Revealed with buzz and released to acclaim, Naughty Dog's The Last of Us hasn't strayed for a second from the path of success. The zombie-apocalypse survival epic was number 3 (out of 15) on our list of the most anticipated games of 2013. And awarding it a rare 5 out of 5 stars when it released this June, we're wondering if the optimism wasn't understated.
Nevertheless, the PlayStation 3 has seen many a landmark title pass its tray over the last seven years (the same, of course, could be said of the Xbox 360 and Wii as they slip into their twilight years); broken records are no small feat.
Yet according to Sony, The Last of Us has surpassed even its own sanguine expectations. The publisher has announced that the game has sold -- not just shipped -- 3.4 million units worldwide as of July 3rd -- three weeks after its launch on June 14th. The figures have made it the fastest-selling title in the history of the PlayStation 3.
Here's Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, on the milestone achievement:
"These sales figures are a testament to the blockbuster quality of The Last of Us. The teams at Naughty Dog are true visionaries and their storytelling capabilities are second to none, this title is an undisputed demonstration of that. SCE continues to be committed to delivering unique gameplay experiences that redefine the interactive entertainment industry and The Last of Us is a perfect example.
We won't belie the richness of The Last of Us's dramatic narrative or the fun behind its visceral and clever gameplay mechanics. That said, it also helps that The Last of Us released amidst a literal and figurative dead pool of competition -- one that included the aforementioned, disappointing Marvel fighter, along with major titles such as Remember Me (June 4th) and NCAA Football 14 (July 9th) that failed to reach the heights fans were hoping for.
Still, like finding fun in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (and of course we're referring to exploring elegantly destroyed architecture), the success is well-earned. That the game appears to be selling at a shattering pace shines an equally bright light on its creators, gamers, and the state of the industry as whole as it nears a pivotal next-gen crossroads.
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.