**WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for The Last of Us Part II.**
Cast back your thoughts, if you can, to the olden days of 2016. All in all, it was an awful year, yet a certain event stood out to PlayStation gamers: the announcement of The Last of Us Part II.
It was a reveal met with immense positivity, as was expected, considering The Last of Us was, and still is, one of the greatest games of that generation. With little to no gameplay revealed, it still hit over 10,000 pre-orders in the space of a few months. People were very excited.
Now flash forward to the modern day. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last week, actually even if you have, you’ll know that the cut-scenes of the game have been leaked. I won’t go into all details of the leak, but I do want address what I believe to be the main problem…
The leaks show an absolutely atrocious story.
Now, if you’ve played the first game (if you’re sane), you’ll know the characters Joel and Ellie. Instant fan favourites, their excellent characterisation and truly believable relationship meant that everyone loved them, and for good reason.
Well, if the leaks are accurate (which at this point is almost guaranteed) then you’d better cast aside any love you had for these two. Naughty Dog has decided, that despite advertising the game as a continuation of Joel and Ellie’s story, it will instead focus on the daughter of the hospital worker killed by Joel in The Last of Us (2013). “Well, that’s not too bad,” you might think, and I’d agree, if that was the only issue – but it’s not.
The main issue is far worse; it’s a hit between the knees to players, fans, and everyone else. It’s so bad I’ve had to spend 5 paragraphs preparing myself for it: Joel dies at the start of the game.
If you didn’t know, sorry, but you were warned. If you did know, you’re probably still in shock from hearing it the first time. It’s a travesty of biblical proportions.
Of course, I understand that had it not have been revealed, it most likely would’ve been a fantastic twist, undermining everyone’s assumptions and predictions for the game’s direction. Unfortunately, it was leaked, meaning that we all have to just sit here and wait until May 29th, stewing in disappointment and crushed hopes.
Oh, and Ellie’s the main boss of the game. She’s also going to die. Just in case one main character death wasn’t enough, Naughty Dog decided, “Why not kick them when they’re down?” and thus not only decided to kill Ellie, but to make you, the player, kill her. Low blow, guys.
There are, of course, hundreds of other details regarding the leak, each causing its own little outcry; the incorporation of a homophobic Christian gang has been offending people left, right, and centre. In fact, the game seems to be an experiment of Naughty Dog’s to see how many people they could anger with just one game. It seems to be working pretty well.
However, as I said, maybe if the story wasn’t leaked it wouldn’t have seemed so bad – but it was, so it does. Along with the backlash comes a hit to the developers I’m uncertain they can recover from, especially seeing as how we now know they outright lied to us; in one interview with IGN the game’s Creative Director, Neil Druckmann, is quoted confirming, “Joel plays a major part of this game.” Oof.
And it might not just be them who take a hit, but Playstation as a platform. The Last of Us Part II was without a doubt coming to PS5, bringing with it a whole lot of sales from everyone who wanted to play it. Which, in fairness, was basically everyone alive.
Now, however, the number of people wanting to play The Last of Us Part II is severely diminished, begging the question: Will we see PS5 launch sales take a hit? My guess is no, as PS5 is arguably the most hotly-anticipated console of all time, but that possibility is on the cards now, in a way it wasn’t before.
P.S. This article is by no means comprehensive and if you want to know the full story I strongly encourage you to follow it up. There’s a ton of information surrounding it, even if the leaks themselves were shut down ASAP.
Words by Henry Elvidge