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'The Last of Us' Could Come in Late 2012, Early 2013

Naughty Dog's recently revealed The Last of Us could be closer to release than we all originally thought.  A game described as an "unbelievable" PS3 exclusive, The Last of Us made its official debut during the VGAs this past weekend - thought it was heavily teased leading up to the awards show.

According to USA Today, The Last of Us could release as soon as "late 2012 or early 2013".  This, of course, may seem completely unreasonable to some of you, given that the game was JUST revealed.  But just because The Last of Us wasn't revealed earlier doesn't mean Naughty Dog hasn't been working on it.

In fact, Naughty Dog's Creative Director Neil Druckmann revealed the other day that he's been working on The Last of Us for "the last two years."

In addition to release date speculation, USA today reports that the survival horror title will be set from a similar third-person viewpoint as seen in the popular Uncharted franchise.  Naughty Dog isn't resting on their popularity from their previous titles however. 

Druckmann told Eurogamer that they are aiming to "change the f**king industry" with The Last of Us - at least in terms of storytelling. Druckmann said his team wanted to "raise the bar" with storytelling.

"As critics we need to raise the bar, otherwise no-one's going to change. We're going to keep pushing ourselves, and kill ourselves to make this story happen - but hope that by doing it, the rest of the industry is going to take notice and try to do the same thing."

If you watched the VGAs, you probably saw the trailer with an older man and a younger daughter fighting off plant-like fungus creatures.  Many have been quick to write it off as just another zombie-horror game. 

Druckmann feels it's much more than that, though.  While the majority of zombie games focus on the action and gore, it looks like The Last of Us will focus on story.  So what is the story about?

"This is going to sound corny, and it might not appeal to gamers, but I would say it's a love story," said Druckmann. "It's not a romantic love story, it's a love story about a father-daughter-like relationship."

"We approached this genre because we felt no-one is getting to the heart of it. It tells you something about the human condition - that's what you want to do as a storyteller," he continued.  "We're not saying every game needs a strong, compelling and dramatic story, but if you are going to make a narrative-based game then you better learn the craft."

Game director Bruce Straley added, "It's not just a zombie game. It's going to be a completely amazing experience that no player has experienced for this genre, the characters, the development, everything."

If Naughty Dog had been working on The Last of Us for the past two years, that would mean development for the game began in 2009, most likely after Uncharted 2: Among Thieves shipped - with some members moving straight to Uncharted 3 while others began work on The Last of Us.

Matt-liebl-profile
Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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