t59n5/naughty-dog-says-there-are-no-plans-for-the-last-of-us-2-dlc Mon, 29 Jun 2020 14:03:55 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Naughty Dog's The Last of Us 2 isn't even two weeks old, but fans are already wondering if we can expect The Last of Us 2 DLC of some kind in the future. According to Naughty Dog Creative Director, Neil Druckmann, though, that's probably not going to happen.

Druckmann made his comments during a recent episode of the Kinda Funny podcast. When asked whether there's any word on The Last of Us 2 DLC, he said there are "no plans" for additional story content at this time.

Of course, that's akin to saying "we have nothing to announce," so there's always a chance we might see some sort of story add-on down the road.

The more likely scenario is that we'd see The Last of Us 2 DLC bring in some kind of extra mode, though. Druckmann said Naughty Dog is still working on that side content rumored to be the scope and breadth of a standalone title.

Will we get a The Last of Us 2 factions spin-off game, pitting the gut-ripping Scars and head-smashing WLF together in multiplayer combat (please no)? Maybe. But the possibility still exists this new mode could be something completely unrelated to the series as well.

Whatever the case may be, Naughty Dog probably won't announce anything for a while yet.

You can check out the full Kinda Funny episode on YouTube if you're interested, and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us 2 news and updates. If you're just getting started on your Seattle journey, make sure to check out our The Last of Us 2 guides to smooth out your road to vengeance, and head over to our review of TLoU2 to see what we thought of the game.

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The Last of Us 2 Barko's Pet Store Key Location https://www.gameskinny.com/7rq7m/the-last-of-us-2-barkos-pet-store-key-location https://www.gameskinny.com/7rq7m/the-last-of-us-2-barkos-pet-store-key-location Fri, 19 Jun 2020 17:45:19 -0400 Ethan Anderson

Downtown Seattle is the first major open area in The Last of Us 2, where you're allowed to just roam free and explore. There are a number of secrets to discover, including a new shotgun, tons of supplies, and a missable item that you'll need the Barko's key to get to.

Gaining access to Barko's Pet Store is pretty simple, but you'll have to enter a different building to get the key. Follow the guide below to find out exactly where to go.

Where to Find the Barko's Pet Store Key

Barko's Key Location

A map of Downtown Seattle in The Last of Us 2 showing Barko's Pet Store Key location.

Before you can enter Barko's Pet Store, you'll have to make your way to the Ruston Coffee shop at the north end of the downtown Seattle map. It's located at the intersection of Spring Street and 5th Ave.

The doors to the coffee shop are locked, so you'll have to smash the windows with a bottle, brick, or melee weapon to climb in. Once inside, head to the back of the building and into the restrooms.

There's an infected waiting for you in one of the stalls, so be ready for a bit of a jump scare. It's not a Clicker, so there's no need to worry too much. After the infected is dealt with, you can grab the key at the back of the room.

How to Get the Long Gun Holster

The long gun holster in Barko's Pet Store TLoU2.

After you've grabbed Barko's key, you can finally return to the pet store to claim the long gun holster inside. There's a bunch of supplies in this makeshift hideout, but the holster can be found in the back room on a desk.

The holster looks like a small leather belt. There's a bright yellow icon above it, so it's honestly hard to miss at this point.

The long gun holster allows you to quickly swap between long weapons like shotguns and rifles without having to hold down the square button. You'll be able to hit left on the d-pad twice to swap weapons in no time at all. Also, quick swapping with "R1" will now cycle through three weapons instead of just two.

Related Content

That's everything you need to know about where to find the Barko's Pet Store key in The Last of Us 2 for the long gun holster. There'll be plenty of opportunities for you to put your new holster to good use. For more on The Last of Us 2, be sure to check the link above (as well as the one at the top of this guide), or head over to our TLoU2 guides page

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Twitch's Second Annual Summer of Pride Has Kicked Off https://www.gameskinny.com/mvjff/twitchs-second-annual-summer-of-pride-has-kicked-off https://www.gameskinny.com/mvjff/twitchs-second-annual-summer-of-pride-has-kicked-off Wed, 03 Jun 2020 08:52:59 -0400 Daniel Hollis

Summer of Pride has officially started with Nintendo, Valve, and Twitch taking part in the celebrations. The month-long event celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and its diversity within the medium of gaming. Summer of Pride began with Twitch streams dedicated to the festivities.

Over 70 streamers are involved in the celebration, including personalities such as Biqtch Puddin, who is most famously known as the winner of Netflix's The Boulet Brothers' DRAGULA, but also a renowned fighting game champion.

The games streamed will be creations that positively champion the LGBTQ+ community with representation from AAA titles such as The Last of Us: Left Behind and smaller indie affairs like Sayonara Wild Hearts.

This year's Summer of Pride marks the first time that the event will have content creators involved in raising money for multiple LGBTQ+ charities such as Trans Lifeline, Trevor Project, and Gaymer X.

Nintendo and Steam will take part by hosting sales on games embraced by the community, some up to 80% off. Steam's sale will begin on June 9 and run until June 25. Nintendo will host their eShop sale later on June 20, and it will run until the end of the month.

You can stay up to date with the event on the Summer of Pride website, with all details of streamers involved and games they will be showcasing. Be sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news about the event, including Steam and Nintendo eShop sales, as it comes. 

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Naughty Dog Outlines The Last of Us 2's Extensive Accessibility Options https://www.gameskinny.com/9vw5k/naughty-dog-outlines-the-last-of-us-2s-extensive-accessibility-options https://www.gameskinny.com/9vw5k/naughty-dog-outlines-the-last-of-us-2s-extensive-accessibility-options Mon, 01 Jun 2020 16:41:35 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The Last of Us 2 is out this month, and while we've already gotten a glimpse at features like gameplay elements and the challenges awaiting Ellie, there's a whole other category of features we're just now learning about: the game's accessibility options. Naughty Dog recently told Vice The Last of Us 2 accessibility options span more than 60 customizable elements plus pre-set options.

Naughty Dog's Lead Gameplay Designer Emilia Schatz said the team built The Last of Us 2 with accessibility in mind so no one would encounter "sticking points" where they couldn't proceed further.

Naughty Dog consulted with accessibility advocates, other developers, and, more importantly, players while working on the accessibility options in The Last of Us 2.

Options include things such as audio cues pointing out areas or items of interest and color blind and low-vision options. There will be zoom features text-to-speech options for any text in the game. That's alongside a host of other customizable aspects designed to help everyone enjoy their time with the game. 

All of these are available through The Last of Us 2's menu, and you can adjust them individually or use several pre-set options instead if, as Schatz says, you need "a starting point" to help figure out what will work the best.

The full story is over on Vice. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us 2 news as it develops, and check out our The Last of Us 2 pre-order guide if you haven't secured your copy yet.

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The Last of Us 2 Dev Diary Explores the Details Behind the World https://www.gameskinny.com/55p74/the-last-of-us-2-dev-diary-explores-the-details-behind-the-world https://www.gameskinny.com/55p74/the-last-of-us-2-dev-diary-explores-the-details-behind-the-world Thu, 28 May 2020 12:15:59 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Following yesterday's The Last of Us 2 State of Play, Naughty Dog has released yet another Last of Us 2 dev diary today. Last week's look at the upcoming action-adventure game was about TLoU 2's gritty gameplay, but this time, it's all about the details and how the dev team made the world as immersive as possible.

The Last of Us 2 Director and Writer Neil Druckmann explains more about the new Naughty Dog engine briefly mentioned in yesterday's State of Play.

The engine used for The Last of Us 2 lets designers and artists render almost everything in much more detail, and Druckmann says Naughty Dog's spared no trouble making The Last of Us 2 look as realistic and incredibly detailed as possible. These efforts range from managing tears in characters' eyes and the subtle effects that enhance emotions — like popping veins and red eyes — to making every piece of foliage look distinct.

Part of that also involves on-site research for the game's locations. The team visited Seattle three times, using photo scans and capturing the city's layout and infrastructure to recreate it in ruined form for the game. That extends to the interiors of buildings as well.

The diary goes on to cover more about the game's enemies. Most of it is covers ground we've tread in one form or another before: Ellie's enemies in The Last of Us 2 are designed to seem more human.

Part of that is giving NPCs names and allowing them to chat with each other, but another touch is in how they share information with each other, something players should pay attention to if they want insight into what's coming.

There's still one dev diary left ahead of The Last of Us 2's release date on June 19, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more TLoU 2 news. If you haven't already, check out our The Last of Us 2 pre-order guide too. It has everything you need to know about the game's editions and pre-order bonuses.

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The Last of Us 2 State of Play: The Dangers of Going Alone https://www.gameskinny.com/81jpj/the-last-of-us-2-state-of-play-the-dangers-of-going-alone https://www.gameskinny.com/81jpj/the-last-of-us-2-state-of-play-the-dangers-of-going-alone Wed, 27 May 2020 17:21:05 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Naughty Dog's been releasing weekly videos covering key parts of The Last of Us 2, such as last week's gameplay highlight, but this week's showcase is a little different. It's all about the details, and it was a full-blown State of Play episode, hosted by writer and director Neil Druckmann.

Here's what Naughty Dog showed off during The Last of Us 2 State of Play. If you want to go into The Last of Us 2 without any spoilers, turn back now. 

The State of Play started with a look at the trailer we saw not too long ago, where Ellie decides to leave Jackson and set out on her journey of vengeance.

After that, there was a brief overview of the game's premise. Five years have passed since the first game ended. Ellie lives on her own in Jackson, and Joel's there as well, but shortly after the game begins, Jackson is shaken by a horrible tragedy, sending Ellie on her journey. 

The Last of Us 2 is built on the latest version of the Naughty Dog engine, which lets the team dig into the interior and exterior details of the locales Ellie explores. Most of the game takes place in Seattle, spanning several different architecture and traversal options.

Druckmann said TLOU 2 features the biggest environments Naughty Dog has ever made. Fortunately, Ellie can take advantage of horses to travel faster, while also using ropes to swing across gaps, potentially finding new materials or avoiding combat entirely.

The Washington Liberation Front is one of the game's primary factions. It's a militia group formed to resist the military occupation of Seattle after the breakout, and the WLF hasn't lost contact with its military roots.

The Seraphites, also called the Scars (named after the ceremonial cuts across their faces), are on the other side of the conflict. The Seraphites use stealth and distance weapons like bows.

But the Infected don't take a backseat to these factions. You'll encounter more Runners, more Clickers, and more Stalkers. There's a new stage of Infected called the Shamblers; they're massive creatures covered in armor-like pustules who also expel flammable spores.

There's another new, more terrifying form of Infected too, but Druckmann says we'll have to wait and see what those are when the game launches.

Stealth takes on new dimensions in The Last of Us 2. You can take advantage of environments like tall grass and tight spaces to hide and escape, and you'll need to keep an eye on Ellie's scent trail to avoid guard dogs. Ellie's faster than most of her foes, so combat is more involved. Dodging and sprinting play a significant role in combat, and throwable items and melee weapons are just as important this time around as they were in the original. Ellie isn't always alone either, as NPCs will often join her in combat.

And with all these enemies around, you'll often encounter situations where you need to choose in what order to engage enemies or try and pit them against each other to make your life easier as theirs fade away.

We knew crafting and upgrades would make a return, and The Last of Us 2 State of Play briefly touched on that as well. However you choose to upgrade your gear and outfit your weapons will ultimately affect your playstyle and how you experience the game. Like in the original game, you'll use items found in the environment to craft new tools, and this time around, those include things like mines and pistol suppressors.

Druckmann finished by saying this was all just scratching the surface before cutting to a brand new gameplay sequence. In it, we see Ellie traversing a river system while being hunted by one of the game's factions.

The clip features several underwater sequences as Ellie makes her way into what looks like an old warehouse or some kind of storage facility, before ambushing a sentry to gather information. The sentry ends up attacking Ellie, and we get a glimpse of her central moral conflict that's supposed to shape the story: she kills to get what she needs, but she doesn't want to kill.

That transitions into a stealth sequence where Ellie uses one of those crafted silencers Druckmann mentions to take out foes without them even knowing she's there.

It doesn't take long for her cover to be blown, and the sequence quickly switches to an escape scene showing off the benefits of Ellie's greater agility. While it looks like the same level of implausibility is still there from the original, where enemies somehow don't manage to hear dying groans, gunshots, and explosions, these still look to be incredibly tense scenes. That's helped by what looks like vastly improved enemy AI as well.

And in good storytelling fashion, the sequence ends with a cliffhanger. Ellie finds one of the people she's looking for, and it just so happens to be someone who "remembers her," though from what, we'll just have to wait and see.

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Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us 2 news as we near its June 19 launch date, and make sure to snag your Last of Us 2 pre-order if you haven't already.

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The Last of Us 2 Dev Diary Talks Missable Quests, Making Skills Count https://www.gameskinny.com/6z1vw/the-last-of-us-2-dev-diary-talks-missable-quests-making-skills-count https://www.gameskinny.com/6z1vw/the-last-of-us-2-dev-diary-talks-missable-quests-making-skills-count Wed, 20 May 2020 19:00:30 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Naughty Dog is releasing The Last of Us 2 dev diaries leading up to the game's June 19 launch date. Today's covered The Last of Us 2 gameplay and includes an interesting nugget: you won't see everything The Last of Us 2 has to offer during a single playthrough.

Despite The Last of Us 2 having a similar pace as the original game, the level design is much more open, according to the game's Co-Director Anthony Newman. That means some "story moments, entire combat encounters, [and] full scripted sequences" can be completely missed.

Neil Druckmann, The Last of Us 2's director, told IGN the game opens up at certain points, giving players options for where they can go or what side stories they might want to complete, if any. Druckmann also mentioned this isn't a way to pad the story either, since it moves at essentially the same pace as the original.

Newman said the goal of all this was to make The Last of Us 2 feel unique to each person who plays it:

... when you do encounter [these missable moments], you feel like you discovered them, it lends them this charm and this magic I think is unique to games that this happened to me, because of what I did and the place I explored to.

What effect, if any, this has on how the intense story and Ellie's journey ultimately play out remains to be seen.

The other thing that helps make The Last of Us 2 feel unique is the upgrade system's return. You can upgrade character skills and equipment in The Last of Us 2, just like in the original — but not completely. You won't be able to fully upgrade everything or max out skill trees in one playthrough.

Newman said:

The choices that you make, you're going to have to live with. And we wanted to make sure that all the choices that you made had a really noticeable and tangible impact on the way that you play.

Newman's comments are part of the dev diary at the top of this post, and you can check out Druckmann's supplementary comments over on IGN.

Next week's The Last of Us 2 diary is all about the details. We'll be watching that one as soon as it releases too, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us 2 news as it develops. Check out our The Last of Us 2 pre-order guide if you haven't already, and don't forget to make plenty of room on your PS4's hard drive.

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The Last of Us 2 Trailer Teases Ellie's Difficult Choices Ahead https://www.gameskinny.com/vlmb2/the-last-of-us-2-trailer-teases-ellies-difficult-choices-ahead https://www.gameskinny.com/vlmb2/the-last-of-us-2-trailer-teases-ellies-difficult-choices-ahead Wed, 06 May 2020 10:59:02 -0400 Josh Broadwell

As promised, Naughty Dog dropped a new trailer for The Last of Us 2 this morning. And if it's any indication of what's to come when The Last of Us 2 releases on June 19, we're in for quite a ride.

If you want to go into the game blind, there are some minor spoilers that follow, though you probably wouldn't be here if you wanted to avoid spoilers ... 

Ellie is, no surprise, the trailer's central focus. There's a big emphasis on her and Joel parting ways, physically and ideologically. Ellie's no longer afraid to act alone or to use lethal force to get what she wants and needs.

That should come as no surprise after the events of The Last of Us (and if you don't know what happened yet, stop reading right now and go play it).

Ellie's leaving Jackson, but the clickers aren't all she has to worry about for very spoilery reasons. New character Jesse seems to play a significant role, serving as a counterpoint for Ellie's newfound brutality. Everyone wants the same goal, but — the trailer asks — how far should they go to get it? If the trailer ending is any indication, Ellie is willing to go pretty far.

We're just over a month out from The Last of Us 2's release date, so, fortunately, we won't have long to wait to find out more. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news on The Last of Us 2, and check out our TLoU2 pre-order guide if you haven't already.

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Sony Updates The Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima Release Dates https://www.gameskinny.com/h8630/sony-updates-the-last-of-us-2-ghost-of-tsushima-release-dates https://www.gameskinny.com/h8630/sony-updates-the-last-of-us-2-ghost-of-tsushima-release-dates Mon, 27 Apr 2020 13:20:11 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony announced updates for The Last of Us 2 release date and the Ghost of Tsushima release date. TLOU2 will now launch June 19, while Ghost of Tsushima's new release date is July 17.

The news comes from a new PlayStation Blog post from earlier today.

It follows Naughty Dog's long-awaited sequel being delayed indefinitely last month, with the developer citing distribution concerns as the reason. It initially seemed the delay might be much longer, seeing as Sony also started issuing refunds for TLOU2 digital purchases.

Ghost of Tsushima was originally planned for a June 26 release date. Given the current delay environment, many speculated we'd hear about a Ghost of Tsushima delay sooner or later.

Hermen Hulst, head of Sony Worldwide Studios, reminded readers how difficult finishing any product is for developers, saying:

I want to personally congratulate and thank both the teams at Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch Productions on their achievements, as we know it’s not an easy feat to reach the finish line under these circumstances.

Both teams have worked hard to deliver world-class experiences, and we can’t wait to see what you think of them when they release in just a few short months.

The original post is over on the PlayStation Blog.

Both games are on our most-wanted list for 2020, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more coverage on The Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima coverage. Meanwhile, be sure to check out our Last of Us 2 pre-order roundup and Ghost of Tsushima pre-order guides as well.

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Sony Sending Refunds for Digital Last of Us 2, Iron Man VR Orders https://www.gameskinny.com/jh7ss/sony-sending-refunds-for-digital-last-of-us-2-iron-man-vr-orders https://www.gameskinny.com/jh7ss/sony-sending-refunds-for-digital-last-of-us-2-iron-man-vr-orders Tue, 07 Apr 2020 20:21:33 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony announced it's issuing automatic refunds for digital copies of The Last of Us Part 2 and Iron Man VR. The announcement follows last week's news that both games are delayed indefinitely on account of coronavirus-related shipping issues.

The news was originally posted on Sony's Support web page as a small banner, and IGN picked up the story. If you pre-ordered either title's digital version, you should be receiving an email from Sony with further information. We reached out to Sony for more information on when emails and refunds would begin going out, but we did not hear back by press time.  

Both games were set for May launches: May 29 for The Last of Us Part 2 and May 15 for Iron Man VR. As you'd expect, that means both games are also pretty much finished.

Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann said TLoU2 is "at the one-yard line" during a recent PlayStation Blogcast episode. However, the studio isn't considering a digital-only release at this time, since it wants everyone to experience the long-awaited next chapter in Elie's journey at the same time.

It's been a long journey for TLoU2 as well. It was first delayed to February and then to May so the team could give it "extra polish."

How this will affect The Last of Us TV series HBO and Naughty Dog are working on together, we don't know. Previously, the show's director Craig Mazin said filming can't start until TLoU2 is finished.

The original story is over on IGN. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us Part 2 and Iron Man VR news as it develops.

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The Last of Us TV Series Can't Start Filming Yet https://www.gameskinny.com/j15ew/the-last-of-us-tv-series-cant-start-filming-yet https://www.gameskinny.com/j15ew/the-last-of-us-tv-series-cant-start-filming-yet Wed, 11 Mar 2020 11:15:35 -0400 Josh Broadwell

We reported on The Last of Us TV series last week when it was first announced, and we mentioned there's currently no set date for filming or release. Now, the show's director, Craig Mazin, says The Last of Us series is on hold until The Last of Us Part 2 is finished.

Mazin made the comment in his Scriptnotes podcast, as picked up by IGN.

There's a very good reason for the hold as well. Neil Druckmann is the show's creative director and co-writer, and he serves in the same capacities for the acclaimed post-apocalyptic survival game's sequel. It makes sense Druckmann can't work on the narratives for both at the same time, especially when there's a chance the TV series will include content from TLoU2.

Mazin said:

We've been talking about it for months and coming up with little plans and things. But we're going to dig in in full, full earnest pretty soon, just as soon as they wrap up their final work on the sequel.

He also mentioned his role in convincing Druckmann to ditch the movie approach for The Last of Us and give it the length and treatment it deserves.

It is about the development of a relationship over the course of a long journey, so it has to be to be a television show and that's that. That's the way I see it. Happily, Neil agreed and HBO was delighted, and so here we are.

The Last of Us Part 2 is set for a May 28 release date, so it won't be too long before production can start on the television series, all things being equal.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us news as it develops.

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HBO and PlayStation Productions Team Up for The Last of Us TV Series https://www.gameskinny.com/2mpir/hbo-and-playstation-productions-team-up-for-the-last-of-us-tv-series https://www.gameskinny.com/2mpir/hbo-and-playstation-productions-team-up-for-the-last-of-us-tv-series Thu, 05 Mar 2020 15:09:39 -0500 Josh Broadwell

If this week hasn't had enough surprises so far, buckle up: there's more. Naughty Dogs' The Last of Us is being adapted as a TV series by HBO in partnership with PlayStation Productions. The adaptation of the acclaimed survival game will be PS Productions' first TV series as well.

The news comes from an exclusive set of interviews by The Hollywood Reporter. The outlet says the TV series will adapt events from the first game and potentially add to it with content from The Last of Us Part 2 after it releases May 29.

It's in capable hands as well. Craig Mazin, director of the acclaimed Chernobyl series, will be The Last of Us series' director, and Carolynn Strauss (exec. producer for Chernobyl and Game of Thrones) will act as one executive producer.

Neil Druckmann was the game's creative director and writer, and he's working with Mazin to write the adaptation and is also acting as an executive producer. Finally, Naughty Dogs' president, Evan Wells, is another executive producer.

It's a personal project for Mavin himself, who told the Reporter he's a devoted fan of the game as well:

Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus.

Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I'm so honored to do it in partnership with Neil.

Druckmann himself is equally pleased about working with Mazin, saying he's an ideal fit for the project:

With Chernobyl, Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn't think of better partners to bring the story of The Last of Us to life as a television show.

So far, there's no word on when we can expect The Last of US TV series to air, though it's probably safe to assume it won't be until after May 29. If that's too far away, though, you can always content yourself with the official Last of Us animated adaptation that never came to be.

Between The Last of Us' TV adaptation and the Uncharted film, it seems PlayStation Productions is starting off strong. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us TV news as it develops.

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