The VGAs saw a handful of exciting new announcements, including a sequel to the tough-as-nails RPG Dark Souls, some new gameplay footage from the upcoming Lords of Shadow 2, a candid trailer for a (possibly) new IP in The Phantom Pain, and most importantly, we finally got a release date for Naughty Dog’s upcoming apocalyptic action title The Last of Us. Check out the trailer below:
Now, the trailer doesn’t really show us anything groundbreaking or new outside of a few characters and settings. What it does manage to do, however, is build on the overall atmosphere and personality of the world itself.
The first thing that struck me about this trailer was the blatant moral dilemma Joel is facing. We already know from trailers past that he isn’t the most stand-up individual in the world, and this trailer shows us another side of him we haven’t explored.
For those who don’t know, Joel is a courier, being paid to ship packages throughout this world gone to hell. But we see that he doesn’t necessarily love what he does, especially when one character tries to convince him to take things for her, despite his obvious reservations. When things like “It’s just a package!” are said, you know there’s a bit of a conflict of interest at hand.
On top of that, the trailer does a great job of setting up the mood for the entire world. There are people running in the beginning, cities burning, people hanging from trees and ceilings, creatures stalk the night, citizens are openly beaten in the streets of military districts, and danger lurks around every corner. One part in particular that stuck out to me is the line where Ellie reasons that the world outside can’t be much worse than the one she lives in inside the district. It’s a horrible outlook to have, considering the circumstances…but she’s right.
A lot of scenes in this trailer lead me to believe that the game will have a heavy emphasis on morality and where it fits in this world. Joel speaks of having to do difficult things, Ellie witnesses things most kids would be scarred by, and multiple characters throughout the trailer speak of Joel and his relationship with this little girl. It’s setting up nicely for a strong apocalyptic story-driven experience a la The Walking Dead that has the potential to be both hard-hitting and compelling.
A few gameplay hints are shown in the trailer as well, including multiple scenes of Ellie holding guns and Joel instructing her on how to use them that lead me to suspect she could serve as an armed AI capable of doing more than taking cover and staying out of sight when things get hairy for Joel. From the emphasis on his job as a courier throughout the video, I also can’t help but wonder if some of the missions in the game will be delivery quests that see you transporting an object from point A to point B. Melee combat also makes an appearance, a fitting convention, as the world is in disarray and there probably aren’t many bullets lying around.
But really, the most important part of the entire trailer came at the end, when a release date of May 7th, 2013 was revealed. Why is it important? Because even though it’s still a long way off, I finally have a date to mark on the calendar to make the wait a bit more bearable.
Look for The Last of Us exclusively on PS3.