The query looming behind The Final of Us Half 2’s grotesque, provocative E3 trailer


The Final of Us Half 2 trailer at E3 2018 was something however refined.

It bookended unspeakable gore with candy teenage love, a stark juxtaposition that acquired crowds whooping. In response to its co-directors, it’s designed to point out the 2 worlds that Ellie inhabits — and indicate a query.

The Final of Us universe is inhospitable and inhumane. There may be not less than one pocket of one thing resembling pre-outbreak life, however many of the first sport takes place in a world the place people are as a lot of a risk because the fungal contaminated.

That is the world into which the sport’s protagonist, Ellie, was born. We all know from a line initially of the The Final of Us Half 2’s E3 trailer that her pocket of what passes for regular human civilization in Jackson, Wyoming is susceptible. And rising up in a world gone mad formed her character — simply as, I believe, it could form you and me.

“The Final of Us is absolutely about excessive stakes at its core, and we actually needed to point out what’s at stake for Ellie,” co-director Anthony Newman informed Polygon at E3 2018. “In Jackson, Ellie has been capable of finding this sense of normalcy. She’s been capable of form of be a traditional teenager and have teenage romance. We actually needed to point out that facet of her — that sweetness — and the relationships which can be at stake for her on this world, after which transitioning into [a time] after a violent act is dedicated in Jackson form of wrecks that world. That is the world that she’s pressured to confront.

“So our sport is a really holistic expertise the place it’s inspecting each the highs and lows — the sweetness and the brutality of the human expertise. We actually needed to mix that into one expertise for our viewers.”

Briefly, the juxtaposition between the kiss and the killing was intentional. And that’s one thing that its administrators say will probably be a theme all through the sport.

“It’s a sport about what you’ll do and the strains you’ll cross in seek for justice, and we’re seeing a facet of Ellie, a component Ellie that we haven’t seen earlier than,” co-director Kurt Margenau mentioned. “And with out speaking an excessive amount of concerning the story, it makes you consider how did she get right here? What’s the context with the state of affairs? Which is form of the purpose of it — to lift these questions in your thoughts. And what the sport broadly addresses is that query in conversations about violence, presenting it very contrasting approach for E3.”

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Ellie slashes a woman with a switchblade in The Last of Us Part 2

A part of what made the unique sport work was Ellie’s age. She was a younger, comparatively harmless teenager. When she mentioned “Fuck, Joel!” in disbelief after some notably grotesque killing, gamers felt the pang of her response. It was the tragic, if unavoidable actuality of being a teen in The Final of Us.

In The Final of Us Half 2, Ellie is older. And tattooed. And apparently in love. Identical to anybody, she’s coping with totally different feelings at 19 than she was when she was 13.

Devoid of that context, the trailer could possibly be learn otherwise. Had been the individuals within the crowd on the PlayStation E3 occasion cheering as a result of they cared concerning the characters? The place they cheering for good triumphing over evil? Did they perceive the purpose — harmless teenage emotionalism juxtaposed with barbaric (if crucial) violence? Or did they similar to to see buckets of blood sandwiched between kisses?

It’s jarring. However then so is the world of The Final of Us Half 2. Naughty Canine was capable of construct an exquisite core of emotion, informed by way of the gradual and infrequently reluctant bond between a younger lady and her surrogate father within the first sport. Absent that context within the sequel’s trailer, it’s laborious to learn the response.

The builders say they hope that the reactions have been tied to viewers’ emotions for Ellie.

Ellie hides under a car in The Last of Us Part 2

“It’s a tough factor since you don’t know why. It’s laborious to know what’s inside somebody’s thoughts and the way they’re reacting the best way they’re,” Margenau mentioned. “Some individuals have talked about individuals the cheering for the violence. I imply to me, I don’t suppose individuals are going to be sitting at house cheering the violence within the sport. I really feel prefer it’s the empathy that they really feel for this character that folks know and simply at first you’re introduced into her life and her world, it was very, for lack of a greater time period, like regular, boring approach of like I’m at a dance and I’m speaking about on a regular basis life stuff. After which, oh, now this individual is on this very, very darkish, totally different state of affairs and also you’re empathizing along with her and also you’re cheering for it, I suppose actually in addition to figuratively. Her methodology of getting out of that state of affairs occurs to be on this world very lifelike.”

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Though the scene and the extent within the trailer each occur within the sport, “they don’t essentially occur in that actual order,” Margenau mentioned. As a substitute, Naughty Canine tied them collectively to convey the themes of the sport, which incorporates Ellie’s sexuality.

“What’s essential on this sport is displaying some teenage life,” Margenau mentioned. “And which means romance, it means angst, it means difficult relationships together with your parental determine and your folks round you. And part of what we’re displaying right here is simply a part of that form of teenage romance of, yeah, she occurs to be homosexual. She’s into somebody who’s been a pal for a very long time, Dina.”

“We’re simply all in favour of an trustworthy portrayal of the path of the world,” Newman mentioned. “And it’s not an agenda that’s driving this. We’re simply all in favour of creating distinctive characters which can be actually portrayed in a approach that’s, we expect, related to the world as it’s.”

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