Well according to the game’s creative director and writer, The Last of Us is meant to “change the f***ing industry”. What is it going to change? Crappy story telling according to Naughty Dog, who are pretty good at weaving stories already judging by the Uncharted series – but I’ve yet to play the third one.
Speaking to Eurogamer, creative director and writer Neil Druckmann lamented the fact that we’re all becoming complacent when it comes to game narratives. He believes that we accept any old schlock these days and we’re more than willing to praise a game’s crappy narrative when in actual fact it should be penalised for it. This, according to Druckmann, is mainly the reviewers’ fault (shame on us!) and it’s this complacency towards game narrative that’s preventing the industry from moving forward.
The Last of Us, revealed at last weekend’s Spike TV VGAs (see the trailer here) is meant to be the remedy for the industry’s ailing narrative temperament. Totally ironic when you consider the game is about a disease that turns humanity into a bunch of hideous, bloodthirsty mutants!
The Last of Us is about two people trying to survive on what’s left of Earth after this disease has turned everyone icky. Joel and Ellie have a father-daughter relationship, but they aren’t related. The story, Druckmann promises, will focus on this relationship and the limits the two characters go to in order to survive.
“This is going to sound corny, and it might not appeal to gamers, but I would say [The Last of Us] is a love story. It’s not a romantic love story; it’s a love story about a father-daughter-like relationship. We approached this genre because we felt no-one is getting to the heart of it. It tells you something about the human condition – that’s what you want to do as a storyteller. We’re not saying every game needs a strong, compelling and dramatic story, but if you are going to make a narrative-based game then you better learn the craft.”
So it looks like we’re going to be in for an emotional game then. Adding to that, Naughty Dog has confirmed that the soundtrack for The Last of Us is being composed by two-times Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla. Listen to the music towards the end of the reveal trailer to hear what Santaolalla has created for the game so far. He won Oscars for his musical scores for Brokeback Mountain and Babel.
Naughty Dog has always prided themselves on creating cinematic adventures. The Uncharted series arguably represents the zenith of cinematic videogames; it’s comforting to know that Druckmann was the lead designer and co-writer for Uncharted 2. With him at the creative helm of The Last of Us, we could be in for quite a treat.