The Last of Us

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The Last of Us
TheLastOfUs.jpg
The Last of Us cover art
Developer(s)Naughty Dog
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s)Bruce Straley
Neil Druckmann
Designer(s)Jacob Minkoff
Programmer(s)Travis Mcintosh
Jason Gregory
Artist(s)Erick Pangilinan
Nate Wells
Writer(s)Neil Druckmann
Composer(s)Gustavo Santaolalla
EngineIn-house engine[1]
Havok (physics)
Platform(s)PlayStation 3
Release date(s)
  • WW June 14, 2013
  • JP June 20, 2013
Genre(s)Action-adventure, survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
DistributionBlu-ray Disc, download
 
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The Last of Us
TheLastOfUs.jpg
The Last of Us cover art
Developer(s)Naughty Dog
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s)Bruce Straley
Neil Druckmann
Designer(s)Jacob Minkoff
Programmer(s)Travis Mcintosh
Jason Gregory
Artist(s)Erick Pangilinan
Nate Wells
Writer(s)Neil Druckmann
Composer(s)Gustavo Santaolalla
EngineIn-house engine[1]
Havok (physics)
Platform(s)PlayStation 3
Release date(s)
  • WW June 14, 2013
  • JP June 20, 2013
Genre(s)Action-adventure, survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
DistributionBlu-ray Disc, download

The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It was officially revealed on December 10, 2011, during the Spike TV Video Game Awards and released worldwide on June 14, 2013. It was released in Japan on June 20, 2013.

The player takes control of Joel (voiced and motion captured by Troy Baker), who is trekking across a post-apocalyptic United States in 2033, in order to escort the young Ellie (voiced and motion captured by Ashley Johnson) to a resistance group, the Fireflies, who believe Ellie may be the key to curing an infection that has ravaged the world. The player defends the characters against zombie-like creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus, as well as hostile humans such as bandits and cannibals, employing the use of firearms and stealth aided by capabilities such as a visual representation of sound in order to listen for locations of enemies. The player can also craft weapons or medical items by combining items scavenged in the world.

The Last of Us received widespread critical acclaim for its writing, voice acting, sound design, level design, and art direction. Its narrative was noted particularly for its characterization, application of subtext, and critical depiction of the human condition, dealing with themes of sacrifice, loyalty, fate, and hope. Soon considered one of the most significant titles of the seventh generation video game era, The Last of Us received Game of the Year awards from numerous publications. The Last of Us was the second-largest video game launch of 2013 (after Grand Theft Auto V), selling over 1.3 million units in its first week. As of January 2014, the game has sold 4.1 million units, making it the fastest-selling PlayStation 3 game after three weeks.

Gameplay

The Last of Us uses a third-person perspective. Players take control of Joel, while Ellie is controlled by the AI for the majority of the game, although the player switches control in the later sections of the game. The game involves gun fighting, melee combat, and a cover system with no preset cover locations, only crouching near objects and navigating normally. The player fights off the Infected and the Survivors—humans that are not infected, but are hostile towards Joel and Ellie. A feature the developers call "dynamic stealth" allows for many different types of strategies and techniques that the player can use at any given time as they approach a new situation, to which enemies will react differently.

A player creating an item
The real-time crafting system, which can be accessed in the backpack[2]

Throughout their journey, Joel and Ellie use multiple ranged and melee weapons to help them defeat their enemies and continue through the levels. These include long weapons like a bolt action rifle, shotgun, bow, flamethrower, and assault rifle, as well as short-barreled guns like the pistol, revolver, scoped revolver-like handgun called the "El Diablo", and a sawed-off one handed shotgun called the "Shorty". There are also many different degradable melee weapons that can be scavenged from the environment like metal pipes, planks, baseball bats, machetes, and hatchets. Items like empty bottles and bricks can be picked up and thrown to distract or stun enemies, as well as be used as simple melee weapons.[3]

Along with regular weapon and equipment slotting, the game also features a crafting system. By going into the backpack, the player can use recipes introduced throughout the game to forge useful supplies like Molotov cocktails from once useless consumables such as liquor, discarded towels, and broken razor blades.[4] To force the player to make tough decisions based upon their current circumstance, all of the items created require some of the same consumables that can be used for another producible item. For example, the Molotov cocktail and health-kit items both require alcohol and rags to produce. Another aspect of the crafting system is that it happens in real-time, meaning that the game does not pause while crafting, forcing the player to choose their crafting time effectively in order to avoid being taken advantage of by enemies while busy.[4]

The player is also able to collect toolboxes and parts, in the form of gears, to help upgrade their arms at an array of workbenches set throughout the game. Things like the number of weapon holsters, fire rate, clip capacity, reduced recoil, and range can be increased.[4] Training manuals can be collected to increase the effectiveness of crafted items as well. For instance, the durability of crafted shivs can be increased, as can the radius of a Molotov explosion. Joel's physical abilities are upgradable too. The player can do things like improve his health-bar size or increase his crafting speed by collecting pills and medicinal plants throughout the game.[5]

The game also features periods of no fighting, where the player can explore the environment and engage in non-combat oriented actions. These sections often involve conversation between the characters, either automatic or optional via prompt, where they discuss their current situation, surrounding environment, make jokes, and so on.[6][7] Along with that, there are a multitude of collectibles that can be scavenged from the environment and stored/viewed in the backpack. Objects like notes, posters, maps, can be collected to provide the player extra knowledge on their current environment and its former or current inhabitants. Firefly pendants, with the inscribed names of their former owners, and a series of comics titled "Savage Starlight" can be found as well.[8] The player must also solve simple platforming dilemmas that the characters come across while traversing the levels. These involve boosting each other up, using floatable planks to get Ellie (who cannot swim) across bodies of water, and finding ladders or dumpsters to climb upon to reach higher areas.[9]

The game features an AI system called "Balance of Power".[10] This new system allows enemies to react realistically to any combat situation they are placed in by taking cover if they see the player, calling for help if they need it and even taking advantage of the player's weaknesses, such as when Joel runs out of ammunition, is distracted, or when he is being attacked by other enemies.

Multiplayer

The Last of Us includes a separate multiplayer component called "Factions", a mode that adds to the world the single-player story established. From the beginning, the player is allowed to pick a faction, either Hunters or Fireflies, to become a part of. The player has 12 weeks to hold out by keeping their clan alive through collecting supplies during the matches, with each match counting as a day. By surviving to the end of the 12 weeks, the player has completed a journey and is allowed to choose their faction again.[11] The focus of multiplayer play in The Last of Us is Clan growth and survival. Scavenging supplies is the way to accomplish these goals. Supplies are gained based on how well the player do in the match. Killing an enemy, assisting in a kill, reviving allies, and crafting items all earn a player's parts. At the end of the match, these parts are converted into supplies. Enemies also drop supplies when they die, which can be looted. While the player can populate their Clan with random non-player characters, they can also populate the Clan with their friends' names via Facebook. This personalizes the player's Clan and doesn't post to their Facebook wall. To further aid player's immersion, there are special events which allow the player to rescue his/her characters friends' names, among other things. Linking up with Facebook also gives the player access to three boosters.[12] The mode also features a crafting system identical to that of the single-player, where the consumables can be found in certain supply box set throughout the maps.

Factions also lets the player customize loadouts to suit the player's playstyle. There are four customizable loadout slots. Each loadout has two weapon slots, four survival skill slots, and one purchasable equipment slot. When the player starts a Clan, it begins with eight loadout points to distribute into these slots. As the player's Clan's overall store of supplies grows, the player can eventually earn up to 13 loadout points. The amount of loadout points that the player gets is directly related to many how many supplies they earn throughout the life of the Clan.[13]

The component features two game modes of eight players max: Supply Raid and Survivors. Both offer unique challenges to the Clan's survival and count towards the Clan's progression.[14] Supply Raid is a standard Deathmatch, where the team who runs out of respawns first loses. Survivors is a no respawn mode where teams win rounds by killing off the entire enemy team or ending the round with more players, and win the match by winning four rounds. Crafting ingredients and producible items do not carry over between rounds. The multiplayer characters are also customizable of which their hats, helmets, masks, and emblems can be personalized.

Synopsis

The Last of Us takes place in the United States, twenty years after a fungal spore-based infection rapidly spread across the globe, wiping out a vast majority of the population by warping its hosts’ brains and turning them into deadly predators capable of killing with a single bite. The remnants of the world’s population has been reduced to either struggling survivors or ravenous infected mutants. The game features several locations across the United States, including Boston and Lincoln, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Characters

The two main characters are Joel (Troy Baker), a brutal survivor of a fungal pandemic that has devastated civilization, and Ellie (Ashley Johnson), a fourteen-year-old orphan who has grown up in the post-apocalyptic world. Other characters include Joel's smuggling partner; Tess (Annie Wersching), Marlene (Merle Dandridge), leader of the Fireflies and a friend of Ellie's mother; Robert (Robin Atkin Downes), an arms dealer; Sarah (Hana Hayes), Joel's daughter; Bill (W. Earl Brown), a skilled mechanic; survivors Henry and Sam (Brandon Scott and Nadji Jeter, respectively); Joel's brother, Tommy (Jeffrey Pierce) and his wife Maria (Ashley Scott); David (Nolan North), a leader of a group of survivors; and James (Reuben Langdon), David's ally.[15]

Plot

Joel is a single father living outside Austin, Texas with his twelve-year-old daughter Sarah. In the early hours on the day after his birthday, a sudden outbreak of a mutated Cordyceps fungus begins ravaging the United States, which changes its human hosts into violent monsters. As Joel, his brother Tommy, and Sarah flee the chaos, Sarah is shot by a soldier and dies in Joel's arms.

In the twenty years that follow, much of civilization is destroyed by the infection, with isolated pockets of survivors living in heavily policed quarantine zones, independent settlements, or nomadic groups. Joel now lives in a quarantine zone in Boston, working as a smuggler alongside his partner, Tess. They hunt down a local gangster named Robert, to recover weapons stolen from them. Before Tess kills him, Robert reveals that he traded them to the Fireflies, an insurgent militia fighting against the authorities governing the quarantine zones. Joel and Tess encounter the Fireflies' leader, Marlene, who promises them double their stolen cache in return for smuggling a teenage girl named Ellie outside the quarantine to a Firefly group in downtown Boston.

While escaping a patrol, Joel and Tess learn that Ellie is infected. Normally full infection occurs in less than two days, but Ellie asserts she was infected three weeks ago, and that her immunity may lead to a cure. Fighting toward the drop-off point, they discover that the Fireflies there have been killed. Tess reveals she was bitten when they encountered the infected earlier and orders Joel to take Ellie to his estranged brother, Tommy, who used to be a Firefly. Tess sacrifices herself to approaching soldiers to give the pair a chance to escape, believing in Ellie's importance as a cure. Leaving Boston, the pair locate another smuggler named Bill in nearby Lincoln, who begrudgingly helps them acquire a vehicle.

Joel and Ellie drive westwards into Pittsburgh, a city controlled by violent bandits who have overthrown the military and relentlessly hunt down anyone who enters. Their vehicle is destroyed in an ambush but the two fight their way out and later encounter Henry and Sam, two brothers who are attempting to reunite with another group at a radio tower outside the city. Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam manage to escape Pittsburgh, then traverse an Infected-filled sewer system, before fighting off bandits in an abandoned suburb. A horde of Infected attack as they leave and, unbeknownst to the rest of the group, Sam is bitten. Sheltering near the tower overnight, Sam has become an Infected. When Ellie goes to wake him the next morning, he attacks her. Henry is forced to kill his brother, and in his grief commits suicide.

In the fall, the two finally locate Tommy in Wyoming, now a member of a fortified settlement near a hydroelectric dam. Joel contemplates leaving Ellie with Tommy, but after repelling bandits and being confronted by Ellie about Sarah, he ultimately decides to stay with her. Tommy directs them to a Fireflies enclave at the University of Eastern Colorado. The two find the facility abandoned, but learn that the Fireflies had moved to a hospital in Salt Lake City. They are attacked by bandits as they leave the building. During the escape, Joel is critically injured after falling on a piece of metal re-bar.

In the winter, Ellie and Joel take shelter in the mountains. Joel is on the brink of death and relies on Ellie to care for him. After killing a large stag while hunting, Ellie encounters David and James, a pair of scavengers willing to trade medicine in exchange for the meat. While James goes to recover the medicine, Ellie and David are attacked by a horde of infected, but manage to fend them off. Afterwards, David reveals that the bandits Ellie and Joel killed at the university were part of his group; he allows Ellie to leave with the medicine. David sends a posse to track Ellie the following morning, forcing her to lead them away from Joel and be captured. Ellie learns that David and his people are cannibals and escapes after refusing to join them, but David eventually corners her in a burning restaurant. Meanwhile, Joel recovers from his fever and sets out to find Ellie, fighting through David's gang to the restaurant. He reaches Ellie as she violently kills David in self-defense; Joel consoles her before they flee together.

In the spring, Joel and Ellie arrive in Salt Lake City. They make their way through flooded highway tunnels but are caught in rapids, with Joel barely rescuing Ellie from drowning. A patrol of Fireflies capture them. Joel awakens in the hospital and is greeted by Marlene. She informs him that Ellie is being prepped for surgery: to create a vaccine for the infection, the Fireflies have to remove a Cordyceps sample from Ellie's brain, killing her in the process. Joel escapes and battles his way to the surgery room, from where he carries an unconscious Ellie to the basement parking garage. There he confronts and kills Marlene to prevent the Fireflies from pursuing them. On the drive out of the city, Ellie finally awakens, and Joel lies to her about the events, telling her that the Fireflies had tried and failed to produce a cure with other immune candidates and had given up trying. The pair arrive on the outskirts of Tommy's settlement. Ellie expresses her survivor guilt and asks Joel to swear that his story about the Fireflies is true, which he does.

Left Behind

Three weeks before the main story, Ellie is woken at her boarding school by her friend Riley, whom Ellie has not seen for six weeks. Apologizing for leaving Ellie, Riley reveals she has become a Firefly, and suggests they break her curfew to catch up. Sneaking outside, they return to the abandoned mall they previously visited. After several activities, during which they restore power to the mall, Ellie questions why Riley returned. Riley explains that she is being deployed in another city by the Fireflies, and, against Marlene's orders, she wanted to say goodbye to Ellie. Upset when Ellie encourages her to leave, Riley suggests they play with water guns and dance to music in a nearby store. Ellie admits she wants Riley to stay, causing Riley to discard her dogtags before the two kiss. The two are then interrupted when infected appear, forcing them to flee as several runners appear. Racing through the mall, they attempt to escape by climbing scaffolding. After Riley climbs it, the scaffold collapses under Ellie, causing her to fall back into the mall and forcing Riley to return for her. After killing the infected in a struggle, Riley points out that they have both been bitten. Comforting Ellie, Riley suggests they fight their infection rather than commit suicide.

Moving forward to the autumn section of the main story, it is recounted how Joel was impaled at the University of Eastern Colarado. Escaping and leaving by horseback, Ellie takes the wounded Joel to a nearby mall, before attempting to administer first aid. Searching the mall for medical supplies, Ellie sneaks past numerous infected, before finding a crashed helicopter, with several deceased combat medics, where she finds a medical kit. Ellie heads back to Joel, only to find the cannibal bandits have tracked them to the mall. Pitting the bandits and infected against each other, she manages to return to Joel, only to be ambushed by both bandits and infected. Defeating both, Ellie begins to heal Joel in the mall, recalling Riley's words, before she departs into the snow.

Development

Naughty Dog worked in secrecy on The Last of Us for two years after completing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves prior to announcement; the game went gold on May 15, 2013.[16] To compensate for the goal of creating a new intellectual property (IP) as well as continuing the Uncharted series at the same time, Naughty Dog co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Ballestra had ordered the splitting of the company into two teams, with one team going on to develop Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and the other The Last of Us.[17][18] The specific number of employees who worked on the project (although suggested to be somewhere over 40 people) and the total cost of development were not specified.[19]

Stealth and cover mechanics are featured in the game. The concept art shows Joel and Ellie ducking behind a shop counter as other survivors search the place.

The announcement confirmed that the new project was being headed by studio game director Bruce Straley. Former lead designer on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Mark Richard Davies, also had been working at Naughty Dog on the game.[20] After Uncharted 2 shipped in 2009, some of the development team from the game formed the team for The Last of Us, while the remainder worked on Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception;[21] The Last of Us marked the first time that Naughty Dog had become a two-team studio.[22] It was the first time the studio had introduced a second new intellectual property in the same hardware generation.[23]

The concept for The Last of Us arose after watching a segment of the BBC nature documentary Planet Earth, which documented a Cordyceps fungus-infected ant, where the fungus takes over its brain and produces growths from its head; the idea that the fungus could infect humans became the initial idea for the game.[24] GamesRadar pointed out the game's inspirations by the film version of The Road and the graphic novel and TV series versions of The Walking Dead, as well as by 28 Days Later and the film versions of Children of Men and The Day of the Triffids.[25] Other inspirations for the game included the non-fiction books The World Without Us and Polio: An American Story, the films True Grit and Road to Perdition, and the novels The Road, City of Thieves and The Last Town on Earth.[26]

Creative director Neil Druckmann stated that the team was highly influenced from a specific section from Uncharted 2, where protagonist Nathan Drake teams up with Tibetan guide Tenzin who does not know any English. Through a short period of gameplay time, the developers had managed to build a bond between Drake and Tenzin. This idea of building a complex bond between two characters through gameplay, although over the course of an entire game, is what lead to the creation of Joel and Ellie and their relationship. Druckmann added when they were watching the film No Country for Old Men, they were struck by the lack of music in the soundtrack for the majority of the film. Druckmann noted that the lack of music in the film helped intensify the tension between the characters that was almost palpable.[27] Druckmann and Straley have studied films, books, and television shows with post-apocalyptic and dystopian settings, but soon found the real world to be a much more helpful source of inspiration. In studying the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, Druckmann learned about paranoia and man's need to protect himself when faced with the threat of extinction; the polio epidemic of the 1880s showed him how differences in class can color people's perceptions of blame in the face of a great disaster. Examining the history of human suffering also helped Druckmann answer the question of whether The Last of Us was the kind of game that needed a stereotypical bad guy.[28] Naughty Dog was also inspired by games like Ico and Resident Evil 4, which helped shape the game's story and character building. Designer Ricky Cambier stated that they wanted to create as realistic a survival game as possible, with actions that seemed realistic.[29]

On release of the initial trailer for the 2011 survival horror game Dead Island, the team was concerned that the two games would be largely similar, both exploring the human or emotional side to an apocalyptic event. While the gameplay of Dead Island did not match up to that showed by the trailer, Druckmann felt that the initial trailer for The Last of Us was "very representative of what we're going for".[22] Druckmann also stated that he wanted the story in The Last of Us to raise the bar for other video game developers, as he felt the standard of storytelling was not as good as it should be within the industry.[30][31]

Naughty Dog requested the game be focus tested on female players as well as male, after the research firm it was working with was planning on running it by male gamers only. Druckmann explained how the studio stepped in after discovering the notion of polling female gamers for their take in the game was not on the table. He said that "another aspect that influences how a game is promoted is focus testing. Players are rounded up and are asked to view materials and answer some quantitative and qualitative questions about it". He added: "My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female gamers - it's something we had to specifically request. I hope this is a relic of the past that will soon go away".[32]

Marketing

The game was first teased before the Spike Video Game Awards on November 29, 2011, with a billboard in Times Square mentioning "a PlayStation 3 exclusive you won't believe".[33] Initial trailers showed an apocalyptic event, including riots, epidemic, quarantine, and violence, as well as a clip of the BBC's Planet Earth showing an ant infected with Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a dangerous parasitic fungus that usually kills insects such as ants. On December 9, 2011, players of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception spotted an in-game reference to the aforementioned trailer with the newspaper headline "scientists are still struggling to understand deadly fungus".[34] Druckmann and Straley later said that Naughty Dog had actually meant to remove the cheeky clue from Uncharted 3, but simply forgot it was there.[35]

Sony Computer Entertainment officially unveiled the game, a brand new intellectual property from Naughty Dog, created by a previously unpublicized Naughty Dog development team, at the Spike Video Game Awards 2011. A gameplay trailer, made up of in-game footage,[22] showed a man and a teenage girl fending off other survivors and what appeared to be people with unusual fungal growth before running out into a dilapidated city covered in greenery, reminiscent of the film I Am Legend.[36] Shortly after the unveiling, Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells posted new details of The Last of Us on the PlayStation Blog:

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.[37]

At E3 2012 was the first publicly released gameplay demo for The Last of Us. It introduced a combat scenario to the audience, showing firsthand the tools of the trade Joel and Ellie must use to attempt to defend themselves from a small group of bandits, as well as how the bandits would coordinate and respond based on Joel's current situation and amount of bullets he had.[38] The first official television spot for the game was aired on the season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead on March 31, 2013.[39] On May 31, 2013, a playable demo was released via God of War: Ascension disc-owners. The demo features the Outskirts level of The Last of Us in which Joel and Ellie, along with Tess, encounter multiple Infected enemies.[40]

Release

The Last of Us was first officially released on June 14, 2013, worldwide, with the exception of Japan, which released on June 20, 2013.[41][42] Although first stated to be released on May 7, Druckmann later revealed via the PlayStation Blog that the studio had decided to push the release date five weeks back to June 14.[43] The censored European release of the game does not feature dismemberment and exploding heads in the multiplayer mode.[44]

Retail editions

Contents of Post-Pandemic Edition

Exclusive to North America was the Survival Edition, which included a steelbook edition of the game, full-size hardcover artbook by Dark Horse Comics, and the first issue of the The Last of Us: American Dreams comic also published by Dark Horse. The Sights and Sounds DLC Pack and a Naughty Dog sticker sheet were included as well.[45]

Exclusive to GameStop locations in the United States was the Post-Pandemic Edition. It included a twelve-inch premium statue of Joel and Ellie by Project Triforce, a steelbook edition of the game, The Last of Us: American Dreams first issue comic, Sights and Sounds and Survival DLC packs, and a Naughty Dog sticker sheet.[45][46]

Exclusive to Europe was The Last of Us: Ellie Edition and the The Last of Us: Joel Edition. They came with character themed steelbook cases and Blu-ray Discs, screen print effect posters, DualShock 3 controller skins, and LittleBigPlanet player character costumes. Miniature The Last of Us artbook and first issue comic editions were included also, as well as the Sights and Sounds and Survival DLC packs.[47]

The Last of Us is also available in a download edition, downloadable on the PlayStation Store. It features a unique download installer that let the player start the game only halfway through the download process.[48]

Downloadable content

There were two bonus downloadable content (DLC) packs that were included with certain pre-ordered editions. The Sights and Sounds Pack included the official game soundtrack composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, The Last of Us Dynamic Theme for the PlayStation 3, and two winter Joel and Ellie avatars. The Survival Pack featured bonus skins for Joel and Ellie for after the single-player campaign is completed, and for the multiplayer part bonus XP, in-game cash, special customizable items and a melee attack booster.[49]

On May 28, 17 days before release, community strategist Eric Monacelli of Naughty Dog posted on the PlayStation Blog showcasing the Season Pass. The pass included reduced price access to three unreleased DLC packs, of which the first will be single-player, a first for Naughty Dog, with the other two for multiplayer maps and other expansions. It also gave the player access to a few helpful single-player bonuses for their firearm and physical abilities, as well as to the downloadable 90 minute developmental documentary Grounded: Making of The Last of Us.[50]

On September 27, 2013 Naughty Dog announced the release schedule for The Last of Us downloadable content. The first DLC called the Abandoned Territories Map Pack was released on October 15, 2013 in North America and on October 16 in Europe along with patch 1.05.[51][52] The pack includes four new multiplayer maps including Suburbs, Bus Depot, Hometown and Bookstore. The single-player DLC will be second and is expected to release in December 2013 or January 2014 while the third DLC is multiplayer focused and will be released in the first half of 2014.[53]

A DLC titled Nightmare Bundle was released on November 5, 2013 in North America and November 6, 2013 in Europe. The bundle contains a collection of ten head items, nine of which are available to be purchased individually, and a Nightmare Mask which is available exclusively to those who purchase the Season Pass or the Nighmare Bundle DLC.[54]

At the PlayStation 4 Launch Event on November 14, 2013 a new DLC titled "Left Behind" was announced. The content will serve as a prequel to the main storyline and it was announced to feature Ellie and feature her friend Riley.[55] Left Behind was released on February 14, 2014.[56]

Comics

A four-issue comic book miniseries titled The Last of Us: American Dreams, written by Druckmann and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, was published by Dark Horse Comics. The comics serve as a prequel to the game taking place a year before the events in the game and chronicles the journey of a younger Ellie and another young survivor Riley.[57] The first issue was published on April 3, 2013.[58] In a show of demand for the comics and the game, the first issue sold out and a reprint was made available on May 29, 2013. The second issue of the comics was also published on the same day.[59][60] The third issue was published on June 26, 2013.[61] The fourth issue was published on July 31, 2013.[62] All four issues were republished as one single package on October 30, 2013.[63]

Soundtrack

The Last of Us (Video Game Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Gustavo Santaolalla
ReleasedJune 7, 2013 (2013-06-07)
GenreClassical, acoustic
Length56:21
LabelSony Computer Entertainment

The music score was composed by the two-time Academy Award for Best Original Score winner composer Gustavo Santaolalla.[22] The team wanted to focus on emotion with the soundtrack rather than horror. The main theme is acoustic guitar-led, an arpeggiated figure in a minor key over tribal percussion, building to a dissonant climax of fiercely strummed chords. The score has received critical acclaim since its release.[64] Many of the instruments in the score feature Santaolalla himself on guitar and other instruments. The orchestral portions of the score were recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville by the Nashville Scoring Orchestra. It was released on iTunes on June 7, 2013[65] and was included as pre-order DLC in The Last of Us' Sights & Sounds DLC Pack.[66]


Reception

Pre-release

The Last of Us was exhibited for the general video game audience at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 (E3 2012), where it won five Game Critics Awards for Best of Show, Best Original Game, Best Console Game, Best Action/Adventure Game, and a Special Commendation for Sound.[67] The game received several other E3 2012 Best of Show awards from media outlets such as Cheat Code Central,[68] The Daily Telegraph,[69] Destructoid,[70] The Electric Playground,[71] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[72] GameSpot,[73] and PlayStation Universe.[74] The Last of Us was nominated for Most Anticipated Game at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards,[75] while the game's Gamescom 2012 trailer won for Best Trailer at the 4th Annual Inside Gaming Awards.[76]

Critical reception

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings95.04%[77]
Metacritic95/100[78]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Computer and Video Games10/10[79]
Destructoid10/10[80]
Edge10/10[81]
Eurogamer10/10[82]
Famitsu38/40[83]
Game Informer9.5/10[84]
GameSpot8/10[85]
IGN10.0/10[86]
Joystiq5/5 stars[87]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK)10/10[88]
Polygon7.5/10[89]

The Last of Us received universal acclaim upon release, with reviewers particularly praising the story, voice acting, sound design, and graphics. According to review aggregating website GameRankings, the game received an average review score of 95.04% based on 67 reviews,[77] and according to Metacritic, the game received an average review score of 95/100 based on 98 critics, with it considered to be of "universal acclaim".[78] Both GameRankings and Metacritic rate it as the fifth-best PlayStation 3 game of all time.[90][91]

Several reviewers were effusive with their praise for the game; the reviewer for Edge termed it "the most riveting, emotionally resonant story-driven epic of this console generation," Oli Welsh of Eurogamer called it "a beacon of hope for its genre," and Matt Kamen of Empire felt that it was "a masterpiece that will be looked back upon favourably for decades."[81][82][92]

The graphics and art direction of the game were praised by almost every reviewer. Matt Helgeson of Game Informer said that the game's "graphical chops are unmatched in console gaming", while Colin Moriarty of IGN said that "everything that happens is immediately more memorable, more powerful, and more poignant because your surroundings are so believable."[84][86] Phillip Kollar of Polygon, in one of the lower-scored reviews for the game, still said that "The Last of Us' graphics, animation and sound design are some of the best I've ever experienced."[89] Tom McShea of GameSpot concurred about the sound design, saying that "the music and sound design are exceptional," while the Edge review complimented the way that the music "adds to the earthiness of the game without stepping on the toes of every moment of calm."[81][85]

The story of the game, and especially the interaction between Joel and Ellie, were also heavily praised. Helgeson of Game Informer said that the story was a "high mark for interactive storytelling," due in part to "one of the most poignant, well-drawn relationships I've seen in video games."[84] Moriarty of IGN said "the interplay between Joel and Ellie, as well as the other characters you meet on your adventure, is one of the great highlights in The Last of Us."[86] Welsh of Eurogamer wrote that the relationship between Joel and Ellie "has been heralded as a powerful emotional hook," while Kollar of Polygon said that "because the game spent so much time convincing me to care about these characters, its emotional high notes were even more effective, and its many sad scenes even more devastating."[82][89]

The gameplay, while also generally praised, was the aspect of the game that was criticized by the lower-scoring reviews. Moriarty of IGN termed it "incredibly satisfying", while praising the combat, stealth, and crafting aspects of the game.[86] Welsh of Eurogamer praised the "breathtakingly confident game-making", while Hegelson of Game Informer termed The Last of Us "an impressive action game that distills the strengths of the survival horror genre into something that's both deeper and more accessible."[82][84] McShea of GameSpot, however, felt that there were "many small problems in combat", such as overly-scripted sequences in combat and stealth sequences where enemies completely ignore Ellie.[85] Kollar of Polygon was much more harsh towards the gameplay, saying that "notable problems with The Last of Us manifest as it leans more on the traditional trappings of third-person shooters," as he felt that forcing the player to fight waves of enemies or clear all enemies out of an area were contradictory to the rest of the gameplay, which generally presented more options and showed violence as uncomfortably necessary and disgustingly realistic.[89]

Sales

In the United Kingdom, the game debuted at number one in the sales charts and stayed there for six weeks straight, beating records set by FIFA 12 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.[93][94][95] The Last of Us also topped the charts in the United States, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Spain and Japan.[96] The game sold 1.3 million copies in the first week,[97] and 3.4 million copies worldwide in three weeks,[98] making it the fastest-selling PS3 game of 2013 prior to the release of Grand Theft Auto V.[99][100]

Awards

The Last of Us won Best New Action Adventure Game from Games,[101] and won User Choice Prize at the PlayStation Awards 2013.[102]

List of awards and nominations for The Last of Us
YearAwardCategoryResultRef.
2013Games 2014 Games of the Year and Other AwardsBest New Action GameWon[101]
31st Golden Joystick AwardsBest NewcomerWon[103]
Best StorytellingWon
Studio of the Year (Naughty Dog)Won
Game of the YearNominated[104]
Best Visual DesignNominated
Best Gaming Moment ("Joel's loss")Nominated
Good Game Awards 2013Best GameWon[105]
Most Memorable Moment ("Giraffes" scene)Nominated[106]
5th Annual Inside Gaming AwardsBest SoundWon[107]
Best Voice ActingWon
Game of the YearNominated[108]
Most ImmersiveNominated
Best StoryNominated
Gamers' ChoiceNominated
Cheat Code Central's 7th Annual Cody AwardsGame of the YearWon[109]
Studio of the Year (Naughty Dog)Won[110]
Best Male Character (Joel)Won[111]
Best Female Character (Ellie)Won[112]
Best PlayStation GameWon[113]
Best Sound2nd Place[114]
Best GraphicsNominated[115]
Best Action/Adventure GameNominated[116]
Spike VGX 2013Studio of the Year (Naughty Dog)Won[117]
Best PlayStation GameWon
Best Voice Actor (Troy Baker as Joel)Won
Best Voice Actress (Ashley Johnson as Ellie)Won
Game of the YearNominated
Best Action Adventure GameNominated
Best SoundtrackNominated
GameSpot's Game of the Year 2013 AwardsPS3 Game of the YearWon[118]
Game of the YearNominated[119]
Hardcore Gamer's Game of the Year Awards 2013Game of the YearWon[120]
Best PS3 GameWon[121]
Best Action GameWon[122]
Best Developer (Naughty Dog)Won[123]
Best New Character (Ellie)Won[124]
Best New IPWon[125]
Best Voice ActingWon[126]
Best WritingWon[127]
The Troy Baker Award (Troy Baker as Joel)Won[128]
Best Original SoundtrackNominated[129]
Best Sound DesignNominated[130]
Best StoryNominated[131]
Destructoid's Best of 2013Game of the YearWon[132]
Community ChoiceWon[133]
Best Console ExclusiveWon[134]
Best VisualsNominated[135]
Best StoryNominated[136]
Best Action GameNominated[137]
Best Character (Ellie)Nominated[138]
Best Character (Joel)Nominated
Edge Awards 2013Best Audio DesignWon[139]
Best Game2nd Place[140]
Studio of the Year (Naughty Dog)2nd Place[141]
2014IGN's Best of 2013Game of the YearWon[142]
Best Overall Action-Adventure GameWon[143]
Best Overall Graphics - TechnologyWon[144]
Best Overall SoundWon[145]
PS3 Game of the YearWon[146]
Best PS3 Action-Adventure GameWon[147]
Best PS3 Multiplayer GameWon[148]
Best PS3 GraphicsWon[149]
Best PS3 SoundWon[150]
Best PS3 StoryWon[151]
Best Overall Graphics - Art DesignNominated[152]
Best Overall MusicNominated[153]
Best Overall StoryNominated[154]
GameTrailers Game of the Year Awards 2014Game of the YearWon[155]
Best StoryWon
Best Third Person ShooterWon
Best PlayStation ExclusiveWon
Best GraphicsNominated
Best SoundtrackNominated
41st Annie AwardsBest Animated Video GameWon[156]
66th Annual Writers Guild of America AwardsOutstanding Achievement in Videogame WritingWon[157]
14th Annual Game Developers Choice AwardsGame of the YearPending[158]
Best DesignPending
Best NarrativePending
Best TechnologyPending
Best Visual ArtPending
17th Annual DICE Awards
Game of the YearWon[159]
Outstanding Achievement in Game DirectionWon
Outstanding Innovation in GamingWon
Online Game of the YearNominated
Adventure Game of the YearWon
Outstanding Achievement in Visual EngineeringWon
Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay EngineeringNominated
Outstanding Achievement in StoryWon
Outstanding Achievement in Sound DesignWon
Outstanding Character Performance (Ashley Johnson as Ellie)Won
Outstanding Character Performance (Troy Baker as Joel)Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in AnimationWon
Outstanding Achievement in Art DirectionWon
BAFTA Video Game Awards 2013
Best GamePending[160]
Action & AdventurePending
Game DesignPending
MultiplayerPending
StoryPending
MusicPending
Artistic AchievementPending
Audio AchievementPending
Performer (Ashley Johnson as Ellie)Pending
Performer (Troy Baker as Joel)Pending

Film

On November 25, 2013 Sony registered a domain name that suggested a film version of The Last of Us might be made.[161]

Sequel

According to the website Omelete, Naughty Dog is working on a sequel for the PlayStation 4, with launch scheduled for 2015.[162] In an interview for Eurogamer, Neil Druckmann said they currently are considering its options regarding a sequel.[163]

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External links