I’m going to start this with a list of disclaimers. First of all, The Last of Us is easily one of my all time favorite games. My friends get tired of me constantly heaping praise on it. Second, I’m still looking forward to The Last of Us Part 2. I was super excited when the first trailer came out and watched it on repeat multiple times. Finally, this is a critique of the most recent trailer that debuted at Paris Games Week, not a critique of the game itself, obviously.

All the previous said, the trailer for The Last of Us Part 2 that closed out Sony’s press conference at Paris Games Week left me, dare I say it . . . disappointed. If you haven’t seen it already, here it is below.

The purpose of a teaser trailer is ultimately to garner excitement for the game, teasing enough to intrigue you but not enough to spoil anything major. The problem is that this trailer misses that mark entirely for a whole host of reasons.

The first reason the trailer misses the mark is because it introduces entirely new characters with no setup or connection whatsoever. As I stated in a previous article, what drives The Last of Us and makes it such an exemplary game isn’t the gameplay (it’s solid, but not groundbreaking) and it’s not the story (you can describe the whole plot pretty simply, it’s also not groundbreaking). What makes it so good is the characters and their interactions with each other. Ultimately, you care about them. Possibly more than you’ve ever cared about a set of characters in a video game before. And the new trailer lacks that element entirely by adding new characters without any reference or sighting of the old ones that we loved. Even seeing Tommy would have been more impactful than this brand new cast.

The second reason the trailer fell flat for me was that there was no direction. It was hard to find purpose or meaning in the madness. Teaser trailers often obfuscate and confuse on purpose, and that’s fine. But in doing so they typically give you enough to speculate with and prod you into wanting to know more. Is Joel still alive? Why did Ellie kill all those people in the house? What is it she plans to do? The first trailer got me excited while at the same time making me want to know more and speculate. This most recent one lacked any context whatsoever, to the point the only thing we can speculate is whether or not the woman shown is Ellie’s mother. And that’s a theory that lacks enough evidence to be taken as more than just a guess.

Finally, there’s nothing that made the trailer stand out. Yes, the visuals are absolutely beautiful (always a guarantee with Naughty Dog), but otherwise nothing makes it . . . special. Maybe the violence is more brutal and abundant than in most game trailers, and some people have called out the trailer for its violence. But I think those people are missing the point. What makes the trailer disappointing isn’t the abundance of violence. That’s something we’re used to in The Last of Us. It’s part and parcel of the survival world. What makes the trailer disappointing is that there’s nothing special about it. You don’t even realize it’s a Last of Us game until the very end when the clickers show up, and I think that fact highlights the biggest problem.

In the end, there’s nothing to make me like this trailer. There’s nothing to make me want to see more or find out more about the characters. Nothing beyond base curiosity born out of a hope that these new characters don’t take the franchise into a direction that steals from the core story of Joel and Ellie. I don’t think this trailer means that the game is going to be bad, and it hasn’t decreased my excitement for the game. It just hasn’t increased it, and I honestly expected more. Bear in mind this is just my opinion, but I’m trying to put words to a feeling that I’ve had about the trailer since watching it. And I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

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15 Comments »

  1. To each their own. I think the trailer did exactly what it was suppose to do. First I remember the original trailer of the the first game which was equally as violent and had character (Joey and Ellie) that we didn’t know at the time but it didn’t take anything away from me wanting the game. Second the trailer while violent and very beautiful also shows that the game will have religious undertones this time around. And for the first time shows Ellie’s mother who was talked about in the original game. I think that showing the other playable character is setting up fans to know that they aren’t going to only play as Joel or Ellie this time around. I left the trailer with tons of question that I wanted to be answered which can only be done by playing the game. So for me the trailer was perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, my argument is that this is an established franchise where we know the characters and now they’re introducing new ones like it’s a new franchise and I have a little trouble caring. I definitely don’t have a problem with the violence cause like I said, it’s part and parcel of the franchise. Also, we’re not sure this is Ellie’s mom yet or not. Though it very well could be.

      Anyways, thanks for being respectful and I’m glad you enjoyed the trailer!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The first trailer had Joel and Ellie. And I don’t think that your suppose to care about the characters from a trailer. I really don’t want to see too much of what Joel and Ellie’s adventure myself. I think this is refreshing and will let the story and franchise last longer. If this is in fact Ellie’s mom it’s going to answer a lot of questions. Possibly see Joel in the past. This opens up so many doors. And will probably set the tone for Ellie’s HATE that Neil Druckman was talking about. How many games have the balls to introduce new playable characters in a franchise.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with you on your comments D.. What Andrew failed to mention and realize within his comments is that Naughty Dog is known for ground breaking characters in their work from the past so who is to say them implementing new cast members as a bad thing.. I agree this trailer doesn’t do enough to bring more excitement to the table for the game but with this game company’s track record it’s safe to say we should be optimistic with what their plans are for TLOU2. We have to remember it’s in full production and we owe it to naughty dog based on the previous game that it could deliver another classic…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s just your opinion. I think it was brilliantly violent, showing how dark and gritty the second part is gonna be. It shows us Ellies mom, I honestly didn’t expect her to be such a kickass character, explains to us why Ellie was such a brave one

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the point of the trailer was to show off their storytelling skills. The camera work and the way everything played out was pretty captivating to me. Watching it on stream, it got me pretty excited before I even knew it was TLOU.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are more than entitled to your opinion. But as someone who has nearly finished The Last of Us Remastered on PS4, I thought the Paris Games cutscene for The Last of Us Part II blew away anything I’ve seen from the first game. Obviously the visuals are simply breathtakingly good. But what I’m getting at more is the storytelling quality and complexity that was on display in this Part II scene. I certainly care about Joel and Ellie as characters, but I believe Part II needs to be way more than ‘just’ another Joel and Ellie adventure. In other words, the way you feel about the strength of Joel and Ellie as characters, we need to have a genuinely thrilling story in Part II that matches (or exceeds) the biggest strength of the first game.

    For me personally, the actual stories in the Uncharted games are much more engaging than The Last of Us. I’ll admit that has A LOT to do with my tastes for treasure hunting/Indiana Jones style adventure! With Uncharted 4 being the pinnacle of storytelling, emotion, and characters in gaming IMO. Not to mention that I think the gameplay from any of the Uncharted games is far more exciting than what is presented in The Last of Us (with the possible exception of melee combat).

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s totally fair, man. I had these feelings about the trailer well before the idea of an article came to mind. My point wasn’t really to stir up controversy but to put voice to a feeling I had. Knowing that that feeling might be controversial I then decided to share it. If people disagree that’s entirely on them and there are plenty of legit reasons to like the trailer and, in my mind, to be unimpressed by it. My word isn’t meant to be gold, just a single voice.

      I totally get where you’re coming at with Uncharted. I love both franchises endlessly but for generally different reasons. The main reason for both, however, would be the phenomenal characters.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Clickbait is when someone deliberately misleads you through the headline or thumbnail to get you to click the article. This article clearly explains the title. You don’t get to define it as clickbait just because you disagree with the opinion or because it’s an unpopular opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Trailers need a certain level of intrigue so that way people keep talking about it and analyze it afterwards and I feel they nailed it to a degree. Nothing wrong with introducing new characters, but I would have liked to see some sort of connection to the overarching plot or known characters.

    I feel like if we are going with the idea that girl was Ellies mom than this had to be a part of a flashback prologue like how they handled the first game with Joel. I don’t feel anything for these characters because I have no reason to care because I have no idea who they are or how they come into play.

    The trailer was gorgeous though, well acted and holy cow the attention to the smallest details just shows ND at the top of their game. Hopefully we get some gameplay next trailer.

    Like

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