So far, 2020 has not been very kind to Naughty Dog and its upcoming AAA title, The Last of Us Part II. It’s stunning really.
Before we dive into the past couple of weeks, it’s worth mentioning that the game itself has had a very long and rough development history. Originally announced back in 2016, the game has suffered multiple delays, go dark for long stretches of time, and even saw longtime Naughty Dog developer Bruce Straley leave the company.
Things have not gotten better as Kotaku then pointed a spotlight at Naughty Dog’s crunch culture at the studio and how The Last of Us 2 is coming at a massive cost to employees welfare. A few weeks later, Sony announced the game was getting delayed indefinitely largely due to the current global pandemic and started automatically refunding digital pre-orders.
Naturally, the fanbase was left dazed and confused by the rapidly evolving events. Unfortunately, things were about to get much, much worse.
Leaks started popping up in April and just last week, the entire game was posted online spoiling basically the entire thing. At that time, Sony had yet to announce anything regarding a release date, pushing the community to essentially beg for the game to release as avoiding spoilers would be virtually impossible.
A few hours after the mega leak, Sony announced the June 17 release date, effectively pushing Ghost of Tsushima back a few weeks to make room. With a little less than two months left, many remain worried that they won’t be able to avoid spoilers by that time.
Word was that a disgruntled employee posted a developer build of the game online and while the original videos and channel were removed, it wasn’t fast enough as screenshots and copies were quickly made. Naturally, the current state of things have left the studio and director Neil Druckmann heartbroken. I can’t imagine things are going to go well for the person who leaked all of that either once they’re found out.
(UPDATE!) Well, as it turns out, the person who leaked the material was discovered and it apparently wasn’t an employee as originally though. While on one hand, I’m glad to hear that a member of the studio didn’t screw over their team, it’s still a terrible situation for the studio overall. I can’t imagine Sony going easy on the person who was able to hack in using a back door through a security vulnerability.
I mean, what a stunning turn of events for such a high profile game. While I’ve managed to avoid most spoilers (I say ‘most’ because I did stumble into something unfortunately), the fact remains that there’s a large portion of fans who have gotten an earlier than intended look at the game. I hard not to assume that at least a part of it has been permanently damaged by this with more than a few experiences ruined. I’m curious to see how the game does now once it officially releases.
While you can’t trust everything you see online, I’ve seen more than a few complaints about the direction of the story, especially the ending. I mean, living up to the first game was always going to be a tough challenge, but could this game be a disappointment? I don’t know. I’m fascinated to see how this all plays out. It’s been absolutely crazy to see everything that’s happened and I feel absolutely terrible for the people who worked on this game. Devoting 5+ years of your life to something only to have it undone in an instant is something I can’t even begin to wrap my head around.