Late last year, Sony unveiled The Last of Us, a game which rests on the border of film. Developed by Naughty Dog, the game retains the cinematic feel from the critically acclaimed Uncharted series, but takes an extra step.
The story follows Joel and Ellie as they trek throughout the abandoned cities of the United States, stricken by a fungal pandemic plague. Though civilization is no where to be seen, the verdant environment feels strangely lush, calming, and slightly serene. Joel and Ellie also exhibit a homely feel in response to their surroundings, all of which works beautifully together.
The developers of Naughty Dog have graced us with videos showing the process in making one of many cutscenes. This one in particular shows Joel and Ellie as they race into a character named Bill’s home. They are immediately suspected of being infected by Bill, which causes Ellie to resort to anger. Joel quickly defuses the situation and asks Bill to help them repair a car. He hesitantly agrees and the scene ends.
Each character is played by a real life actor dressed in motion capture suits, which are then carefully rendered into 3D character models complete with realistic textures. This process gives the in-game characters very fluid human-like actions which resemble that of film. Not only that, but the in-game cinematography speaks for itself with its quick angles and cinematic flair. The result: a captivating scene worthy of a little tinsel.
It’s also strange to note that the character of Ellie comes off as very irritating and quite rash, completely different than her initial maturity that was so praised. Hopefully this is is only due to the contents of the scene as a grating character like that would only be detrimental to such a promising project.
Joel seems the leading man he was made out to be, but holds more of a battle-weary tone than Nathan Drake, the protagonist of the Uncharted series. Both characters contrast seamlessly with each other with Joel having the slight favor of likeability.
With more news sure to come, this film within a game is showing itself to be a masterpiece.