The Last of Us
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS3, PS4
Is it better to leave the title as a stand-alone game, or turn it into a mutli-titled franchise?
There’s no doubt that Naughty Dog makes some really great games. They creators of the Uncharted series wowed gamers this year with the release of “The Last of Us.” This game gave plenty of us a wonderfully in-depth and riveting experience; with a great story, character development and incredibly suspenseful gameplay.
It was truly a unique experience that any developer would have trouble recreating. That’s not to say that they won’t try to replicate and improve the experience, but is it the best idea for them? Naughty Dog has a great reputation for creating new properties, and some wonderfully detailed worlds and characters exist in them. If there is another “The Last of Us,” should it be developed by Naughty Dog? More to the point, should there even be a sequel to this game?
Without spoiling anything, the game was certainly left open at the end and with the possibility of there being a sequel to the incredibly popular title. It could also be a somewhat ambiguous ending to a story that may just be fine the way it is. The world of “The Last of Us” certainly is no Disney fantasy about an orphaned girl and a new, and loving father figure. Frankly, Naughty Dog isn’t a company that is really into the whole “Happy Ending” anyway.
"In this day and age of game development there is almost always a multi-title franchise that is spawned with a new IP. While there really isn’t anything wrong with this in itself and there are some great titles that made for a good franchise,however, this isn’t the case for every game. “The Last of Us”, should probably remain a stand-alone title."
This is just one reason why they could simply decide to leave “The Last of Us” as a single-title release. As it stands, Naughty Dog has even said that Ellie and Joel’s story is over. While that may be true it does leave open the option for other games to exist in this world, where we could see Joel and Ellie as supporting or minor characters. That in itself sounds pretty unlikely though, and for good reasons. Why spoil it by having too much of a good thing?
In this day and age of game development there is almost always a multi-title franchise that is spawned with a new IP. While there really isn’t anything wrong with this in itself and there are some great titles that made for a good franchise,however, this isn’t the case for every game. “The Last of Us”, should probably remain a stand-alone title. While there are plenty of gamers that want to spend more time in this post-apocalyptic world, is it the best thing to turn this game into a franchise? We already have a slew of post-apocalyptic settings, with new ones being added every month it seems.
Naughty Dog does a wonderful job about coming up with unique ideas and great ways to tell a story, so shouldn’t they be free to come up with new worlds, games and mechanics at this point? Especially with the PS4 coming in such a short amount of time. Let development focus on something new. Many developers certainly like to work on different projects after long and intense development schedules, so let’s put all these folks on a new task to help get those creative juices flowing. After a well-deserved and restful vacation, of course. Developing a title like The Last of Us isn’t an everyday occurrence, all the more reason why Naughty Dog shouldn’t be tied up doing the same project again.
There is always a chance that they could sell or lease off the game and it’s content for a sequel but that’s pretty far fetched. It’s tough to see Naughty Dog giving up direct, creative control over one of the best games from this generation’s of Sony console. Realistically, if there are going to be multiple “The Last of Us,” games they are probably going to written and developed in-house at the Naughty Dog studios. Even if the developers are interested in working on another title, at the same time there is a drive to explore the world they’ve created.
"While both Joel and Ellie are tough as nails, they are still completely human and the game does not let you forget this for a moment. The ambiguous, slightly open ending of the game fits this world and is probably the best thing that can be expected from a game like this. It’s not necessarily cheery, but it’s also not going to have you crying like a baby, curled up in a ball like the first time you watch Mufasa die in front of baby Simba."
At a point these universes have kind of a will of their own, it’s good to see how far the world can expand and how things play out. For instances if there is any future for humanity in The Last of Us universe, or is it hopelessly doomed? Even with DLC coming down the pipe from our friends at Naughty Dog, we’ve only heard that there is no plans for a sequel and that most likely this is the only game we’ll get. In fact the general statement from Naughty Dog is that they feel they nailed Joel and Ellie’s characters as well as their story perfectly. Releasing a sequel would simply be adding more to it. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, they would have to be incredibly careful not to spoil the mood, environment and overall feel of the game if they did decide to push forward with another installment for this franchise.
A game like “The Last of Us” would be incredibly difficult to do absolutely perfect again. There is this wonderful feeling of finality as players begin to wrap-up the game, and has a somewhat melon collie, yet optimistic feel about the future for the characters. It’s not a cheesy, emotionally self-satisfying wrap-up with no loose ends at the end, but that’s the way of the world we live in, even more so the game’s world was designed. There are going to be plenty of unknowns in a place like this, people you see once, who may be fine for 10 years or characters that may have died soon after our characters run across them.
Joel and Ellie are both subject to these same rules in the game. In fact the entire game carries this feeling of sudden and unexpected finality for the the player characters. While both Joel and Ellie are tough as nails, they are still completely human and the game does not let you forget this for a moment. The ambiguous, slightly open ending of the game fits this world and is probably the best thing that can be expected from a game like this. It’s not necessarily cheery, but it’s also not going to have you crying like a baby, curled up in a ball like the first time you watch Mufasa die in front of baby Simba.
The players do want more content to play through, and there is going to be some DLC content coming down the line to players soon, but as of now at least, there is no sequel that is being planned for The Last of Us. While there is obviously going to be some unexplored potential in a game like this, that may be alright. There is added mystery in this game, an intrigue that will never quite be perfectly satisfied. This is in part what helps to make compelling worlds.
"Even with Uncharted, a game franchise that’s done incredibly well, it becomes increasingly difficult to make new, enjoyable content with each new title in the series. Our character, Drake and his game makes it easy to move his franchise forward. It may not be something that’s as easy to do with Joel and Ellie."
Unfortunately, as more and more sequels are released for a game, we get more and more of a peek behind the vale. There are more chances for mistakes, or poorly fleshed out characters and ideas. What may be worse too, is that these games begin to resemble something of a “sure thing” for producers.” The last thing gamers really want is to watch their favorite characters and game worlds become a cash-in for large developers and production companies. When this happens developers can get lazy, content gets recycled and after awhile it sort of just loses its punch.
Naughty Dog is probably very aware of this. Even with Uncharted, a game franchise that’s done incredibly well, it becomes increasingly difficult to make new, enjoyable content with each new title in the series. Our character, Drake and his game makes it easy to move his franchise forward. It may not be something that’s as easy to do with Joel and Ellie. At this point we should be happy that, for the most part The Last of Us lived up to all the hype that the community had generated about it.
We should also be incredibly happy that this game came at the end-of-life of the PS3, where Naughty Dog’s vision could be better realized as there was more understanding on how to utilize the hardware they had available to them. It would be great to see another Last of Us someday on the PS4 maybe, but after the experience that Naughty Dog delivered to gamers, there’s really no room to complain about anything in regards to The Last of Us, least of all the lack of a sequel.