When a developer makes a universally beloved game, the pressure is on from the get-go to capitalize on it. At times, we’ve seen developers rise to the occasion and deliver sequels that amplify everything the original title did, and they’re thanked for it. But with The Last Of Us Part 2, that wasn’t exactly the case. The original adventure of Joel and Ellie, which got a well-received remake recently, is hailed as one of the best games ever made. So when word of a sequel emerged, fans were instantly excited because they wanted to see where this game would go. Unfortunately, what would follow was a long and arduous road to release, one that was punctuated by its divisive reception at launch.
So what happened? Well, it’s complicated. The hype was at an all-time high at launch, which didn’t help the player’s feelings. It also didn’t help that leaks for the game kept coming out and altering what people thought the game would be about. When players finally got into the game, they were stunned by the death of Joel in the beginning parts of the title, and then the dark story that followed troubled players and critics alike. While the game got critical praise like the original, many aspects of the story were called out. Fans of the original went nuts and even review-bombed the title. Unfairly at points. It also didn’t help that despite the division in the ranks, many sites gave the title Game of the Year, which many felt was undeserved.
One of the biggest criticisms came from the character of Abby. She was the one in the game who killed Joel. Then, in the game’s final act, you played as her for a time to “see her side of the story.” Many didn’t respond well to that, and many bad things followed. That included actress Lauren Bailey getting death threats because of her portrayal of Abby. That’s not how gamers should act, ever.
Despite the backlash, Bailey said in an interview recently that she’d be up for continuing her character if asked:
“I would definitely go back to her. I know there was a lot of drama and response to her character, but it was one of the most influential roles I’ve had in my life. I would 100% go back to play more Abby if the opportunity came up.”
That again shows how she was unfazed by what happened with The Last Of Us Part 2 backlash. Good for her.
However, we can’t say whether a third game in the series will happen. Indeed, the sequel sold well, but the backlash, mixed with how long it took to make the second title, might put Naughty Dog on edge. So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.