Naughty Dog’s latest third-person shooter The Last of Us is just over one month from release – and anticipation for the title continues to build. Even though Sony has already announced its PS3 successor, plenty of gamers are still eager to see how far the fan-favorite studio can push the current generation of hardware – especially since there’s no official word on potential Uncharted 4 development yet.
Still, while there’s been a steady stream of new gameplay details, including a detailed tour of the game’s “beautiful wasteland”, we have very little official information about the semi-human antagonists (that is assuming you didn’t read the recent story spoiler leak). Fortunately, Naughty Dog has unveiled a new featurette for The Last of Us – detailing the two different kinds of Infected as well as offering a bit more information on human protagonists Joel and Ellie.
In the video, the developers dig deep into the science-fiction premise of the game, stemming from an evolution of the cordyceps fungus, this time stressing the true horror behind the Infected victims – that they’re not just mindless zombies, they are “suffering human beings.” Early sneak peeks at the Infected enemy models were disturbing but later details, such as how the outbreak is spread, definitely added a new layer of terror and horror to the proceedings. Needless to say, while gamers are eager to play the final version of The Last of Us, the title is certainly poised to deliver a number of heart-breaking and downright gut-wrenching moments – especially if we’re forced to watch any central characters suffer through the early stages of an infection.
That said, once a person is contaminated by the modified cordyceps fungi, they’ll go through several stages of infection – resulting in two varied types of enemies in the game: Runners and Clickers.
According to the developers, runners are the earlier stage of infection – meaning that the infected can still see potential victims. As a result, enemy encounters with Runners will require Joel and Ellie to sneak around avoiding visual contact with Infected in the immediate area. The later stage of infection, the Clickers, are entirely blind – relying on audible cues and echolocation instead of sight. Run-ins with Clickers will mean that Joel and Ellie have to tread softly and avoid making noise to prevent Infecteds from detecting them.
As mentioned, the new featurette also touches on the main characters (as well as the game’s rich environments) – taking time to point out the intriguing juxtaposition between Joel, a cold as well as efficient killing-machine from pre-outbreak society and Ellie, who has never set foot outside the protected zone. No doubt, considering Naughty Dog’s character-focused resume, the game will play heavily on themes and story beats that we’ve seen developed in similar post-apocalyptic story lines – for example: Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Road. Like many post-apocalyptic travelers before them, Joel, the older world-worn hero will likely educate sheltered youngster, Ellie, about pre-apocalypse life, while attempting to survive and defend against hostile threats – in this case human and non-human alike.
Similar stories rarely shy away from grisly details, so expect The Last of Us to be a tense and emotionally draining experience – an experience that we can’t wait to play.
The Last of Us is a PS3 exclusive and releases June 14, 2013.
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