Massive spoilers for the upcoming The Last of Us Part II found their way on to the usual gaming haunts and social media yesterday. The spoilers appear to originate from leaks released into the wild by a disgruntled Naughty Dog employee as retribution for an alleged pay dispute.
The leaks come in the wake of what has been a difficult few weeks for the PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Earlier this month, Sony and Naughty Dog announced that they had delayed the game indefinitely from the slated May 29 release date. They cited logistical hurdles thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic hampering the distribution of physical copies of The Last of Us Part II as the reason behind the decision.
Sony scrubbed the leaks from social media and YouTube rapidly, but, unsurprisingly, it was already too late. Fans and those intent on spoiling the game for others created mirrors and copies of the videos and screenshots almost immediately with these spreading far and wide.
The scope of the leaks is substantial. This isn’t a vague run of the mill leak hinting at the overarching story arc or featuring a rogue screenshot. We’re talking major story spoilers, a full list of missions, cut scenes, main menu, and substantial gameplay footage, notably of the end game.
We urge you to avoid anything The Last of Us Part II-related on social media to avoid disappointment. But, even that may not be enough. Certain people have taken to dropping major plot point spoilers in Twitter threads seemingly unrelated to the game.
The situation has led to calls for Sony to release The Last of Us Part II digitally. The logic is that the widespread dissemination of the leaks means it is increasingly difficult to steer clear of spoilers. There are also concerns that even more leaks may find their way online, further adding to the glut of details already out there.
With Sony and Naughty Dog still working out an alternative release strategy for The Last of Us Part II, there’s now even more pressure for clarity about when players can expect to get their hands on the game.
As Sony and Naughty Dog stated previously, there’s a desire to ensure the game releases simultaneously in both digital and physical formats to cater to player preference. The idea is to ensure everyone has access to the game at the same time to ‘to preserve the best experience for everyone.’
Whether this emanates from a genuine concern for players or relates to Sony wanting to maximize sales of the game through physical copies is unclear. If the latter is true, then Sony’s profit motive risks potentially ruining the experience for many.
The sheer hype behind and the appetite for The Last of Us Part II suggest the game will be a massive hit even if released digitally ahead of a physical release further down the line.
It isn’t unreasonable to assume that we’ll be hearing from Sony and Naughty Dog shortly. Silence would do nothing but further destabilize the already crumbling foundations of The Last of Us Part II marketing edifice.