Naughty Dog Lowdown - Uncharted PS4 + The Last of Us Story DLC
The famed Santa Monica based developer came at us last night with updates on two of its most coveted, Sony exclusive IP’s. Let’s dig into the less enigmatic of the two announcements:
Undoubtedly my favorite title of the year, the third-person apocalyptic heartbreak simulator, The Last of Us, has had story DLC quietly in the works over the last several months. Now we finally know the name: Left Behind.
A prequel to Joel and Ellie’s giraffe filled adventure, Left Behind focuses on Ellie and Riley (first depicted in the comic American Dreams), a rebellious teen whom Ellie befriends within the military operated boarding school she attends. Spoiler alert: Expect your emotions to be damaged.
Priced at $14.99, Left Behind will hit PSN early 2014. Watch the teaser trailer hereabouts (light on the “trailer,” thick on the “teaser”).
And now for something cryptic. Naughty Dog announced a new Uncharted game! Annnnd… That’s it. ND swears there’s revealing hints to be found in this trailer, but it takes a better fan than I to be able to spot the bastards.
What’s certain is that it’s setting course exclusively for the PlayStation 4. What’s uncertain is everything else: Is Nathan Drake back? What’s the official title? When does it take place? Is the love of my virtual life Elena back?
Nothing official has been plotted, though rumors are already suggesting Sir Francis Drake may be the protagonist, making this Uncharted a period piece. More on this diddy as it develops, folks.
The Last of Us is Selling Like There’s No Tomorrow
For a game that many admit makes them cry within the first fifteen minutes, it is surely putting up its dukes at retail.
With 3.4 million boxed and digital copies sold in the three weeks since its release, Sony confirms The Last of Us is the fastest selling PlayStation 3 title of 2013.
I’m incapable of being surprised by this news. I’ve quickly called it one of my favorite games of all time and a modern masterwork of interactive storytelling. Naughty Dog, I even picked out a plump box quote from my review for your inevitable Game of the Year Edition: “It’s fucking awesome. It’s really just so very fucking awesome.”
'Course, the end of the world is far from over as the game's newly formed legion of instant fans still have story-based DLC roving their way in the near future. Plus, with numbers like that, you can bet Sony isn't keen on letting The Last of Us stand alone for long…
Not pictured: The mutated, twisted corpses of infected left to harden in the snow with an assortment of brick and bottle shaped indents in their skulls.
Naughty Dog: “There Are People in the Studio That Would Love to Come Back to These Characters”
So. What does having one of the most widely beloved and critically acclaimed games of this generation get you? “A sequel,” screamed every publisher on the face of the planet loud enough to sunder it.
That’d be the traditional school of thought. Like Hollywood, the gaming industry no longer puts their chips behind one-off, difficult to market affairs. Every time a new IP is born, publishers typically bank on it becoming an overnight franchise. But The Last of Us isn’t your typical IP. I saw something incredibly special and engrossing in the game and, more than apparently, I’m not alone. It’s a unique title with an ephemeral quality I sincerely doubt a sequel could replicate.
But does developer Naughty Dog feel the same? The game’s creative director and scribe, Neil Druckmann really doesn’t mind if a follow up never gets off the ground. “We were very conscious that we didn’t want to leave this story dangling,” said Druckmann to PlayStation blog. “If we never do a sequel, we’re okay with it because we told the story we needed to tell.”
Fair enough. A masterpiece usually doesn’t finish with “To Be Continued…” (unless we’re talking about Back to the Future, but I shouldn’t even have to spout such universally known facts). Speaking to Kotaku, however, The Last of Us sounds more like a misnomer than anything, with Druckmann stressing that this one journey — referring to the central plot set up in this game — is complete for Joel and Ellie, yet the rest of his team isn’t against further Cordyceps-tactular misadventures.
"…As far as whether we come back to Joel and Ellie or not, or whether we come back to the world or not, that’s all up in the air," said the writer. "I can tell you there are people in the studio that would love to come back to these characters, but the only way we would do it would be if we had something new, something meaningful to say. Because the last thing we would want to do is repeat ourselves."
I found the end of Joel and Ellie’s narrative deeply satisfying, but truth be told — and this is a lightweight spoiler — the finale does leave a wide enough door open for a continuation. Does it need it? Hell, no. Would I be against revisiting two of the most roundly developed and engaging characters in video game history? Hell, no.
Until The Next to Last of Us is a reality, fans of the instant classic are able to look forward to single-player DLC focusing on a side-story that Naughty Dog assures us will reveal more about the characters and the post-apocalyptic world they struggle to stay alive in.
There are games and then there are experiences. With Naughty Dog’s recent step up in pedigree through its widely acclaimed Uncharted trilogy, I went into The Last of Us expecting quality, of course, but I came out the other side of its campaign unquestionably floored.
I really hadn’t anticipated to have my very emotions put through the ringer like this. Over the course of about ten hours, I went on a grueling, thoughtful, gorgeous, and almost tough to swallow adventure that echoed the sentiments of countless apocalyptic literature and film so effectively that, often, it transcends the works it set out to pay respects to.
Let’s cut the pretense and get down to brass tacks. The Last of Us is not just the best game to come out of Naughty Dog’s doors, and it’s not just the best exclusive title the PlayStation 3 has ever housed. And it’s not just the best original IP of the year (which it is, even with more than half a year left of 2013). No, no, that’s too small of scale to view this rarity of a game on. Believe you me, my next words are not ones I loose unto the world lightly nor often:
The Last of Us is easily one of the best video games ever made.