This week was the Playstation Media Coverage from Paris Games Week. The live footage featured several games’ updates and announcements. Since there wasn’t much that I was personally interested in, I didn’t write about the coverage for Busy Potatoes. In case you have missed, here is the link. The most critical point was the ending of the coverage with a new trailer for The Last of Us: Part II. It stood out for sure … for the wrong reasons.
The Last of Us is game developed by Naughty Dog, who also brought you the Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted series. Although I haven’t played the game myself, I have read and seen enough to know that The Last of Us was groundbreaking and refreshing from the well established game studio. It takes place in a post apocalyptic setting with infected human beings (clickers they’re called) attacking the world. You play as an old grumpy guy together with a little girl to find a way to survive. To be honest, it has some nice reminiscence of The Walking Dead series.
Along the way of survival, the pair encountered other humans, who tend to be brutal or even exhibiting barbarian attitude. Thus our pair needs to fend themselves by using violence and killing the bad guys, which can be brutal on its own, although that wasn’t the selling point of The Last of Us – it was the actual story and the suffering and survival of our dear pair, much like The Walking Dead.
That was so far the introduction for what I am to brainfry. The meat of the matter is that I saw the latest trailer of The Last of Us: Part II. I wasn’t too impressed by the usage and display of violence to the main audience – it took away what I felt that the game should represent. A little remark: I am not talking about the graphics or cinematics here. They look fine. Here is the trailer if you haven’t watched it.
According to the creative director, the violence in the trailer has a purpose. It is supposed to set the tone and the reality where the first game has left off and where the main characters need to survive (again).
I can relate what the developers were trying to make, but I can think this could be done very differently. Players who already knew or played the game expect the world wouldn’t have changed that much – there aren’t rainbows or blue sky. It is grim and dark world without any signs of hope. We know this setting, we know this mood. It has already been written very clearly since the first game. The world has already been built and it is not pretty. We accepted this fact that violence towards clickers or humans is not avoidable because our main characters needed to survive and live.
But displaying violence to attract your audience seems a bit unnecessary to me. I had to look away from the trailer because it was way too uncomfortable. Was it essential that the audience needs to witness a woman almost being pierced and did a girl’s arm need to be shattered four times? Or is violence the only way game developers know how to sell the game? Sex sells and violence sells?
I won’t get into the stupid statement of Sony Executive defending the trailer that The Last of Us is a game made fulfilling a market for adults gamers. Being an adult doesn’t mean that violence is something, the only thing, we want to see, especially in 4K resolution nowadays.