The Last of Us game was a revelation for many people. No matter what kind of gamer you are – action aficionado, fighting game fanatic, or an FPS fan – the first instalment of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us series had something for everyone.
Intense action, a gripping story, and gameplay mechanics so fine-tuned you would think it was built by German engineers. And, not to get ahead of the story here, but it won every award under the sun. It was re-released for the PS4 with updated graphics and it has remained on every critic’s “best of” list since it came out.
What we’re getting at is that The Last of Us Part II has a huge role to fill for both fans and the wider gaming public. Basically, there’s no room for error with the sequel but, as anyone can tell you, sequels typically leave plenty of room for error if you get what we are saying.
Some things don’t need a sequel. Some masterpieces don’t need a follow-up. In fact, you can ruin some classic games by releasing another one that doesn’t live up to the first title. Typically, because of their iterative nature, video game sequels can improve upon a middling or “better than good” first game. But it is absolutely rare that a sequel to a masterpiece is, itself, a masterpiece.
Sure, you have nearly anything by CD Projekt Red in The Witcher series, but it is so rare as to make us concerned about The Last of Us Part II. Will it be game of the year material? Does that even matter, really?
We know that Sony kills it with their exclusives, and we don’t expect The Last of Us Part II to be any different. Look at the success of the God of War reboot. But Sony also did that with their Spider-Man game last year on PS4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 still won every award out there despite having antiquated mechanics, controls, and gameplay from Grand Theft Auto V. That is to say it wasn’t even a wholly new, innovative IP and it still won everything out there, overshadowing what is probably the best superhero game ever made.
There’s little doubt that The Last of Us Part II will be a great game. It will probably sell millions of copies and make a bunch of money. Whether or not it lives up to the previous game remains to be seen. The better question is, does it have to do that?
Yes, it does. The Last of Us Part II could either take the series to new heights or end it entirely. Gamers are tolerant of sequels, but only to a point. The minute you start stepping on toes – such as by releasing sequels to semi-sacred IP – prepare for the wrath if you do anything less than a stellar job.