Although July has barely begun, we've probably already witnessed the release of the most controversial game of 2020. No matter what Cyberpunk 2077 ultimately becomes, it will probably not raise the level of backlash that The Last Of Us: Part II seems to have managed to unleash. Naughty Dog's new baby has divided audiences, and it's likely it will still be causing the full spectrum of emotions, from unbridled delight to unbridled hatred.
Today, however, we will talk about an aspect of the game that is not controversial at all; it even manages to elicit admiration among the detractors. The incredible attention to detail with which the graphic designers, animators and programmers perfected the grim world of a pandemic-ravaged civilization is astonishing. The Last Of Us 2 is filled with dozens of impressive details. Details that can be really obscure – unless we look very carefully – but which together make up a unique vision of the world that's incredibly visceral and realistic.
How did this text come about?
Some of the details described in the article were discovered by members of the editorial staff themselves during the playthrough of The Last Of Us 2. Information about the others was collected from various sources on the web – mostly from Reddit. A YouTube video by Knightz also proved very helpful in creating the text.
REMEMBER: NO SPOILERS
The text does not reveal any vital plot details. The following pages will feature information about easter eggs, locations visited or characters appearing in the game. They do not, however, reveal any major events from The Last of Us 2.
Remember who you are
Naughty Dog is a studio with a rich history, largely tied to the PlayStation. A tribute to this story can be found multiple times in The Last Of Us 2, with many nods to the fans of older games from these Japanese consoles.
The first, least obvious reference is made in Jacksonville when Ellie and Dina arrive at Eugene's hideout. The girls can come across a collection of adult films there. One of the titles is... "Smash Brandi's Cootch," which is a vague reference to the game that brought Naughty Dog to the limelight, Crash Bandicoot. . Eugene's collection also includes the film "Dong of the Wolf." It's probably an adult parody of the fictional film "Dawn of the Wolf." Billboards with the name also appeared in the first The Last of Us, and from Joel's description, it seemed a production very similar to Twilight with werewolves.
As we explore the post-apocalyptic world, we will also come across more direct references to the team's back catalog. There are several PlayStation 3 consoles bundled with older Naughty Dog's games – Jak & Daxter Trilogy or Uncharted. The first time you can see a PS3 is in Ellie's room in Jacksonville.
You're unlikely to miss PlayStation Vita in the game – one of the Wolves who has the bad luck of getting in Ellie's way is a big fan of the console. What you might have missed is that the game being played on the console is Hotline Miami. It's an even more interesting detail because you can also talk to the owner of the console about this particular game when following Manny to the tent in Wolves' camp. Interestingly, including the console in the game proved to be more problematic than Naughty Dog might have assumed. In order to get permission from Sony to use the Vita, the studio had to ensure that... the console's screen wouldn't be smashed.
As we make our way through flooded parts of Seattle, we reach a video arcade. It is worth looking around the room – you will find a machine with another game from the creators of TLAU2, X: Combat Racing. Ellie also played the same thing in The Last Of Us: Left Behind.
The Uncharted references go beyond boxes of the game scattered around the world. Nathan Drake's treasure – a ring with the inscription "Sir Parvis Magna" – is hidden in a vault at the Bank of Seattle. Another find related to Uncharted (but also the Jak And Daxter series) is also hidden in the King Street Relics store, which we can explore in a chapter called Hostile Territory. In this case, it's a relic of the precursors.