“It was one of the worst days of my life.”
In May 2020, the gaming industry and community were shocked when hackers leaked footage from then-unreleased The Last Of Us Part 2. It spoiled a huge part of the game, and in this article, I will have to mention what happens, since it’s important to know that in order to understand what creative director Neil Druckmann is talking about.
If you haven’t played the game and want to experience it for your yourself, you should stop reading now. If you have played the game or don’t care for spoilers, read on beyond the spoiler warnings below.
You want to keep reading? Okay, here you go.
In the first two hours of The Last Of Us Part 2, Joel dies, brutally murdered by a young woman named Abby with a golf club. This leaked scene infuriated fans, who were angry at Naughty Dog and Druckmann for killing a beloved character like Joel.
They got even more livid when they discovered that they would have to play as Joel’s killer, Abby, especially when (after launch) it’s revealed that players must play as Abby for about half of the 26-hour game.
In an interview with Kinda Funny, Druckmann said:
“The thing that was really hard was when the leaks happened and you see that scene came out.
The love that people have for this character, and that’s all they have is that, and [the fact you] then play as the person that killed them.
And they lose their shit.
Then we just have to sit there for two months being like, ‘There’s more to it, but we can’t say anything right now’.
They just live with that frustration and anger.
That was hard. That was really fucking hard.
It was one of the worst days of my life when the leak happened.
I saw it happen in real time. I saw when it hit YouTube.
We’re all panicking, asking them to take it down. Then there’s a lag so it takes like an hour to take it down. It had maybe a thousand views when it all got taken down.
Then you just sit there and your fucking heart sinks, and you’re like, ‘It’s out there, it’s only a certain amount of time until it blows up’.
A few hours later it’s everywhere and you’re starting to get hate on every social media you’re on, and soon that turns into death threats, anti-Semitic remarks, and just craziness I never could have anticipated.
I knew people would get upset at a character they love dying. I never thought it would reach this kind of hate? I don’t know how to describe it, even. Frustration?
The thing that was hard to see is then people kind of dug their heels in the sand and took this position like, ‘I already hate this game, no amount of context is going to change it for me’.
At some point, it took a few days, you realise the worst happened.
The worst way this game could be presented happened – our worst fear. Because we did so much to try to protect this story.”
I feel for Druckmann and everyone else who worked on the game at Naughty Dog for years. In my opinion, The Last Of Us Part 2 definitely doesn’t deserve any of the hate it’s still getting after launch. You can read my 4000-word article on that here.
It’s okay for you to not agree with a developer’s decisions or even dislike their games, but when you hate a game so much that you’re willing to throw abuse and incite even more hate? That should never be acceptable in any form.
The Last Of Us Part 2 is available now on the PS4. You can check out Druckmann’s full interview with Kinda Funny in the video below.