Naughty Dog brought one of the most fascinating and interesting games to the PS3 last year in The Last of Us. I will spare you the long details of how the post-apocalyptic “zombie” game unfolds but I will like to touch on the environments that they present.
While zombies, or fungus infected humans, might still be foreign in our pre-apocalyptic world, the easiest way for a narrative to relate to an audience is to have meaningful environments surrounding the player. There are moments, big moments, when I feel like a human being again and sharing sweet moments with the main characters Joel and Ellie as they travel. In an effort to avoid spoilers, I will leave the characters to that description and move onto the art of the game. While it is a game, the chapters act very much like chapters in a book. They are not always followed from each moment that the characters share, but the game progresses through a story where we are left out from moments that might dull the interactions.
What I can say about The Art of The Last of Us is how wonderful it is to see a development process that goes through many changes to suit the changing narrative. What stood out most to me, as I am from rural America, is how the character Joel appearance changed from a rural looking hillbilly to a slightly more educated appearance. Each page of the book highlights to process that took years to develop a compelling story told by the environment and design. The game play is relays on this artistic style to be a success and all those involved need the credit as well as the writers. Above all the sketches of the locations, character designs, and simple decisions of how Joel will carry his weapons reveal the long process to make the game. The cinamatics and music highlight these moments as the characters wonder throughout the game and come upon wonderful views that are often unexpected. The Art of The Last of Us takes you further into the story and remains just as a good of a story teller as the game itself.
If this is a game you haven’t played yet, I highly recommend getting a copy and enjoying the full experience of the compelling survival story.