In an effort to hire new talent, The Last of Us Part II co-director Anthony Newman stated on Twitter that the remaining job opening for Naughty Dog would help “close out” development for the highly-anticipated sequel. Newman highlighted the animation of melee combat for the game, which implements high-end motion matching technology. Motion matching naturally blends different animations together, often including differing motion capture sequences. Ultimately, players just need to know that the animation would look super neat.
Neil Druckmann has been outspoken about the narrative side of things concerning the PS4 exclusive. He posted on Twitter that the team just finished filming the ending of the game. This is further corroborated by Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker finishing their final scene together, which has also been documented by Druckmann. Fans have debated whether or not The Last of Us Part II would be a holiday 2019 game or not. A noted sales analyst who goes by the name “Benji-Sales” adamantly claimed Naughty Dog is aiming for a 2019 release and prominent investigative games journalist Jason Schreier is confident that the title would release in the fall.
However, both have stressed that the date has not yet been finalized, so an early 2020 release is entirely possible. Given the evidence we currently have concerning the development status, it is all but confirmed that Naughty Dog will work to release The Last of Us Part II this year. As a result, as verified insider and game developer nicknamed “shinobi602” noted on ResetEra forums, Naughty Dog has entered a state of serious crunch as the year is fleeting. A November release is within the realm of possibility, despite a predictably strong third-party presence. The Last of Us has sold over 17 million copies and has become a gigantic IP for Sony.
While Sony allows their studios generous amounts of time to finish their game, it would be a huge financial benefit to have a game like The Last of Us Part II release just in time for the holiday season. So far, Sony’s remaining exclusive lineup for 2019 is relatively light. Sure, they have titles such as Concrete Genie, MediEvil, Iron Man VR, among others, but those are double-A games at the most. The only triple-A exclusive the PS4 had recently was Days Gone, which has received a somewhat lukewarm critical response. A sequel to one of the highest-rated games of all time from a world-renowned studio would be a gift from the heavens to Sony. Consequently, it would be a top priority to release TLOUPII close to Thanksgiving.
Of course, nothing has been confirmed yet and the game could very well be a 2020 release. If it were to release in the fall, we would hear of it in the next State of Play, which would air sometime in the summer. I believe a 2019 release is very likely but an early 2020 release is always a possibility. It all depends on how smooth the development will be. Knowing Naughty Dog’s brilliance and speed, I’m expecting a fall release, especially considering the hefty support Sony always pours into their first-party games. Delays could obviously happen, but it’s never guaranteed. All we can do in the meantime is wait and see.
Do you expect The Last of Us Part II to release this fall? Why or why not? Do some of you believe the game will be pushed back to the PS5? If so, what’s wrong with you? Joking aside, please let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for more content from Sick Critic!
News and feature writer for Sick Critic since 2017. Undergraduate studying English. Writes stories on: PlayStation news and analysis, general video game industry affairs, the film industry affairs, and the streaming wars.