“It’s a bit rough,” Druckmann told the Official PlayStation Blogcast. “You’re working on something for so long – some of us, for years – and there’s a built-in anticipation when you’re doing this thing. Like, you can’t wait for this thing that you’ve been crafting and honing and sometimes dreaming about; you can’t wait to get it in people’s hands and then see their reactions. See what they like or didn’t like, or where the story takes them. And now you gotta put all that on hold because the world is conspiring against us!”
“Internally we know we have a great game and it’s just we have to wait a little bit longer to get it out there to fans. I know fans are disappointed and believe me when I say this: we’re just as disappointed, if not more so, to not be able to get the game out on time.”
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On the question of why not release The Last of Us Part II digitally on the planned date, Druckmann explained there’s still no new plan yet but the key priority is getting the game to all fans – not just some.
“Well, there hasn’t been a final decision yet; right now we’re just reacting,” said Druckmann. “You know, it’s a different retail chain – whether we could get physical copies to people. What is the internet infrastructure there to support it in all countries? This is a worldwide game that people in every country are waiting for, and we want to make sure we’re fair.”
“If we just get it to a small fraction of people, what about all the people that don’t get it? Right now we’re looking at all sorts of different options: what’s the best way to get it to all of our fans as soon as possible? But that’s gonna take time for us to shift and figure things out, and also see where the world’s at. You know, things are changing from day to day.”
Druckmann also stressed that turning the previous press demo into a standalone demo that could be downloaded by the public would be a “massive amount of work” and that the team would rather focus on finishing the game itself instead of rebuilding an outdated demo.
“We’re at the one-yard line, I would say,” said Druckmann. “There’s still some bugs that we’re finding that we’re squashing – we want to polish it as much as we can, taking our time to review each section and making sure it’s all Naughty Dog quality.”
“It’s there; that’s the frustrating part for us! The game is there. We just have to sit on it for a little bit and figure out what’s the best way to get it to our fans.”
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The Last of Us Part II was initially set to arrive on February 22, 2020. That initial release date was confirmed late last year alongside a story trailer and our first chance to go hands-on with The Last of Us’ long-awaited sequel.
Shortly after, Naughty Dog announced The Last of Us Part II would, in fact, be delayed until May 29 for additional polishing. In the wake of this delay reports emerged that the shift to May allegedly led to sustained crunch at Naughty Dog rather than alleviating it.
The Last of Us Part II was also supposed to have its first public hands-on at PAX East 2020 but, due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Sony pulled out of PAX East.
Sony and HBO also recently announced that a The Last of Us TV show adaptation is in the works, set to air on HBO with Druckmann and Chernobyl executive producer Craig Mazin behind the series (and the TV show will replace The Last of Us movie that was previously in the pipe). No casting has been announced, but we’ve offered plenty of suggestions for who should play Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us TV show.
For more on the upcoming sequel, we spoke to Druckmann about Joel’s role in The Last of Us Part II, why The Last of Us Part II isn’t an open world game, as well as how dogs affect stealth and combat.
Luke is Games Editor at IGN’s Sydney office. You can find him on Twitter every few days @MrLukeReilly.