The Last of Us 2 release date rumours, trailers and news: Brutal E3 trailer showcases violent gameplay

The Last of Us 2 was the centrepiece of Sony’s E3 2018 press conference, with audiences given their first glimpse of the game in action thanks to a brutal trailer.

The clip opens with Ellie at a dance with a romantic partner, presumably prior to the events of the first game. The pair share a tender moment, kiss, and action lurches forward to an older Ellie stabbing a man in the neck. Ah, l’amour fou.

From there, we’re shown Ellie sneaking through a forest; showcasing the game’s emphasis on stealth gameplay. Things quickly turn violent, and it becomes clear our female protagonist has a knack for deadly melee fighting. We cut back to the kiss, and a reiteration that people should be terrified of Ellie. Sex! Violence! Video games!

There’s no sign of Joel in the trailer, although he did appear in the earlier teaser released by Naughty Dog, so it isn’t clear whether action will partly or totally centre on Ellie. From what we’ve seen so far, the game is capitalising on its predecessor’s reputation for gritty violence. Where it matches The Last of Us’ storytelling power remains to be seen. We’ll no doubt hear more soon.

The Last of Us 2: Everything we know so far

The Last of Us 2, officially known as The Last of Us Part II, is the sequel to 2013’s critically adored post-apocalyptic adventure. It continues the story of Joel and Ellie, the original’s protagonists, five years after the events of the first game. 

We’ve only had a trickle of information around Naughty Dog’s sequel since its announcement at PlayStation Experience 2016. During Paris Games Week 2017 we were treated to a similarly brutal trailer and a set of new gameplay footage.

However, information from two of the actors involved in the project suggests that Naughty Dog is still very much in the thick of motion capture production on The Last of Us 2. This means we probably won’t have it in our hands until 2019 at the earliest.

Ashley Johnson shared a picture with her followers via an Instagram story (then captured and uploaded to Imgur) showing her in a mocap suit with facial rigging. As she plays Ellie, it’s likely she isn’t simply plugging in some gaps needed to help finish the game but working on core sections Naughty Dog still need to finish.

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Another post by Westworld actor Shannon Woodward shows her sat on-set in a motion capture suit, indicating that her – as still unknown role – hasn’t finished shooting yet too.

The Last of Us 2 release date: When’s it coming out?

Currently, there’s been no release date, or release window, for The Last of Us 2.

The game’s director Neil Druckmann has already confirmed that we’ll see new footage of The Last of Us 2 at E3 2018, which could pave the way for an early 2019 release. During the same conversation, Druckmann also revealed the team is around “50 to 60%” through the development of The Last of Us Part II.

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The Last of Us 2 price: How much does it cost, and how can I buy it?

Sony hasn’t provided a way to pre-order The Last of Us 2 on the PlayStation Store just yet, nor are there any pre-order bundles floating around. However, you can pre-order it from Amazon already for £48, and Game is taking pre-orders at £50.

The Last of Us 2 story: What’s it all about?

The initial reveal trailer doesn’t give away an awful lot of information about what we can expect from The Last of Us Part 2. We know it takes place five years after the events of The Last of Us, that you play as Ellie, and that it’s going to be a story that focuses around “hate”. 

“If the first game was really about the love between these two characters, this story is the counter of that,” Druckmann explained during the game’s reveal at PlayStation Experience in 2016. “This story is about hate, through Ellie this time. The first game you play as Joel, this game you play as Ellie.”

The Ellie shown in the trailer is moodier than before. She’s surrounded by dead bodies and, while nothing is stated, it’s presumed she’s the one that killed them. It’s unclear if these are Creeper bodies or those of the Firefly survivors who may be out to get her and Joel. It’s also unclear if Joel is really even around, with some internet theories suggesting that he’s a ghost that haunts her. 

According to Druckmann, Ellie has “gone through some shit,” to get to where she is now.

Speaking at this year’s PlayStation Experience, Druckmann revealed some new details around the story without really giving anything away. We do now know that Halley Gross is co-writing The Last of Us Part 2 and, as she worked on HBO’s Westworld, it’s likely this could be one fantastically dark entry into the series.

The only slither of info that Druckmann and Gross were willing to reveal was a tease that Gross had managed to get someone pregnant  and we’ll “see what that means” in due time. Druckmann also confirmed a good chunk of the game does take place in Seattle, Washington.

He did also rebuff the dark tone from the Paris Games Week trailer, stating that “there is hope, there are lighthearted moments” in The Last of Us Part 2. This may in part be due to the inspiration Druckmann said he received from watching the Netflix/Channel 4 series, The End of the F***ing World:

“There’s a show on Netflix called End of the F***ing World – which is so well written, acted, and quirky – has been totally inspiring the stuff we’re doing in [The Last of Us 2]. Again, more on the dialogue stuff,” said the game’s director at DICE Summit 2018.

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The Last of Us 2 setting: Where’s this all taking place?

Seeing as The Last of Us took place in a fallen version of the United States, and this is a direct sequel, there’s no reason to believe this doesn’t take place in the US as well. Some Reddit users managed to use concept art and scenery from The Last of Us Part 2’s trailers to piece together the real-life locations this game appears to be set.

From the Reddit thread, it seems that everything we’ve seen so far is happening in Seattle, Washington. The latest game trailer also takes place just a few city blocks from the early concept locations. In fact, the trailer apparently takes place on the I-5 Highway, just 1.3 miles from the area shown in concept art.

What this actually means is a little unclear. It suggests that these two moments are closely tied together, that the scene from the Paris Games Week trailer does link into Joel and Ellie’s journey in The Last of Us Part 2.

Going by information provided on the Naughty Dog Twitter account, the brutal The Last of Us Part II trailer stared Lev, Yara and Emily with a fourth character still going unnamed. Despite the fact we know she’s played by Laura Bailey – who played Nadine Ross in Uncharted 4: The Lost Legacy – nothing else is known about her. Chances are, Naughty Dog isn’t naming her because she ties in closely with Joel and Ellie’s story this time around.

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The Last of us 2 gameplay: How will it play?

As far as we can tell, The Last of Us 2 will play in the same manner as The Last of Us. Naughty Dog makes excellent games, but they rarely ever change up how the core of their franchises work. Every Uncharted game has, essentially, been the same game in terms of gameplay mechanics. Every Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter title were the same too – aside from their final entries, which were both cart-based racers.

We already know you’ll play as Ellie, but having played as Ellie in both one section of The Last of Us and again in the Left Behind DLC, it’s not too surprising. The really interesting dynamic will be that, now Ellie is 19, she won’t need the same protection and nurturing that she got from Joel in the first game. And, if Joel isn’t around anymore, this could really change up how situations play out if you’re only looking out for one character this time.

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