Sony and Naughty Dog are looking for ways to deliver the highly anticipated title, The Last of Us 2, to audiences in a “fair” way which could include a digital release.
The indefinite delay for The Last of Us 2 tugged at the heartstrings for the millions of players waiting for the next installment of Joel and Ellie’s story.
Due to the current worldwide situation, Naughty Dog has to “sit on [The Last of Us 2] for a little bit,” since the game is basically all there, but is lacking a reliable strategy to get it to its worldwide audience.
But not all hope is lost. Vice President of Naughty Dog and writer/director Neil Druckmann said that the industry is still reacting to the changes in retail chains, and that a final decision hadn’t been made.
While the circumstances for physical copies of the game are certainly going to be affected, an online release is something that has been looked at.
“Whether we can get physical copies to people, is the internet infrastructure there to support in all countries?” he said on the PlayStation Blogcast.
The online avenue would seem like the most direct way to handle the complication of a worldwide release, though it isn’t without its faults.
“You know, this is a worldwide game that people in every country are waiting for, and we want to make sure we’re fair,” Druckmann said. “If we just get it to like a small fraction of people, what does that do to all the people that don’t get it?”
It’s a tricky situation for everyone involved.
For the creators, the last thing they want is to make the biggest game in the new decade available for some players and not others.
For partnered retailers, they wouldn’t want to see some channels sell the game when they literally can’t.
For the player, it would suck if your pre-ordered physical copy has been delayed just to have to buy it again as a digital release.
Or if you do plan on buying it digitally, how would the PlayStation Network hold up as everyone rushes to download the game?
A situation could arise where some are able to download TLOU2 while others are stuck waiting for PSN to revive, which circles back to the creator’s concern.
“So we’re right now looking at all sorts of different options,” Druckmann said. “What’s the best way to get it to all of our fans as soon as possible? But that’s gonna take time for us to shift and figure things out.”
An episodic digital release could help ease the strain of downloads, but that’s nowhere near ideal or feasible for both fans and developers to go through.
A bright, albeit small, silver-lining in this “frustrating” situation for Druckmann is that the devs “are at the one-yard line” with The Last of Us 2 and are “taking their time [due to the delay] to review each section to make it Naughty Dog quality.”