Everything We Know About The Last Of Us

Well, what do you know? The people who made Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter and Uncharted are now making something terrific-looking called The Last of Us.

The trailer for Naughty Dog's PlayStation 3 game premiered on Saturday. A few details have been trickling out, too. Let's round it up and see what we've got.

First, we've got an official description from the game's creative director, Neil Druckmann and its game director, Bruce Straley: "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," they told Naughty Dog's in-house blogger. "Nature encroaches upon civilisation, 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."

This is somewhat familiar ground for Last of Us designer Mark Richard Davies, who previously worked as the lead designer on Namco and Ninja Theory's acclaimed game Enslaved which featured a male-female duo racing across a United States that was ravaged by some sort of invaders and overgrown by nature. But Enslaved was more sci-fi than survival-horror and it was far more fantastical. It's leads were Mad Max-looking future soldiers. The Last of Us stars what appears to be an ordinary man and an ordinary teenage girl.

The game's trailer was rendered entirely in-engine. These are real video game graphics, if not shot from playable camera angles.

The trailer speaks for itself. It doesn't reveal anything about how the game will play but sets up its own version of the post-apocalypse vividly. As it ends, we hear Ellie make a comment that suggests she doesn't remember a time when people were just "going about their lives" on the ravaged streets of the United States. "It must have been nice," she says. If she's too young to remember the good old days and Joel is, then the cataclysmic event that transformed the game's world probably took place a dozen or so years before the era in which the game is set.

The new game is deep into development. Creative director Druckmann says that he has been working on the game for two years. Elsewhere, Naughty Dog confirmed that it is no longer a one-game-at-a-time studio. The Last of Us has been made in parallel to Uncharted 3. A two-team studio can, in theory, produce a game a year, and that could peg The Last of Us as a 2012 release, but there is no confirmed release year for it yet.

There was a teaser for the game in Uncharted 3. Before most people even knew that Naughty Dog was making The Last Of Us, clever gamers found a teaser for the game in Naughty Dog's Uncharted 3.

Here's a clip in which a gamer explains how Uncharted 3 teases the new game — this clip was put on YouTube one day before Naughty Dog's involvement was revealed.

You, like me, may not initially see how that tease actually teases anything. To appreciate it, you have to know that The Last of Us was initially teased through a pair of abstract videos, one that featured a man reminiscing about the good old days while real-life footage of riots and disasters played; the other that featured an ant. That any video, IGN reported, was snagged from a BBC documentary about a parasitic fungus called Cordyceps.

This is the BBC Planet Earth footage Naughty Dog used on their Last of Us website, with the original voice over that was stripped out for the teaser. The idea of a killer, parasitic fungus that controls the movement of its hosts fits with the trailer and description of The Last of Us. After all, we've got the idea of "nature encroach[ing] on civilization" and bad guys in the trailer who look like they've got, well, some sort of fungus bursting from their body. Watch the BBC clip. It's as creepy as it gets.

Uh, so the Cordyceps thing is actually really depressing, but in happier news, the game's lead voice actors are Troy Baker, who is also voicing the lead character in next year's BioShock Infinite, and Ashley Johnson, who has not had any major gaming roles but did voice work for Ben 10 and Teen Titans cartoons.

We'll be keeping an eye out for more news about Naughty Dog's big new game. Odds are that these people will, too.


Comments

    "who has not had any major gaming roles"
    Vincent from Catherine?

      Atlus games don't get the respect they deserve.

      That comment was in relation to Ashley Johnson and not Troy Baker :)

    yay another zombie game -_-

      +1
      This trailer had my attention until the zombies.

      Yes thank you. I am also sick and tired of Zombies!

      I was watching this trailer just repeating in my mind "please don't have zombies, please don't have zombies"

      BAM. Zombies.

      Damnit.

        yeah Im sick of zombies too, there are so many other possibilities they could use with the same apocalyptic environment. - I won't be getting this game because it's been done before..

          By that logic, I see very, very few game purchases in your forseeable future.

      if your over zombies just stop playing shit zombie games just because it had zombies. i have played 3 zombie games selectively over the past few years (l4d l4d2 and dead island). its like chocolate if you constantly eat it, it will nolonger be special.

      would you have preferred another FPS instead?

        Zombies aren't that scary.

        Nature is scary, if it dealt with the incursion of the wild upon our cities and all the beasts that come with it, now that would be something different. Fighting the likes of bears and cougars in a metropolitan area would be a completely different experience.

        Instead, from the looks of it, The Last of Us is basically the Walking Dead: the video game.

          What you just described would have to be the worst game idea I have heard for some time.

          We have the ability to kill all the animals on the planet if we really wished to, we can manufacture diseases, we can just shoot or spray them.

          Nature is scary to humans individually, like if you are lost in the woods, or collectively because of viruses.

          I personally look forward to a game made by a good company that seems to be mixing a bit of The Road/Mad Max with I Am Legend, bring it on I say.

          Hmm I had another read and I think maybe I didn't understand what you were saying.

          Perhaps you are suggesting that the premise could be that most of the human race is wiped out (like 99.99%) and this causes a massive explosion in wildlife populations, and combined with raiding people there is also the every present chance a couger/bear may come and try and eat you during the night or something.

          If that is the case, I apologise, that could indeed be a good game.

          Though I still like the idea of I Am Legend ; D

    that any video almost make me puke =|

      Yep. I've said it before and I'll say it again - nature is f***ing disgusting.

    “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,”

    genre-defining? HA! it's another goddamned zombie game... zombies are so fucking dumb, ffs. enough with the zombies already, they were never cool in the first place.

      They were, they are, and they will continue to be cool.

        +1.

        Zombies are awesome and will be until the end of time. I wish every game had zombies in them.

    Yeah no more zombie games, I would much rather linear fps that are brought out every 12 months with a multiplayer that is Just a map pack.

    But seriously, I'm looking forward to this title. Naughtydog games are always well polished games......looks good as well, ps3 still got it.

      Zombies are popular now. It's cool to hate popular. You "stand out" more...

    I wonder if it will end up like Dead Island, where everyone praised the Video/Trailer then the game turned completly differnt but who knows (i liked Dead Island and i like the look of this game too)

    "...Genre-defining..."

    -O Rly?-

    "...A character driven tale..."

    -snickers-

    "...modern plague decimating mankind..."

    Oh, right, so it's I Am Legend, with even less originality.

    There is no way to hide the stench of marketing and failure in the above. Way to fail, Naughty Dog.

    Looks ok, I was expecting more though.
    Then again im not one of those who think ND are amazing, Ive enjoyed Crash 1, Jak 1, & Uncharted was ok but they arent developing gods or anything.
    If its linear ill be quite pissed though lol

    Looking forward to this. Going to be a lot of good titles coming out next year if this is a 2012 release, spoilt for choice

    Looks bloody fantastic. To all the people whinging "meh more zombehs" I've gotta say I've been waiting a while to see a nice story driven zombie game and this looks to be it (haven't played Dead Island yet so don't know if that fits that description).

    I'm a bit bored of zombie games too, but those games tend to just be action, action, action with no substance (L4D) or zombie killing for the LoLs (Dead Rising). This looks like it's going to be a healthy injection of narrative, which would make a zombie game infinitely more compelling and interesting.

      I agree despite claims its another zombie game it seems to be taking a different arguably more realistic version of the Zombie subject.
      If the game follows the kind of desperate ideals that the trailer put forward then it will be very different to the staples of the genre L4D, Nazi Zombies.
      Sounds very interesting indeed

    Needs more zombie.

    I'm probably going to be the only person to think this on here, but did anyone else think the music at the end was an acoustic version of Opeth's "Ghost Of Perdition"?

    my prediction is that the environment will play a huge role in the gameplay. Something similar to alan wake or how in i am legend they only come out at night but maybe they need plants to survive. The game will revolve around destroying shrubbery. Just remember, I called it

    It should be an rts where you lead zombies to kill intrepid adventurers.

    The girl looks like she was based off Ellen Page. +9000 Naughty Dog!

      She sounds like her and her name is Elle too.

    Will Nolan North be in this one too?

    no doubt youll be immune with a massive health bar which completely defeats the purpose of zombie survival...........

    Didn't M. knight cover this idea? The graphics look beautiful and the girl reminds me of the chick from Juno

    Yeah that Cordyceps sounds a lot like the Las Plagas and the studies that Luis did in Resident Evil 4. Some of the trailer had a I Am Legend feel to it too.

    Some of you read "genre defining" as "genre defying".

    This looks great and makes me sad I don't have a PS3. Oh well, the pile of exclusives keeps growing and I creep ever closer to the purchase.

    how is the guy not Nolan North? He sounds just like him

    a.k.a. I Am Legend

    I loved Enslaved and obviously Naughty Dog are capable of delivering some tasty goods. I'm excited about this one... tho I'm trying to keep my "Ultimate-Survival Game" dreams in check...

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