Survival adventure game The Last of Us is out this summer, but it’s been in development for over three years and game studio Naughty Dog has a great deal of both funding and creative energy invested in it. At one point, the developers claimed that what they wanted to do was to “redefine” gaming, and to create a video game that was no longer a game with winners or losers, but simply “an experience.”
It’s certainly an approach that’s becoming more common, as creatives in the video game industry begin to challenge the notions of winning and losing – and indeed the nature of gaming – by presenting protagonists that aren’t necessarily heroes, and battles that can never really be won. As far as settings go, you can’t really get much better than the world of The Last of Us, in which humanity is stricken by a zombie-like plague, and there isn’t much of a civilization left to be saved.
Right now, we know next to nothing about the multiplayer in The Last of Us, and Naughty Dog aren’t giving much away yet. However, lead artist Nate Wells recently claimed on Twitter that even if they were to give away details, nothing they could say would do the actual gaming experience justice:
@prettylarceny And I REALLY can't prepare you for the best MP ever conceived....— Nate Wells (@PrettyLarceny) May 15, 2013
That’s bold talk for any video game creative, but the Naughty Dog team might be one of the select developers by whom such a promise provokes more excitement than it does skepticism. In a lot of cases, multiplayer in games with a strong focus on the singleplayer campaign can feel like it’s been shoehorned in at the demand of the publisher, rather than formed as an organic extension of the gameplay, and we’ve seen more than a couple of unabashed Call of Duty clones in recent years.
However, there are quite a few aspects of The Last of Us that do seem like they’d lend themselves rather naturally to multiplayer. One only has to look to legends of cooperative FPS zombie games like the Left 4 Dead series to see that when you’ve got infected people coming at you from all directions, it’s good to know that someone has your back (other than the Jockeys, obviously).
Even the singleplayer campaign of The Last of Us is built around cooperative survival, with Joel and Ellie as the two central characters and other NPCs dipping in and out to help or hinder them. The developers have said that the bond between the characters is absolutely crucial to the telling of the story, and is really what the game is all about. Having said that, the multiplayer could also be built around the packs of human hunters that were seen in the latest gameplay footage – it would be pretty fun to play as one of the humans who’s been turned nasty by the fall of civilization.
Do Wells’ words leave you hyped to try out The Last of Us‘ multiplayer, or do you think the claim is way too bold?
The Last of Us arrives in stores on June 14, 2013, exclusively for the PS3.
Source: Nate Wells