I admit it. Naughty Dog got me.
The Last of Us looks like a great concept. Sort of a mix between I Am Legend, The Walking Dead and ObsCure, it’s an interesting horror concept that hasn’t really been tried before. Sure, we’ve had zombies and cityscapes and mutants by the bucket load, but a survival horror game where the relationship between two survivors – a grizzled, gruff hunter survivor and a teenage girl – is the real star. Or at least on a par with fantastic looking infected people/creatures and the gorgeous, wild destruction of a city landscape.
There was notably not very much in the way of any gameplay reveal, and it is this that bothers me.
The reason for my concern is the Dead Island trailer, which was cinematic and gorgeous in its potential. But for its emotive, deep and complex artistry, the final finished game – whilst still brilliant – bore absolutely no relation to that trailer. It was an action-packed, slick but slightly buggy game that focused a lot on gathering and questing, but with no actual choice or deep, emotive punch.
And that is why, when confronted with The Last of Us trailer, I temper what I can see being offered with suspicion that, really, the finished product may not push any boundaries at all – it may simply be an amalgamation of what we have seen previously in the genre. For all the shine and potential of the trailer, it’s probably a wiser tactic to just wait for actual in-game gameplay. In game graphics in that trailer? We’ve heard that before. Multiple times.
I want Naughty Dog to prove me wrong though, because the potential they’re promising is amazing, and it has been too many years since the genre was pushed in any way – Resident Evil 4 dared to move into a new style of play, whereas the sublime Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly took what it had done and ramped it up to defining an entire genre in one fell swoop.
It would be brilliant to see this game be a rare genre-defining masterpiece. But until we see ACTUAL GAMEPLAY Naughty Dog, we’re going to have to sit down with our arms crossed looking all stern and serious.
Show us what you’ve got, not what your imaginations think you have. Then we’ll talk.