It doesn't feel like that long ago since The Last of Us became an unexpected smash hit, blending the familiar zombie apocalypse scenario with memorable, flawed characters and a revolutionary take on survival horror gameplay. In practice, however, Naughty Dog's triumphant new IP released nearly four years ago, and in that time games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fallout 4, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have released to similar critical acclaim. Even still, however, there's something about the characters of Joel and Ellie that cement them as some of the best survival horror heroes to have ever graced video games, and they've remained popular despite their long absence from consoles.
Now that The Last of Us 2 is finally in development, however, it's time for Joel and Ellie to step back into the spotlight with upgraded graphics and a new story to tell. While there hasn't been much in the way of details regarding The Last of Us 2 released yet, a cosplay from JorRei Cosplay shows just how cool Joel and Ellie could look with improved graphics, breathing life into Naughty Dog's already impressive virtual renders.
The cosplay recently resurfaced on the /r/gaming sub-reddit, where it has quickly exploded in a flurry of upvotes and compliments for the two cosplayers. The details are remarkable, whether it be the patches of dirt on the two heroes' clothes or the expressions they're wearing - Joel, world-weary and alert, or Ellie, bemused and slightly bored. While the costumes are impressive themselves, the commitment both cosplayers have to portraying their iconic characters really takes the presentation to the next level.
That kind of philosophy is exactly what Naughty Dog itself is applying to the development of The Last of Us 2 as well. Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann has gone on record as saying that the bar has been set by a recent Guerrilla Games release, and that The Last of Us 2 will attempt to surpass Horizon Zero Dawn's breath-taking graphical prowess.
While it is certainly a high bar to set, Naughty Dog only needs to look as far as JorRei's cosplay for inspiration on how to make Joel and Ellie appear even more lifelike in The Last of Us 2. It is often said that life imitates art, but perhaps it is time for that philosophy to come full circle and have that imitation go on to inform the next evolution of the art that inspired it.
The Last of Us 2 is currently in development for PS4.
Source: JorRei Cosplay