Naughty Dog once said, in the lead up to the launch of Uncharted 4, that what really sells a game is all the little things- the little things that no player would stop to think about, but the little things that, when behaving the way they would in the real world, further the sense of immersion. These are the guys who once spent a ridiculous amount of time programming just how every grain of rice would fly off in all directions once Nathan Drake burst through a rice sack on his scooter- they felt that realistic behavior here was necessary to sell the game’s authenticity.
So it should come as no surprise that they are paying almost ridiculous attention to detail with The Last of Us Part 2 as well. You can see it in the continuity with the smallest bit of flavor dialog from the original The Last of Us– remember, as NeoGAF points out, how in the first game, Joel promises to teach Ellie how to play the guitar? And here Ellie is in the debut trailer for the sequel, playing a guitar.
But then Naughty Dog also get more granular with their attention to detail- she is shown to be hurt and wounded, and the general implication of the trailer is that she is hurt after just having been in frenzied combat. Though the trailer doesn’t show us this, she is bloodied, and in a house filled with dead bodies. And you can see her hands shaking– as they would for anybody after the adrenaline rush of combat has subsided. Not only that, you can also see her leaving little stains of blood on the guitar as she plays, and you can see little motes of dust flying next to the guitar as she plays- this is extremely impressive dedication to getting the details right.
These guys at Naughty Dog are geniuses, and they take pride in the work they do. That is now abundantly clear. If The Last of Us Part 2 has as much thought put into it as its debut trailer did – and it will have more thought put into it, because that’s just how Naughty Dog are – then it will be a game to watch out for.