'Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception' developer Naughty Dog revealed its new PlayStation 3 exclusive over the weekend, introducing 'The Last of Us' to an ecstatic Spike TV Video Game Awards crowd.
The game, which was showcased in a stunning new trailer, has caused a jubilee of excitement after a great 2011 for gamers.
Buy why should you care about this mysterious new game?
Naught Dog is developing
Naughty Dog is what some might call an "industry veteran". It's remembered for introducing Crash Bandicoot to the world in 1996, as well as the ageless Jak and Daxter series. Let's also not forget Nathan Drake in the explosive Uncharted games.
The developer is one of Sony's most prominent first-party teams, having been bought by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2001.
A number of Sony-owned developers, including Guerrilla Games, Sucker Punch Productions, Media Molecule, contribute "tech and ideas", along with ex-developer of the Halo series, Bungie.
That's a lot of prized brains contributing to one project, so we can expect that Naughty Dog's quality as a developer is going to improve.
The year's been officially dominated by sequels: Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, Killzone 3, Resistance 3, Infamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, Forza 4, just to name a few. So why haven't we seen more new and unique franchises being introduced for consoles? With all this talk of new hardware it seemed as though publishers were cautious to reveal new software for hardware that may be on the way out.
The announcements of Grand Theft Auto V, as well as pretty much every announcement at the VGAs, prove that 2012 may be just as big for gamers as any year before it. New, unique adventures from prominent developers is always a great thing, and it will be interesting to see what Naughty Dog can bring with a new challenge.
The trailer has apparently been cut up using in-engine cutscenes on a PlayStation 3. If that's true, the changes from Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception to The Last of Us is quite staggering. Check this out for more information.
Uncharted 2 dev team
The new project is being headed by studio game director Bruce Straley and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Lead Designer Neil Druckmann. The two have spoken about how they've "been working as a two team studio", allowing the team to work on two projects at once. Uncharted 2: Among Theives received wide critical acclaim, with it receiving numerous "Game of the Year" awards.
The Last of Us is a genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements to tell a character driven tale about a modern plague decimating mankind. Nature encroaches upon civilization, forcing remaining survivors to kill for food, weapons and whatever they can find.
Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States. They make for two fascinating characters, and there relationship is certainly one of the biggest mysteries to come out of the first trailer.
The game seems as though it will take place in a deserted New York City, where a nasty plague has wiped out much of the (civil) population. It may also visit other areas throughout the United States, and perhaps even the globe, but the initial imagery of a jungle-infest major city, not alike what we saw in I Am Legend with Will Smith, was certainly something to get excited about!
The game was teased aggressively leading into the weekend's VGAs, with numerous screenshots and videos surfacing ahead of its initial release. It had people talking about it before it was even officially announced, which showcases how successful the campaign was at tickling our senses. Hopefully we see more of it leading into the game's release.
Looking back at these screenshots suggest that the United States has fallen victim to a modern plague, causing infected people to change and mutate in some way. Quite clearly they're zombies -- blood-sucking ones that crave human flesh and blood -- but what caused the epidemic? Why are entire cities deserted, and why do some humans remain in the very cities plagued by these cannibals?
In a post-apocalyptic setting with unknown enemies, a mysterious modern plague and a narrative suggesting year's of oppression and hardship, we may be getting an entirely new, and reinvigorating, take on survival horror, a genre that has arguably lost a bit of flavour over the past few years.
By Gaetano Prestia