The scene isn’t new, but it hasn’t gotten old.
In a moment from The Last of Us — Naughty Dog‘s upcoming PS3-exclusive, post-apocalyptic survival thriller — Joel and his daughter Ellie, the game’s two protagonists, drive into a ghostly silent, wildly overgrown and rusted downtown Pittsburgh. It’s not long before they reach a fork in the road, the left end clogged by a steel blockade of corroded cars and buses.
Joel — whom voice actor Troy Baker has described as an anti-hero — is faced with one of undoubtedly many complex decisions: They can turn back, to the serenity and relative safety of the countryside they just left. Or they can turn right, where their progress might not be hindered, but a league of anxious adversaries (human or zombie) might be lying in wait.
They turn right, deeper and unhidden into the heart of world where Naughty Dog says stealth and survival go hand in hand. It’s not long before a man wanders out onto the street in front of them, appearing wounded as he cries out for help. Joel stops for a split-second; thinks.
How far Naughty Dog wants to blur the human/zombie line by potentially having players brush with humans of ambiguous morality, we haven’t yet seen. What we do know is that Joel and Ellie are last people each other have after the Cordyceps-like fungus that germinated in ants spread to uproot the whole of human civilization. Ambush or not, there’s only one way this encounter plays out.
Joel hits the gas; the man in their path pulls a gun. The battered truck’s engine roars away any doubt: it’s kill or be killed. A bullet through the windshield, body off the bumper, and bus into the rear tire later, the duo find their vehicle spinning out of control and crashing through the sealed-off entrance of an abandoned grocery store. Hank Williams’ wistful ballad “Alone and Forsaken” carries the screen to black.
The trailer has all the makings of a teaser, and we’re hoping that when Naughty Dog brings their newest IP to E3 this June we get to see the game shine in earnest. True, we already know from the smattering of The Last of Us’ story details, screenshots, and developer interviews that the ensuing scene finds Joel and Ellie trapped in the store — fighting off their oncoming wave of attackers with a strategic blend of stealth, teamwork, and makeshift weaponry (think bricks, lumber, and old fashioned fists). Seeing it come to life, however, while perhaps hinting at what’s next, can only bolster the excitement for one of our most anticipated games.
The Last of Us is expected to release in late 2012/early 2013, exclusively for the PS3.
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