Warning: Potential Spoilers Below
Many people across the gaming world were treated to an early Christmas present this year. Naughty Dog announced their latest plans to launch out their latest title with their critically acclaimed “The Last of Us”, to which many people were surprised that they have given the green light to the development.
Fans of the series were treated to a teaser trailer of what is to come with “The Last of Us Part II”, it took the audience on an emotionally filled adventure which aims to portray Ellie’s journey throughout the game. With its predecessor allowing the gamer to control Joel for the majority of the game, Naughty Dog has announced that the game will play differently and take a totally different tone with Ellie being the main protagonist.
Together we will go through the significant points in the trailer, highlighting the key images which caught my attention worth discussing and further analyze what we can see. The points that are going to be highlighted are from my point of view and what I interpret from what the video shows us. I will be updating all of you with further posts which may bring more clarity to a late date.
First and foremost we are brought with an image of the wilderness. It is clear to the gamer, that Naughty Dog is both trying to showcase their ability to develop a visually stunning landscape, whilst also bringing the attention to the audience that the game will be set in an open world setting potentially.
Also, key to highlight is the fact that beyond the woods there is nothing to see clearly. However, what we can see is a blinding white light beyond the green of the forest. What the developers are most likely trying to portray is that beyond the dense untamed wilderness of our minds, there is still that white light of hope at the end of it. Could this be an artistic way for the developers to show that through everything that the gamer will go through in the game, through all the twist and turns, there is still some hope for a bright future?
The next shot that we are taken to is similar to the first one, accept is it taken from the left-hand side which is clear to distinguish by the two trees crossing over one another. However this time we can see three knife marks carved into a tree, for those played the Last of Us will know that this is a clear sign of the infamous “Fire Flies” as a way to track their surroundings. There isn’t much to take from the image shot accept for fact that those who have played the Last of Us are teased with a familiar setting.
The very next image we are taken further back from the forest, the setting turns darker and hopeless. The image of hopefulness is slowly taken away from the viewer; we are shown an image of a dilapidated car, rusting away with no use and slowly being engulfed by its surroundings. This could be a symbolism that the fall of man has come, the last remnants of what humanity has left behind are now history. It is also important to note that the light which had a powerful image at the start of the trailer is now slowly disappearing from our view, this could signify that the light of something new, pure and innocent is inching that bit further away from us. This can translate into what the game is actually trying to tell us. In the Last of Us, there was always this little light at the end of the tunnel, which this journey that they were going on led onto something great. However this time it seems the journey the game will take us on will not have a shining light at the end of the tunnel.
Further back from the car we are presented with a striking image of the infamous Fire Fly symbol and it is immediate that everyone who is familiar with the series knows that this is another entry into The Last of Us series, whether it will be a DLC, mini-game or prequel is unknown. However, it is important to note that the spray paint on the stop sign doesn’t appear to look new; neither does it appear to look old as well. This indicates that they have occupied this area for some time. Also captured in the image are the two houses; however there is no sign that anyone is in the area. However, there is a truck on the right-hand side, which could indicate that whoever was here decided to stay put, or left leaving their cars behind which doesn’t point towards any logical explanation.
Finally, we are a shown shot of what we know now to be Ellie’s hand tremoring. Now, this is interesting for a number of reasons firstly, it could indicate that the Ellie being immune to the disease isn’t apparently true. Maybe with her, it may take many years to take over and we seeing the first signs of Ellie’s ultimate fate. On the other hand, it could indicate the tremor could be a sign of fear. Once she clenches her first it could imply that she is trying to calm herself down, or shaking from the lack of food. On the other hand, it seems like she has lost a lot of blood and is trying to pump blood into her hands as to gain full mobility of it.
Significant in the image is the tattoo and which arm it is on. The tattoo itself is on Ellie’s right arm, covering where she has been bitten. Usually, when people obtain a tattoo it is to commemorate something significant in their life. With Ellie, we can see that it is an image of a Massachusetts fern and a moth. The fern itself is significant because Ellie has spent 14 (out of 19) years of her life in Boston. It could represent her past and where she has been in life. The moth is similar to a Cecropia month which is found in the East of the Great Plains which geographically where both Ellie and Joel have been.
The next striking image that we are taken to is the eyes of the character who begins to sing. The voice is a resemblance of the famous character Ellie from the last of us, however, the viewer cannot confirm this until they see their face. What really caught my attention in this shot was the look of pain with the structure of their eyebrows. It is the first human figure we see and it is one that is in pain, in anguish, and in a meditative state.
We are taken further back to a clearer image of the characters face. On the bottom left-hand side, we can see fresh stitches from where the character has either been bitten or slashed with a blade. Since we do now know that this is The Last of Us part II, will we see graphic injuries that many of the characters will endure? Will in-game injuries result in lasting scars throughout the game-play until the end? Personally, it would add that bit of realism if injuries we occur in the game stay will us as more ascetically pleasing imagery. Having that added touch to the game means that each individual person gameplay will differ in some way. On the right-hand side of the characters face, we can see a single tear trail of blood, I think it was more symbolic of a tear shed for the people that she has lost in life, the blood that has been shed in the many years that have passed.
We are now taken to a wider shot of what looks like to be a living room of a house that is now slowly decaying with time. In-font is a person’s hand, we don’t know if the person was a member of the fireflies or if they were the infected. However what we do know is that whoever it was, they were killed very recent from the fresh blood pool and the arm which has blood trailing along it. The shadowy figure has been confirmed to be Joel, the main protagonist in the first installment in the series. What is prominent in the trailer has been lighting, this time in the doorway, the light is bright, blinding and protective. Personally, I believe that Joel coming from the bright light into the dark living room is symbolic of an angel, protector something angelic coming into shadows to bring light.
We are taken through a walk-through of the house with Joel, every image we see is of death, silence and what once was. What caught my attention was that Joel wasn’t in a hurry to see where Ellie was, what had happened to her as he usually does. This can be for a number of reasons. Now that it is confirmed that she is 19 years of age, maybe Joel has slowly come to the point where he is testing Ellie, to see whether she can handle herself. Which would make sense because he still had a gun in hand ready for anything unexpected? Another popular theory is that Joel is actually dead and he is a ghostly figure that haunts Ellie as she is on this journey for revenge for what has happened to her. Again this is a popular theory, however, it doesn’t make sense since it has been confirmed that Joel will be a playable character in the game.
The striking image that we can see now of a woman in the bathroom in the former with a pool of blood surrounding her in a slumped position against the bath tub. What it seems to look as if the person was in a covering position and what can be assumed to be that the person didn’t want to fight however was killed by Ellie.
We are shown a familiar image of Joel, however not a clear frontal image of the character. This could be for a number of reasons, for instance, Naughty Dog is still trying to maintain the illusion that this may be another character or that Joel has sustained some injuries in the many years we haven’t seen him. Whilst, on the other hand, the character we actually see might not be actually Joel or someone who sounds and looks like Joel which could be a possibility even if it is a far fetched one.
Now we can see a clearer image of the room of where Ellie is sitting in. Beneath her is a dead body with a bloody machete. Now what could have possibly happened is that Ellie and Joel came to this area to live in peace for a short time, until the person on the floor killed the two people in the house and fought Ellie but lost. Another theory is that Ellie actually killed everyone in the house including the man on the floor in-front of her. However, it doesn’t make sense why Ellie would suddenly change from this person who was shy, innocent and didn’t like killing humans, to a ruthless killer. What is also shocking is the fact that she would be able to overpower three grown people on her own. Another popular theory is that the window on the right-hand side to Ellie was a feature in the previous title, however, it was quickly refuted by the windows being of a different design. Lastly, we are taken to a full frontal image of Ellie herself. What actually caught my attention is that at first, she look deeply unsettled, then a sudden quick change to being more focused. She seems to be driven by a burning flame of revenge. I was curious as to look at older images of Ellie when she was 14 and in many design art of the character, she is shown to look innocent, cautious with a hint of fear. Ellie always had a clean face, with little to no scars, dirty or sweat. This time, however, we are treated to an image of her bleeding quite a bit from her gash on her head, bruising on her face and a striking amount of dirt on various places on her face. We can tell that Ellie we know is no longer there, the Ellie we will see in The Last of Us Part II will be very different from what we have experienced. Also, grabbing was that Joel himself was not worried or tending to her wounds as he would normally do so. It feels as if what we know of the series is going to be completely different. A different tone of what we know of the characters and what the story would actually be about. I am looking forward to what is to come in the sequel, not from the visual front or the gameplay, but whether the series will have a grand finale or whether it’ll draw out.