A look back at ‘The Last Of Us 2’s’ development

Perhaps no game was as anticipated as The Last of Us 2 this year, and now fans are disappointed that the original May release date won’t follow through as scheduled. Since the beginning, however, the game has had a shaky development phase.

Developed by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us was an instant classic when it launched for the PlayStation 3 in 2013. A successful DLC and a remaster on the PlayStation 4 later, and fans were obviously begging for more of Joel and Ellie’s story.

The game was praised for a lot of things, including its core gameplay mechanics that put the player’s survival skill to the test. Perhaps the best asset of the original was the gripping storytelling courtesy of the developers.

How work on the sequel began

The success and end of the original game made it obvious that there will be another game in the fray. After the release of the remaster of The Last of Us on the PlayStation 4, work on the sequel had already begun. However, the developers were busy with Uncharted 4 at the time as well. Full production was only in motion once Uncharted 4 released in May 2016.

After a few months of anticipation, the sequel was officially announced in December 2016 during the PlayStation Experience. The trailer was short, but it featured a grown-up Ellie and an even older Joel. This was enough to get fans all hyped up for the game.

Production woes

Burnout from the original game as well as Uncharted 4 forced game director Bruce Straley to ditch The Last of Us 2. Eventually, he left in September 2017. To assist creative director Neil Druckmann in creating the game, Naughty Dog added Hally Gross from Westworld.

The developers also added Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau as writers, and once again, the team behind the sequel is ready.

All throughout this time, however, Naughty Dog was split in development as it was working on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy as well.

New characters make debut

The second trailer was eventually revealed at Paris Games Week in 2017. Not only did it gave us more of the story, but it also introduced additional characters such as Leve, Emily, Yara, and another unnamed woman.

From 2017 to 2018, we were shown bits of the gameplay, which showed better stealth mechanics, smarter AI, and upgrades to the game’s crafting and survival mechanics.

Release and indefinite delay

During Sony’s 2019 State of Play live stream, it was announced that the game would launch on Feb. 20, 2020. A week later, Druckmann himself announced that the release was moved to May 29 instead. This was because the team wanted to polish the game completely.

On Apr. 2 this year, the game was announced indefinitely because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Druckmann then noted that the game is almost complete, but they wanted everyone to enjoy the game at the same time. With the current conditions, that would be impossible for them.

Naughty Dog pulled out the game from the PlayStation Store and even issued refunds. Thus, The Last of Us 2 was out of reach yet again.


Image used courtesy of BagoGames

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