Unlike previous State of Play presentations, where PlayStation would make a variety of announcements about new games for the platform, today’s presentation only had one game to show. Fortunately, that game is one of the year’s most hotly anticipated titles, The Last of Us Part II.
A direct sequel to the 2013 hit, the game sees Ellie settle down in Jacksonville, Wyoming, where for once things seem to be going right. The town seems to avoid the mass suffering of the outside world, and there looks to be a budding romance between her and another resident, Dina. Then, Ellie and the town “suffer a violent and traumatizing event,” in the words of creative director Neil Druckmann, and Ellie ventures outside Jacksonville “in search of retribution and justice.”
If you’re avoiding the recent leaks, not much is officially known about the game’s overall story, and the new footage doesn’t do much to unravel the mystery. Naughty Dog is doing its best to keep things under wraps, and we won’t know the full detail until we play the game for ourselves.
Whatever her motivations are, Ellie ventures to Seattle, Washington, where she encounters the Washington Liberation Front, a militia group that overthrew the local government and rules the area with an iron fist. She also has to worry about the Seraphites, also known as the “Scars,” who run a religious cult and specialize in stealth.
According to Druckmann, the game will feature more open environments, the largest areas Naughty Dog has had up to this point. As well as offering more angles to approach or avoid conflicts, Druckmann also mentions being able to find new, presumably missable, areas, items and “side narratives,” possibly referring to sidequests?
The “Infected” that caused civilization’s collapse 25 years ago are still a threat, with the most zombie-like “Runners” being even more common and aggressive than in the previous game. There’s also a new type of Infected called “Shamblers,” which expel corrosive spores when they get near you. Druckmann also teases another form of Infected, which he describes as the game’s “most terrifying and lethal” encounters. They sound friendly.
The presentation also shows various other features throughout, such as the ability to break glass to navigate environments and to use enemies as a human shield, and the new challenge of evading guard dogs, who can follow your scent to alert their owners.
As in The Last of Us’ DLC, Left Behind, various parties will sometimes come into contact with one another, letting Ellie pit them against each other to take out the remainder. The presentation shows human adversaries pitted against a group of Infected, but perhaps the WLF and Seraphites will come into contact at some point as well?
The latter half of the presentation is an extended gameplay sequence where Ellie traverses a half-sunken hospital. She traverses through an underwater section that hopefully feels better to control than the previous game, before jumping out and interrogating someone playing Hotline Miami on a PlayStation Vita before killing her.
The sequence then shows off use of the silenced gun and stealth takedowns, before Ellie blows her cover and has to use the previously described abilities to either kill or escape her assailants. It’s expectedly polished and far cleaner than the panicked fumbling you’d see if you were forced to watch me play the game. Still, it still gives a good idea of what moment-to-moment gameplay should look like in the final game, which looks to be mostly similar to the original while adding a few new wrinkles.
Nothing in the presentation was overly shocking or revelatory, but hopefully that means The Last of Us Part II is still full of surprises beyond what’s been officially announced. The game launches June 19 on PlayStation 4.