It’s with a touch of dark humor that I always laugh at ESRB game warnings like “May Contain Content Inappropriate for Children”, because those warnings are almost always followed by some obviously inappropriate content; there’s no “May” about it. And then there’s a game like Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II. The first award-winning game in the series was dark, both visually and narratively, but this new trailer for the sequel aims to showcase just how brutal the game’s world has become since then. Fair warning, it’s not for the faint of heart.
And it’s due to the graphic violence, carried out against women and children no less, that has some folks upset with Sony’s presentation of said game. The Telegraph chatted with Jim Ryan, President of Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, President of Global Sales and Marketing for Sony Interactive Entertainment, after the company’s slate of content for upcoming games was unveiled during Paris Games Week. We’ll share his comments following the trailer.
Check out the new trailer for The Last of Us Part II, keeping the warning in mind:
Pretty brutal, yeah? (Oh and also no sign of Joel and Ellie just yet, which might be a good thing considering.) Here’s what Ryan had to say about it:
“The Last of Us obviously is a game made by adults to be played by adults. I should never prejudge this but it will probably be rated ’18’, I think it’s fair to say. And there’s that market for those people who like that sort of game. Adults who like that sort of game. And I think we cater for that, and at the other end of the spectrum there was Concrete Genie, which my 8 year old decided was the game she would like to play very much.
“I think a platform holder provides a platform and the people who make games, whether they’re our own studios or third party publishers, they bring the content to the platform. We provide the platform. We have to ensure the right content is played by the right people – of appropriate ages in particular. I thought The Last of Us Part 2 was a great way to end the show and I feel very good about it.”
The TL;DR version of this is basically, “It’s not our game. Take it up with Naughty Dog.” Ryan did go on to address how this clip, taken out of context, was only a small representation of the overall game:
“I think what we’re trying to do is to portray qualities of the various games we had on show. And I think it is difficult when you have a clip of four or five minutes to synthesise a gameplay experience that can be measured in the tens of hours. And, again, the studio was seeking to portray a game that will be rated as suitable for adults to play and that’s what we did.”
Naughty Dog, Sony, and the ESRB have covered their own asses by rating games like this as Mature or 18+, etc., but ultimately you’ll be able to see kids playing this on Twitch and glorifying in the violence. This is nothing new. But as the Uncanny Valley draws closer to reality, and as the violence turns from humans vs monsters/aliens/zombies to realistically depicted human-on-human brutality, it’s getting harder and harder to justify these violent delights. Many will thrill at the chance to pick up the evolution of the award-winning original game regardless of this trailer, a smaller percentage will opt out due to the glorified violence, and a smaller audience still (I hope) will gleefully cackle at the “artistry” on display. Your mileage may vary.