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The Last of Us 2 Trailer Controversy Explained

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One of the nice surprises at Sony’s Paris Games Week press conference was a new trailer for The Last of Us: Part 2. While many fans were excited to see more footage of the highly anticipated game, others were outraged at the extreme level of violence shown in the trailer. Over the past couple of weeks, numerous outlets have stepped forward decrying the trailer for its brutality, but some fans may still not quite understand why there’s so much controversy.

For any fans of The Last of Us: Part 2 that aren’t quite sure why the game is being criticized, we have collected some statements from a few different outlets that explain why they personally took issue with the trailer. Before jumping into those statements, however, it may be worthwhile for fans to re-watch the Paris Games Week trailer:

As far as video games go, The Last of Us: Part 2‘s trailer is far from the goriest or most violent. However, it still didn’t sit well with some critics, who are now worried that they won’t be able to enjoy the full game if the entire thing matches the tone of the trailer.

Erik Kain (Forbes)

“I just found myself cringing while watching the video. The violence is incredibly brutal. If the entire game is this grim, I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy it.”

Beyond being criticized for the extreme brutality shown in it, the latest trailer for The Last of Us: Part 2 has also come under fire specifically for depicting violence against women, and using that imagery to sell a video game.

Julia Alexander (Polygon)

“The fact that their antagonist is a woman herself does little to undercut what this trailer is on its most blunt level: an extended sequence of brutal and unexplained violence against women being used to thrill the viewer, and ultimately, sell a video game.”

The Last of Us Part Two character details

Other fans weren’t disappointed by the trailer due to it having violent content, but because of the lack of a foil for the violence. As anyone that played the first game will recall, The Last of Us is full of touching, sweet, and charming moments to make its brutal violence a little easier to stomach. The trailer for The Last of Us: Part 2, meanwhile, only showcased the violence, and none of the deep, emotionally profound character interactions or moments that helped make the first game such a memorable experience.

Max Scoville and Alanah Pearce (IGN)

“It’s honestly a testament to the writing, directing, and acting in The Last of Us that my memories of it are of the protagonists’ friendship, rather than its many horrifying and gruesome moments. Giving us a trailer that only shows one of those things without the other is confusing to say the least. Without knowing who anyone is, it’s just wholesale murder, which totally misses everything I loved about The Last of Us.”

It’s clear by these statements that some fans have taken issue with The Last of Us: Part 2‘s trailer. On the other hand, some could argue that the violence shown in the trailer is not unlike some of the scenes from the original game, which had plenty of disturbing, shocking moments of its own. And with hate being the theme of The Last of Us: Part 2, an increase in violence is to be expected.

Sony itself has come to the defense of its game, with Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe president Jack Ryan commenting on the controversy. “The Last of Us obviously is a game made by adults to be played by adults,” he said, before pointing out that Sony also showed nonviolent games at its Paris Games Week press conference.

It’s possible Ryan is right and the controversy is being blown out of proportion, especially since we currently know very little about The Last of Us: Part 2. We are pretty sure it’s set in Seattle, but that has yet to be confirmed by Sony. Theories that Joel is dead still abound on the Internet, and gameplay details remain tightly guarded. The latest trailer represents a mere snapshot of the full game, and while the final product is likely to be just as brutal, it could very well address the concerns some have after seeing it.

The Last of Us: Part 2 will launch in 2018, exclusively for PlayStation 4.

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