Dustin Chadwell: You could make a pretty convincing argument for the Zombie genre being a bit played out in video games, but admit it: You probably allowed yourself a silent squeal of delight when you saw the trailer for Naughty Dog's horror-survival title, The Last of Us. I know I certainly did. Imagine the production values and storytelling of the Uncharted series being used in this particular genre. I'm super excited to see more of this particular game, and it's nice to see that the industry still has a few surprises up its sleeve this year.
Brian Dumlao: The team at Naughty Dog has rarely disappointed, and it's rarely taken on more than one series during any given console generation, making this a test of how good the studio is when it's working on two completely different games at nearly the same time. Even though gamers may be inundated with one too many zombie games, the studio's storytelling capabilities and the gameplay of their previous titles are enough to quell any fears of this one turning out badly. All we need is some real gameplay footage to back that up.
Brad Hilderbrand: Zombies and the wasteland apocalypse are played out, but brain-controlling fungus and a world that looks like "Life After People"? Now, that's promising. I will freely admit that if The Last of Us turns out to be a survival horror game, I won't play it, but if Naughty Dog follows the lead of games like Enslaved or its own Uncharted series, then we're in for a real treat. Also, who doesn't want to see Ellen Page in a video game? What? That's not her?
Sanford May: In this medium, the worst gaming for gaming's sake often lies in titles that ape movies — unless those titles come from Ninja Theory or Naughty Dog. In The Last of Us, Naughty Dog is taking a shopworn and lately quite exhausted fictional concept, presumably — I mean, assuredly — married with a cinematic presentation to make its next big thing. And with Naughty Dog's exceptional writing, sharp casting, refined development process and stellar production values, The Last of Us will be a great "movie" game, even if you've played it and seen it and read it all before. Naughty Dog won't have to sell the film rights to The Last of Us on the strength of the trailer. They can sell them on the game.
Thomas Wilde: My biggest problem with the Uncharted series is Nathan Drake, a happy-go-lucky wisecracking sociopath with a higher body count than the bubonic plague. My hope for The Last of Us is that Naughty Dog can combine its very real talent for strong narratives and decent action sequences with a darker, nastier, less self-aware sort of story, along with a new protagonist who is, almost automatically, more appealing.
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