MISHAWAKA – The news of The Last of Us II’s unfortunate delay has had a mixed reception from fans. The leaking of game footage online has had Sony scrambling to block videos.
Despite being outside my usual range of review, this development has recently caught my attention. First and foremost, Naughty Dog’s upcoming sequel to one of the most highly praised games in the past decade, The Last of Us II, has been recently delayed due to, shockingly, COVID-19. Predictably, fans haven’t been happy about this, but there have been some unforeseen consequences as a result of the new and indefinite delay, announced in early April.
Shortly after news of the delay had been announced, a few videos showed up on the internet revealing footage of the game. Fans quickly took note of this, with some speculating it was a disgruntled Naughty Dog team member leaking footage early as a result of the delay. These rumors remain largely unconfirmed; the only certainty was the videos weren’t intended to be released, evidenced by Sony copyright claiming them and taking them down. In my research to find what these clips showed off, all the links I tried on various information boards and game articles led to removed videos.
This didn’t stop several people from downloading the videos for private use, which doesn’t help me out much, and others from writing about the minimal details the footage apparently did reveal, which DID help me out. Allegedly, the videos were of a few set pieces in the game, one featuring the characters on horses riding through a snowy, mountainous region. Another video featured a segment of gameplay where the player controls the deuteragonist of the first title, Ellie, playing the guitar. Several fans commented on the quality of this section, saying the button layout for the guitar is surprisingly ergonomic and accurate.
Beyond the leaked footage, though, several fans of the series are reeling from another disappointment: Sony has begun refunding digital preorders of The Last of Us II. Unfortunately for these zealous consumers, as a result of the delay, Sony not only issued refunds for the title if it was preordered digitally, the game has also disappeared from the PlayStation Store. This means there are very few people, if any, with digital preorders of the game and no way to purchase one for the foreseeable future. I suspect The Last of Us II’s listing will reappear once the release date has been established, but that date is still up in the air.
Though it’s not the kind of reassurance fans want, there is a small bright side that isn’t bad. The game is highly suspected of being a launch title for the upcoming PlayStation 5. The Last of Us II, along with a Horizon: Zero Dawn sequel, and a few other games, were rumored to be the launch titles thanks to a poster on Pastebin, a site built for saving text temporarily, on Dec. 3 of 2018. The reason I say this is a “bright side” is because so many of the fans for this game praise the story and graphics above all else. Looking at even early screenshots of the game, I’m hard-pressed to disagree; the game is beautiful. This being the case, we can expect the game to be nearly immaculate on the upcoming console’s improved hardware.
Even through all this news concerning this indefinite delay, the fans shouldn’t lose heart; some people have posted their updated orders on Amazon, which list the new release date as early as June 23. A bit less than a month after the previous release date is hardly earth-shattering, as far as I’m concerned.