You'll have to excuse me, but I find myself in one of the most video-game-nostalgic moods I've ever experienced. After having trundled through the Playstation Store to purchase Suikoden II, only to discover that you lucky guys and girls in North America are the only ones that got access to it today (insanely jealous) I reluctantly sought out a different purchase. I've got to wait till January...not cool.
So, in my post-refused-amazing-RPG state, I thought I'd take a look at what other cheap deals Sony had online. What resulted were the following purchases, all of which were under $5: Metal Gear Solid, The Resident Evil Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot 1 and 2 and the Spyro Trilogy. Therefore, I have spent the last hour prior to initiating the writing of this article, just looking at what these titles played like after all these years (they are amazing by the way and some of these games are under $2 on your PS3!!!), and it got me thinking about...The Last of Us 2?
The Last of Us 2 & Naughty Dog's History
The Last of Us 2 is a very likely release for Naughty Dog and the PS4, seeing as the success of The Last of Us has been remarkable to date! We've seen the game rear its head once more with the Remastered PS4 edition getting some additional DLC (which we were told it wouldn't get, but no matter). This update is purely for the multiplayer element of the game and features new gear, executions and more.
But to tie in with my nostalgic opening, Naughty Dog really have come so far as a developer since their humble beginnings. Therefore, I thought I'd pay homage to a great developer and take the time to briefly explore their past and how their history will impact upon the development of The Last of us 2.
The History of Naught Dog
Under the name of Naughty Dog, the studio had their humble beginnings with the game that you see above, Keef the Thief. The game...was not well received. One review company actually gave the game an 'X' rather than their usual numbering system from 1 to 5. This 'X' meant that the title was 'Not Recommended'. Ouch. This was all happening back in 1989.
Naughty Dog followed this game for the Apple IIGS, Amiga and DOS, with Rings of Power and Way of the Warrior. The latter, was well received in the graphics department, though slated in just about every other one. The former didn't even receive graphical appraisal. Not a great start. But then came a little guy that was destined to be remembered forever.
With crash Bandicoot, Naughty Dog found success. It's quirky, childish humour, difficult levels and clever character designs made it an instant classic. They followed this success, ever improving upon the formula that they had established, with a further 3 games. Crash Bandicoot in 1996 was followed by Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (1997), Crash Bandicoot: Warped (1998) and Crash Team Racing (1999). Check out Crash below!
These 4 years and 4 games helped the studio earn quite an impressive name in the gaming industry. Each title was followed by an increase in critical reception, ranging from 80 % for the original, to 92 % for Crash Team Racing. But rather than simply continue to milk the franchise, Naughty Dog stepped away from Crash Bandicoot, in the pursuit of an enticing duo.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was released in 2001 to critical acclaim. Naughty Dog had done it once again, and they intended to follow the course they had laid out with Crash Bandicoot. Jak and Daxter received two more sequels and a driving game also; Jak II (2003), Jak 3 (2004), Jak X: Combat Racing (2005). Can you imagine if they continued this style today and it turns out that Uncharted 4 is a racing game with Nathan and his brother?!
Jak and Daxter, unlike Crash, received slightly colder reviews with each release, ranging from 90% for Precursor Legacy, to 77% for Combat Racing. And so ended their relationship with Jak and Daxter. The history that follows is one that every modern gamer is familiar with.
Uncharted came out of nowhere, and gave us a world of Blockbuster cinematic beauty we hadn't experienced in gaming. There were tons of dungeons to explore, witty characters to get behind and an exciting narrative to boot. The series has gone on to release Uncharted 2 (one of the best games of modern times), Uncharted 3 and the final instalment, Uncharted 4 is in the making.
Then of course we received The Last of Us which separates the latter two titles and we realised that Naughty Dog were a creative force to be reckoned with, one that was clearly going to change the face of gaming. The Last of Us is the epitome of cinematic storytelling in video games, and long may they reign. But what can this history teach them, and what can it show us about the likes of The Last of US 2?
The Last of Us 2
One thing is clear from the outset: Naughty Dog is franchise based developer. They have returned time and time again to a game series due to the success of its first instalment. This may be a feeling that stems from the days of Keef the Thief and so on. They have no desire to release a standalone game that isn't going to go anywhere, they want to make something of it and make it last.
The Last of Us is a game that is going to be demanded a sequel by a lot of gamers, and with the sales figures for the PS3 and The Last of Us Remastered on PS4 being so high, you can clearly see Sony requesting a return to this world. It is my firm belief that The Last of Us isn't finished, and that Joel and Ellie may return after Drake makes his last stand.
With all of this in mind, and my nostalgic mood now soothing, what are your thoughts on the prospects of a The Last of Us 2? Let us know in the comments!