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‘The Last Of Us Part II’: all you need to know about the release date, plot, news, gameplay and more

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Buckle up gang, we’re heading back to Jackson County

The countdown to The Last Of Us Part II has already begun. After almost a decade of wait and several delays, the second instalment in Naughty Dog and Sony’s critically acclaimed Last Of Us franchise will finally be released this June.

As you gear up to reunite with Joel and Ellie to battle a fresh breed of Clickers and face new enemies, here’s everything you need to know about The Last Of Us Part II. (Take note, potential spoilers ahead!)

The Last Of Us Part II is the highly-anticipated sequel to Naughty Dog’s 2013 role-playing game, The Last Of Us. The game picks up five years after the original, in which its two protagonists, Joel and Ellie, fought their way across a post-apocalyptic United States that’s been ravaged by a modern fungal disease known as The Cordyceps Brain Infection.

Since the events at the end of the first game, both Joel and Ellie have gone their separate ways. But when tragedy strikes, the pair reunite on a path of vengeance.

The Last Of Us series is published by Sony Interactive Entertainment and developed by American video game company Naughty Dog, which is also behind the iconic Uncharted video game franchise.

Good news: after several months of delay, The Last Of Us Part II will finally land on June 19.

In late April, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced that the second instalment of its Last Of Us series will arrive in the summer. The game also went gold in May, as confirmed and announced by the game’s director, Neil Druckmann.

Sony’s confirmation comes shortly after the company previously revealed that it would postpone the release of The Last Of Us Part II – which was originally scheduled for February 2020 – indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The publisher announced the “difficult decision” in a tweet on April 2 through the official PlayStation blog. It cited logistic issues caused by COVID-19, which prevented it “from providing the launch experience our players deserve”.

The Naughty Dog team also added its own statement then that it was “nearly done” with the game’s development but was forced to delay the game “due to logistics beyond our control”.

As mentioned earlier, The Last Of Us Part II takes place several years after the events of the first game. After barely escaping the Fireflies – a group of guerilla fighters – in Salt Lake City, Joel and Ellie return to Jackson County where other remaining survivors, including Joel’s brother Tommy and his wife Maria, have built a safe haven. However their peaceful settlement is one day interrupted by a violent occurrence, which forces Ellie back on the road to seek revenge.

Yes. In fact, Sony has dropped several trailers for The Last Of Us Part II over the years. The first preview arrived as early as 2016, giving fans a first glimpse at Ellie all grown up.

At the 2017 Paris Games Week, Sony revealed the second trailer which presented a new threat in the form of a violent cult, who practice religious sacrifices. It also introduced two other characters, a pair of siblings Yara and Lev.

During 2018’s E3, Sony shared its gameplay reveal trailer which introduced more new characters to the story, including Dina and Jesse, Ellie’s friends at the Jackson settlement. The trailer also showcased Ellie’s new skills as she faces off members of the mysterious new cult, now revealed as the Seraphites.

The Last Of Us Part II received a more action-packed trailer in September 2019, which follows Ellie as she begins to journey across the country once again. It also confirmed which characters will return in the sequel.

The official story trailer arrived in May 2020. This time, it gives players a wider look at the scope of the game, providing some context as to what transpired between Ellie and Joel since the last game.

In June 2020, Sony released a dark new cinematic TV trailer, which showcased no gameplay footage. Instead, it features cinematic CGI cuts between scenes of Ellie playing her guitar and singing for Dina, and her encountering Clickers and other highly dangerous survivors.

Ellie – who is now a young adult – will return as the main protagonist of The Last Of Us Part II. She will also be the lead and “only” playable role this time around, according to creative director Neil Druckmann, as per IGN.

It was first assumed that Joel’s character had died before the events of The Last Of Us Part II and would only appear as flashbacks or in Ellie’s imagination. However, the latest trailers confirmed that he will return to fight alongside Ellie, though this time as the secondary lead.

As the September 2019 trailer confirmed, Tommy will also return in The Last Of Us Part II, but it’s currently unclear how big his role will be in the sequel. Maria, however, has not made an appearance in any of the previews.

It’s no surprise that the sequel will bring the return of the Infected, but the game’s director Neil Druckmann confirmed they will have evolved in the sequel. He also added that the new game will introduce two new enemy types: Shamblers, and a currently unknown enemy that will only be revealed when players try the game out for themselves.

In the fourth and final episode of Inside The Last Of Us Part II, released on June 3, the Naughty Dog team break down what the world has to offer, from the safe and tranquil community in Jackson, Wyoming to the hopeless and oppressive scenes of Seattle. According to the developers, the world in the upcoming sequel has evolved, and so have its threats, therefore requiring players to make tougher decisions and strategic plans.

On May 28, Sony and Naughty Dog released over 20 minutes of The Last Of Us Part II gameplay footage during the latest State Of Play broadcast. It showcased eight minutes of previously unseen and uninterrupted in-game footage. The video also introduced several gameplay mechanics, including Ellie’s ability to swim, an upgrade from the character’s inability and fear of swimming in the first game.

On May 19, the game creators shared more gameplay details in its video series, Inside The Last Of Us Part II. It revealed that the sequel will feature a more open world concept compared to the first game. The developers have created a “legitimate urban environment” where players can better explore their surroundings.

“We really wanted to challenge ourselves to make a world that really felt like a real space … and didn’t feel like a series of combat encounters,” co-game director Anthony Newman said. He added, “We’ve gone so far in making the level design open that there are full-scripted sequences that you may completely miss.”

The developers also shared that Ellie’s build – compared to Joel’s – will affect how players play the game. There’s the addition of a “jump”, “dodge” and “prone” button, as well as the ability to crawl and hide under small spaces. The game also offers a new “escape” option. However, director Neil Druckmann noted that with all the new additions, they’ve also made the enemies smarter to keep players on their toes.

On May 29, developer Naughty Dog shared another episode of Inside The Last Of Us Part II, in which the team broke down the game’s minute details. According to the developers, the game will feature an “insane attention to detail”, with the help of new technology developed by the studio to make its characters feel more ‘human’.

“Now we can make veins pop on their forehead if they’re really angry. Or likewise we can redden their skin – could be based on emotion, or could be based on what’s happening to them physically,” game director Neil Druckmann explained. “How red their eyes get is controllable, how tears flow off their eyes and their face is all-new tech that we’ve developed for this game.”

In a June 2020 interview with The Verge, lead gameplay designer Emilia Schatz and lead systems designer Matthew Gallant discussed the game’s varied accessibility options, which help players finish the game without getting stuck due to difficult quick time events or not knowing where to go. The developers also had created “around 60” accessibility settings for the upcoming sequel.

“Accessibility for us is about removing barriers that are keeping players from completing a game. It’s not about dumbing down a game or making a game easy. What do our players need in order to play the game in parity with everyone else?” said Schatz.

No, at least not right now. Fans who enjoyed the Factions multiplayer mode in The Last Of Us will be disappointed to know that that experience, unfortunately, won’t be included in the sequel.

In September 2019, Naughty Dog tweeted a statement saying it “made the difficult choice that Last Of Us Part II would not include an online mode”. “The single-player campaign is far and away the most ambitious project Naughty Dog has ever taken,” the studio wrote. “Likewise, as development began on the evolution of Factions mode from The Last Of Us Part I, the vision of the team grew beyond an additional mode that could be included with our enormous single-player campaign.”

Naughty Dog, however, hinted that Factions mode is still expected to return someday, although “not as part of The Last Of Us Part II”. “When and where it will be realised is still to be determined,” it added. This could mean that Factions might be made into a standalone spin-off game or a DLC for The Last Of Us Part II.

The Last Of Us Part II will arrive exclusively on PlayStation 4 consoles. Plans to release the game for the PC and Xbox One are yet to be determined, though the move is highly unlikely as Naughty Dog was acquired by Sony in 2001. So far, neither The Last Of Us nor its Uncharted series have been released on non-Sony platforms.

Right now, it’s unclear how long it will take to complete The Last Of Us Part II. The duration to finish the game also depends on the player’s difficulty setting.

Considering the first game ran for about 15 hours, players can expect to set aside at least 20 to 30 hours to play The Last Of Us Part II as it is “about 50 per cent bigger” than its predecessor, according to the game’s co-writer Halley Gross.

“Not just in length, but in like, all of our levels are bigger and wider, we have more cinematics, we have more characters, we have more animations,” she told Gamerbraves in September 2019. Gross added, “We have larger melee systems. In every way, the game is bigger and better.”

Naughty Dog’s vice president and the game’s director Neil Druckmann also revealed in a 2019 PlayStation blogpost that The Last Of Us Part II is the studio’s “most ambitious and longest game in our 35-year history”.

On June 26, Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann confirmed that the company has “no plans” for a The Last Of Us Part II DLC. He revealed that the studio is not working on any additional content for the game. However, the confirmation that The Last Of Us Part II won’t be getting a DLC doesn’t mean the studio is done with the title. Naughty Dog is reportedly toying with the idea of a standalone multiplayer The Last Of Us game.

The original The Last Of Us had a season pass which added new skins, items and maps. There was also the standalone expansion prequel, The Last Of Us: Left Behind.

Yes, sadly. In April 2020, it was reported that the gameplay, including important plot points and the ending of The Last Of Us Part II, had found its way onto the internet. In an official tweet, Naughty Dog called the leak “disappointing”, urging fans to “avoid spoilers” and not ruin the experience for others. “No matter what you see and hear, the final experience will be worth it,” the studio added.

Sony confirmed later that it had identified the leakers, and that the people responsible were in no way affiliated with the publishing company or Naughty Dog, quashing earlier rumours that the leaks came from a disgruntled employee. Sony has since declined to comment further on the matter. Investigations are still currently underway.

However, in a May interview with CNET, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan stated that demand for The Last Of Us Part II remains strong although major story spoilers were leaked earlier.

On June 5, Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann told Eurogamer that the ending of The Last Of Us Part II has not been spoiled, despite the leaks surrounding the much-anticipated game. “There’s all these theories about what the ending is but the ending is not out there. You actually don’t know how it all comes together,” he said.

Druckmann also addressed the leaks in the interview, saying “They sucked. You’ve worked on something for so long, and then to have it come out in the way that it did was disappointing, to myself and other members of the team.”

The Last Of Us Part II is available for pre-order via the PlayStation Store. There are a variety of pre-order bundles on offer, from the standard edition (£54.99) to the digital deluxe edition (£64.99). Each bundle will include bonus in-game items such as extra ammo for Ellie’s pistol and a crafting manual for recipes and upgrades.

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