Saturday, December 10, 2011

How Will 'The Last of Us' Fare Against Uncharted?(PS3)


Well, it seems that those crazy dogs down in Santa Monica at Naughty Dog Inc. are at it again this time working on 'The Last of Us' that's obviously, exclusive to the PlayStation 3. It appears to run on the same Naughty Dog Engine that Uncharted ran on and by the looks of the trailer shown at the VGA's, tells of a girl named Ellie, who seriously looks like Ellen Page and may be voiced by her? Eh? No? Alright... and Joel, a guy that looks sort of like Dom Santiago from Gears of War 3 and is going to be a zombie survival game that we thought was rumored to be made my Epic Games as they may have hinted so long ago.

Naughty Dog is therefore apparently hard at work on a zombie sort of game, which we've seen a lot of in the past. Yet, it really begs the question as to how this sort of a game is going to fare when its pitted up against Naughty Dog's ultra critically acclaimed and Game of the Year franchise. Bruce Straley (Game Director) and Neil Druckman (Creative Director) of Naughty Dog will be helming this project and we're assuming that Neil Druckman has been penning the script as we await maybe to hear that Amy Hennig is penning the script. But, I think that this is a legitimate argument to make and am curious to see if any larger journalist skims over this and it catches on.

You see, for Naughty Dog this generation of consoles has been to lure the guys girlfriend or the kids mother or father in to check out the game thinking the thing is a movie. Did it succeed? Well, not at my place. I lock myself away from the world and get lost in a fictional world. But, that's how this has all gone. The Uncharted Series has always been that sort of PG-13 experience. What's interesting here is that 'The Last of Us' seems to be turning the tides and taking Naughty Dog's reputation into a more mature audience. (Are you following me so far?) This is an argument I made concerning Gears of War sales against Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception sales and it seems Naughty Dog may have won the fight. But, for Naughty Dog, this is big.

When you look back at Crash Bandicoot or Jak & Daxter, these are games that are designed for a really broad audience. These were EVERYONE rated games. Jak & Daxter followed right along until probably Jak 3 flipped the tables and totally went for a Teen audience that was still tolerable by most parents.

At the end of the day, I couldn't be more excited by this game and really looking forward to playing it. I've been getting tired of zombie games and have been ready for something new. The fact that this game could likely be taking place in New York is cliche for games but, I know Naughty Dog's reputation and they've NEVER let their gamers down. Neil Druckman did incredibly well with Uncharted 2 though, Eye of Indra was poorly written. I'm hoping as well that Naughty Dog really doesn't try to overdo it. If you've been paying close attention to the media and gaming in detail, Bulletstorm was brought up as well as its dialogue. I've got some fairly sensitive ears and I do come a religious background but, I hope that this is going to be a pretty tame game.

Really when all is said and done, its a given at the moment Joel blows the head off of the infected that Naughty Dog are headed into uncharted territory (no pun intended), but this is no question going to be a Mature rated game. The ESRB doesn't need to post up RP's for everything. But the question remains the same, can Naughty Dog really pull this off? Their fanbase is now centered in clearly child driven and family based content not over doing themselves. Its a really complicated thought, I suppose but, I'm really excited to see it when all is said and done.

We've also learned that Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Lead Designer Mark Richard Davies has been on board Naughty Dog working on 'The Last of Us' rather than Uncharted 3. At first glance it appears as though things have come full circle as Enslaved was patterned after Uncharted as though it were a setup and now the games Lead Designer goes to Naughty Dog to work with the original inspirer's bringing with him his post apocalyptic idea's to meld with Naughty Dog undeniable talent and constantly applauded Best Graphics and Game of the Year reputation. It will be interesting to see how Naughty Dog's new second team under the direction of Davies, Druckman and Straley do to live up to that reputation.


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