A withdrawn-looking 19-year-old leans against the bar in a rustic barn decorated with fairy lights, watching other people dance, taking nervous sips. She is looking at another young woman who is spinning around the room with a couple of different guys. "I hate these things," says a friend standing next to her. "Tell me about it," she replies. But then the other woman catches her eye and encourages her on to the dancefloor. They banter playfully; she looks torn between nervous excitement and visible discomfort.
The Last of Us is as much about the bonds between Joel and his surrogate daughter Ellie as it is about their post-fungal-apocalypse world. The Last of Us is as much about the bonds between Joel and his surrogate daughter Ellie as it is about their post-fungal-apocalypse world. For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective. I played the game through the first time in something like a perfect state of awe and terror.
Before we launch into this review, a brief note. Video games are made by people, and blockbusters like The Last of Us Part II only happen after years of work by a veritable army. It's a challenging process that sometimes creates unhealthy working environments. The need to finish something on a deadline that can be so unpredictable that it sometimes leads to significant amounts of enforced overtime – a situation known as "development crunch." More often than not, this occurs when studio mismanagement crashes against the unbending business realities of releasing a major game.
It is something the games industry has been criticised for lacking in the past - especially in major releases like this. Ashley says: "I just think it's essential, representation in all media, we need it in every form. "I think things are slowly starting to change. "I would love to get to a point in entertainment where this isn't considered something risky." For game director Neil Druckman, the decision wasn't made for the sake of it: "We didn't say, 'Let's get diverse just to stand out'. It was more like an option to give us a richer story."