If rumors are to be believed, Naughty Dog and PlayStation are doubling down on the critically acclaimed franchise The Last of Us. Not only is an HBO series on the way alongside a standalone Factions multiplayer game, but evidence for a full remake of the original Last of Us has appeared online. Clearly, there is interest in expanding the series, and one possible avenue is VR.
With PSVR2 just revealed, Sony will surely need exclusives to drive hardware sales, and Horizon Call of the Mountain is a great start. More VR games based on beloved PlayStation franchises should come, though, and it is hard to think of a franchise that would suit VR better than The Last of Us. Not only would the game make for a terrifying horror experience, but there are some solid stories that a spin-off could tell.
Merging Sony’s Plans For PSVR2 And The Last of Us Content
As mentioned above, more The Last of Us content seems likely. While 2022 may be a busy year for TLoU fans, a VR project could easily come further down the line. Naughty Dog would likely not develop the project, as Sony would surely prefer the studio to be working on traditional PS5 games, but it could assist another studio with the spin-off’s development.
This exact approach is being taken with Horizon Call of the Mountain, a VR game that is being developed by Firesprite with assistance from Guerrilla Games. This approach could work perfectly for a Last of Us VR spin-off, as Naughty Dog could guide another studio with the game’s development to make sure that the tone of the world is captured and the story is as powerful as it should be. The majority of Naughty Dog could focus on traditional AAA titles, creating a win-win scenario for PSVR 2 adopters and fans of classic gaming experiences.
From a PSVR2 title for Marvel’s Spider-Man that lets players swing through New York to an Uncharted spin-off that allows players to explore forgotten cities, Sony’s biggest franchises are perfect for VR technology. Assuming that Horizon Call of the Mountain is a success, more and more PlayStation exclusives could be brought to PSVR2, and The Last of Us should absolutely be one of the properties that makes the cut.
The Potential For The Scariest Last of Us Game Yet
While VR has had its ups and downs so far, one area that the platform has excelled in is horror games. The genre has always translated well to the first-person perspective, and the added fear that comes with players actually feeling like they are exploring some terrifying worlds takes the experience to the next level. While The Last of Us series has never been fully focused on its horror elements, its enemies can be as scary as it gets.
It is easy to imagine a scenario where a Last of Us player loads up their VR headset to explore the series’ post-apocalyptic world, only to stumble into a room full of Clickers. Hearing the creatures get closer through PSVR2’s 3D audio could be extremely unsettling, as could their shouts when players toss a brick to distract them. Feeling them struggle through haptic feedback while going for a takedown would be incredibly immersive, and players could then scavenge the area to prepare for the next fight. Clickers are only the tip of the iceberg, however.
The Last of Us franchises’ Stalker enemies are rare, but they make for some of the most unsettling encounters in the games when they do appear. Seeing and hearing the creatures follow behind the player will undoubtedly make for an uncomfortable experience, while trying to outwit them in a dimly lit building could prove to be a major adrenaline rush. Another possible scenario that would translate perfectly to VR is The Last of Us 2’s Rat King. Players actually stepping into the world and running from the massive amalgamation of infected would undoubtedly lead to an unforgettable experience. Even hiding from human foes and hearing the creepy whistles of the Seraphites would be impactful, leading to a game that shows how scary The Last of Us universe really is.
Stories That A VR Last of Us Spin-Off Could Tell
Aside from being a huge draw for both horror fans and the established Last of Us community, a spin-off game could tell a new story featuring characters other than Joel and Ellie. While the pair is iconic, and their father-daughter bond provides some of the best acting and writing gaming has to offer, a spin-off game provides the chance to focus on another character or group of survivors.
Seeing more of Joel’s brother Tommy is one possibility, as players could see his journey from being a member of the Fireflies to a driving force behind Jackson. Abby’s time in the WLF would be something to explore, as would Bill’s journey after players left his town in the original game. Setting traps as Bill could be a lot of fun, and his story has some untapped potential that should be explored further. A game focused on Marlene and the Fireflies could lead to another interesting spin-off, as would a project that sees gamers doing some smuggler runs as Tess. Even a game where players control Lev’s sister Yara to see the life of a Seraphite up close could be worthwhile. By focusing on a known character, the disconnect between the player and whoever they are controlling could be lessened, as they would already be familiar with the protagonist.
While it would make sense to place a minor The Last of Us character in a starring role, a VR spin-off could still feature an entirely new protagonist. Though this would come with the usual risk of VR protagonists being hard to connect with, the franchise’s consistently strong writing implies that this would not be too much of an issue. An original character could be used to expand the universe beyond what players already know, introducing new factions and infected types somewhere else in the world. The character could then return in a proper The Last of Us 3, with PSVR2 players having some extra attachment to them after controlling them in the spin-off. Obviously, a VR The Last of Us game is just hypothetical and far from confirmed, but the franchise’s memorable foes and rich universe make it a perfect fit for an eventual PSVR 2 game.
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