The Last of Us: Zombies meet escort missions

By Amelia Hill
Online Editor

This summer, the much anticipated post-apocalyptic story comes to the Playstation 3—yes, we’re talking about The Last of Us.


The story is set two decades after a modern plague has decimated millions, with nature slowly retaking the abandoned cities. The survivors are imprisoned, completely under the United States government, inside quarantine zones. The game follows two survivors—Joel, a hardened black-marketeer, and Ellie, a 14-year-old girl. Joel must escort Ellie away from the harsh regime to a resistance group known as the Fireflies. (So, yeah, the game is one big escort mission. But I’m telling you, it’ll be awesome). [YouTube Video-Trailer]


While playing The Last of Us, gamers take control of Joel, while Ellie is controlled by the AI. The game involves gun fighting and melee combat, in addition to a cover system. The player must fend off the Infected—or anyone hostile towards Joel and Ellie, for that matter.

(This is where the lame idea of an escort mission becomes super cool).

Featuring “dynamic stealth,” The Last of Us won’t be a casual game. Dynamic stealth means there are many different types of strategies and techniques the player may use at any given time as he approaches a new situation, to which enemies react differently. Ellie reacts as well, the AI making her throw bricks, shoot guns and tackle enemies—she actually helps, unlike most.

“Balance of Powers,” an AI system Naughty Dog created, is also incorporated. Basically, it allows enemies to react realistically to any combat situation. This includes taking cover when the player is spotted, calling for help, and taking advantage of the player’s weaknesses.


The concept for the game arose after watching a segment of the BBC nature documentary Planet Earth, which documented a cordyceps fungus-infected ant, where the fungus takes over its brain and produces growths from its head. The idea that the fungus could infect humans became Naughty Dog’s initial concept. [Youtube Video- Fungus]

Major artistic inspirations included City of Thieves, I am Legend, No Country for Old Men, The Road, and The Walking Dead.

The Last of Us is not necessarily a “zombie game,” but rather an emotional story about a father-daughter-like relationship.


Created by a previously unpublicized, 80-person Naughty Dog team, the game was made with motion capture, a process used to record movements of human actors. The developers then take that information recorded and animate digital character models.

Development started during the making of Uncharted 3—that was over two years ago.

The game has won multiple awards,two being: IGN’s Best PS3 Game and G4TV’s Best PS3 Game. The Last of Us will be released worldwide, June 14, 2013.