The Last Of Us (TLOU for short) is a masterpiece in how to create emotionally involved stories. The idea of bringing tow characters together through both gameplay and story has never really been done before in such an effective way, in my opinion. In the case of The Last Of Us, these two characters are Joel and Ellie. There are lots of spoilers ahead…. so thread carefully!
Joel & Ellie
This is something that we are trying to do in our game. Joel is represented by ‘Eric’ (picture on the right). Eric both physically and emotionally changes throughout the game. He learns his abilities along with the player, this allows us to have an an ‘anchor’ of what both Eric and the player have in common. *SPOILER ALERT* This anchor is also seen in The Last of US. The player starts out as Sarah, here we see Joel from her perspective and we see their relationship. The Last of Us showed how to make the player care about the anchor. When Sarah was killed, the player felt it, although knowing absolutely nothing about her. If this was any other game, then the player would shrug it and want to just start killing shit. But Naughty Dog actually managed to make us care, while only being 5 minutes into the game. The connection between Joel and Ellie really is a special one, they start out not knowing each other and wanting to just “deliver the package”, this is shown not only through Ellie’s body language (Yes, go back and play it. You’ll notice at the beginning of the game Ellie is clearly nervous and anxious. All shown just through how she is standing. Amazing!) but also through the short and snappy dialogue the two characters have.
How Can Other Games Do This? Conclusion
Again, this is something that Naughty Dog has perfected through many years in the industry. My best tip for achieving similar storytelling capabilities, keep it simple! There is no need to have a huge plot line and get deep, thoughtful characters. As they say in Hollywood, “It’s not about the acting, but it’s about how the audience looks into it”. Hollywood is famous for doing this. For example, the director says “look bored” and in the movie, the character looks curious. IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU FRAME THE SHOT. What do you want the player to feel? When should they feel this? Should the main character feel the same? These are all questions that you should know. The only way you’ll find that out is by knowing what your story is about.
And that’s it. I’ve tried to sum up how I feel about the Last of Us story without going in to, too much detail. I plan to write a fuck load more about The Last of Us, so get ready! It’s one of my favourite games and there is so much that it did amazingly! Well, as per usual, follow us on Twitter @BlindFoldStudio to stay up-to-date with what we’re doing. Other than that, have a great day. And don’t forget to come back!