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Naughty Dog Showed A Fake Last Of Us 2 Scene To Preserve One Of The Game's Surprises

Illustration for article titled Naughty Dog Showed A Fake iLast Of Us 2/i Scene To Preserve One Of The Games Surprises

To be crystal clear, this video covers major spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2. If you’d prefer to go into this game totally cold, turn back now.

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Seriously. We mean it.

Illustration for article titled Naughty Dog Showed A Fake iLast Of Us 2/i Scene To Preserve One Of The Games Surprises
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All right, then. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Spoilers follow for The Last of Us Part 2—specifically, for events that occur during the “Hillcrest” encounter in the Seattle Day 2 chapter.

Here’s a video comparison of what Naughty Dog showed and what is actually in the game.

Last September, you may have caught an action-packed trailer for The Last of Us Part 2. It’s full of typical Last of Us-y stuff: horseback riding, fungus zombies, and hectic gunfights, all with an older Ellie at the center of the action. At one point, there’s a scene where a hand grabs her from behind.

“What the hell are you doing here?” she asks.

It’s Joel.

“You think I’d let you do this on your own?” he says.

But that’s not how the scene plays out in the actual game.

The trailer depicts part of a chapter that sees Ellie head to the Hillcrest neighborhood of Seattle. There, she guns down soldiers from the Washington Liberation Front, runs away from Iinfected, and kills a few dogs. After a few scrapes, she jumps into an abandoned basement, at which point the scene in question occurs.

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By this point, Joel is long since dead. In the real game, Ellie’s friend Jesse pops up.

“What the hell are you doing here?” she asks.

“You think I’d let you do this on your own?” he says.

I know. It’s some MCU-tier trickery, and all to subvert expectations about an event that happens in the game’s opening moments.

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Naughty Dog and Sony went out of their way to hide Joel’s death in the game, a plan that was foiled when key scenes leaked back in April. It’s understandable why they’d alter the scene here, to preserve one of the game’s biggest and most shocking twists, but it’s also somewhat of a misdirection. Even if you avoided the leaks, the trailer would still have you believe Joel is alive for more of the game than he is.

Is that misleading? Or will the surprise be appreciated by fans? Surely, we’ll hear about it in the coming days and weeks.

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DISCUSSION

Wraithfighter

Here’s my thoughts on trailer and preview fakery: I’m okay with trailer bullshit like that if has two purposes:

  • If it helps the audience be in the correct mood and mindset to enjoy the work
  • If it does not contradict with the themes and thrust of the story itself.

For example, Avengers: Infinity War trailers showed Hulk in the Battle of Wakanda, instead of what was actually there: Banner in the Hulkbuster armor. And... I think that’s fine, it’s not what happens in the film, but Banner’s there fighting, Hulk fights earlier in the film, there’s some details missing but it also prevents a bit of confusion of that shot without the proper context, since it’d otherwise imply that Tony is fighting in that battle.

This, though...

...yeah, it feels manipulative in an ugly way. Yes, it helps support the twist of Joel dying early, but the scene with him basically screams “this game is going to have Joel and Ellie going off on an adventure, but you’re controlling Ellie this time!”, when that’s not what the game’s about at all.

The only thing it really does is pretend like Joel’s in more of the game than he is, and that does feel overly deceptive...