Gaming News & Opinions

The Hate Mob Came for The Last of Us 2 – But Boy, Did Their Scheme Backfire

Despite the sinister side of fandom's best efforts to poison the public narrative, 4.1 million people played The Last of Us Part 2 at launch.

  • A stunning 4.1 million people played The Last of Us Part 2 in the first three days after release.
  • The game attracted more players than either Marvel’s Spider-Man or God of War did within the same time frame.
  • Despite delays, leaks, and review bombing, the game is an unqualified success.

Despite multiple delays, massive spoilers, and review bombing, 4.1 million people played Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2 in the first three days after release.

The Last of Us Part 2 Bests Marvel’s Spider-Man and God of War

The data comes courtesy of PlayStation Network API mining web site Gamestat:

The statistics don’t lie: TLOU2 has been a roaring success. | Source: Gamestat

Although not affiliated with Sony, Gamestat aggregates trophy data from public PSN accounts and My PS4 Life data to estimate the number of players for a specific game. Gamestat operates with a margin of error of ±10%.

According to the data, The Last of Us Part 2 attracted more players than Marvel’s Spider-Man and God of War – two highly-acclaimed fan-favorite PS4 exclusives.

In the first three days after launch, Marvel’s Spider-Man and God of War accrued 3.4 million and 2.7 million players, respectively. Even factoring the margin of error, TLOU Part 2 is significantly more popular than the other two titles.

Sony is unlikely to release official sales figures before a Q3 or Q4 earnings report. Or even as part of an end of year review. As such, these figures are the best currently available to gauge The Last of Us Part 2’s success.

Leaks and Delays

Strong sales were already written in the stars due to the cult standing of the original entry in the franchise. But it’s still been a bumpy road for Naughty Dog’s latest game.

The developer delayed the game multiple times, the most recent of which was caused by distribution woes thrown up by the pandemic.

Not even leaks and review bombing could stunt Naughty Dog’s latest blockbuster. | Source: Naughty Dog

Alongside, massive spoilers surfaced online in April in the form of pre-launch footage, laying bare key plot points, cinematic cut scenes, and gameplay.

The contents of the leak caused a significant backlash. Segments of the fan base voiced their disapproval for perceived controversial plot developments.

The Last of Us Part 2 Review Bombing

At launch, this subsection of fans took to reviewing bombing The Last of Us Part 2 on Metacritic, resulting in a lowly 4.5 user score based on roughly 80,000 reviews compared to a distinctly more positive 95 critic score. In stark contrast, the game amassed a raft of perfect scores from a variety of gaming press outlets.

Many of the negative Metacritic user reviews appeared within hours of the game’s release. Discounting thousands suddenly morphing into seasoned speedrunners, most were from players who had yet to complete the game. The game is 25-30 hours in length.

Some of the reviewers voiced genuine concerns about the game’s plot and character development. Others leveled accusations of “SJW pandering” strewn with anti-LGBT rhetoric. That sentiment had been festering ever since protagonist Ellie and supporting character Dina kissed in the 2018 E3 trailer. And it was more than likely exacerbated by the contents of the recent leak.

But if any of this was meant to create headwinds for the game, its player count paints a pretty clear picture. These efforts have undoubtedly, and fortunately, been in vain, despite the sinister side of fandom’s best schemes to poison and derail the public narrative around The Last of Us Part 2.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 2:01 PM

Thomas Bardwell

UK-based writer covering the video game industry. Email me | Bug me on Twitter