So a trailer for The Last of Us 2 has been released, and I for one think it looks fucking badass. I like that we're seeing a cast of new characters and we're already getting hints of new conflicts. There was some serious religious overtones in the trailer, so I'm thinking we're going to see a fair amount of intolerance in the next game. At this point though, I don't even care if Joel or Ellie never appear again - I just want to play as *that* chick.
I don't know who she is or where she comes from, but I *want* to know! I don't know where she's gotten the food to be that goddamn rig in a post apocalyptic world, but she is a fucking machine! And it works too, she reminds me of Scarlett Johansson's Major from the live action Ghost in the Shell - she's this bulky warrior who just stomps around. You would not want to get into a fist fight with this chick because chances are that she'd just decimate you and all your friends. I really hope we get the chance to play as her, she's got this physicality that would let her go toe to toe with any Hunter.
I'm quite interested in these other two characters as well, they were both named and they're both Asian. For all the praise the first game got for inclusivity, there were no Asians on the roster, so it looks like Naughty Dog are getting on top of that right off the bat. With all that's being going on in Hollywood lately, with titles like Aloha, Iron Fist and Great Wall screwing over Asian American actors in favor of white actors, it makes sense from a casting perspective.
The young boy's hesitance to cut the warrior woman down, and his line "but she's one of them" could potentially mean Naughty Dog have written the absence of Asians in the original TLoU into the story. It's possible that where they were blamed for the cause of the Cordyceps Virus and ostracized by others, and that's why we never saw them in the first game. Or maybe it's got nothing to do with race and this warrior woman is just part of some group that nobody likes, I don't know. The powers that be have said that the second game will be about hate, and we already know there's a high level of religious intolerance, so some sort of race-based conflict it's not beyond the realm of possibility.
Of course, not even a day after the trailer was released people have been writing articles about how it's far too violent and how it's disturbing that women are involved in the violence. The fact that two men are killed is overlooked and the focus is brought around to the broken arm of one woman, and the smashed in skull of another. Killing is fine as long as it's straight white men doing the dying, apparently, but we can't have women or children getting hurt. Never mind the fact that this is a post apocalyptic world where there are raging mushroom zombies that eat people... and humans that eat people... and humans that kill children because they're ordered too... and humans that try to kill children because they're sca- okay, you get it. It's a crapsack world, is what I'm trying to say.
I don't want to spend too much time raging about this topic again, except to say that this stops being an issue when you stop trying to make The Last of Us into something that it isn't. The world has gone to shit, but there are still good people out there and sometimes they have to do terrible things to get out alive. Stop trying to politicize it and spin it so that it reinforces your pre-existing views, just let it be its own thing. If you twist it and make it less dark then the overall story will suffer for it, the emotional pay off at the end is linked to the amount of risk involved in getting there.
A lot of people die in post apocalyptic stories, and even more get hurt, this is because they're not meant to be nice stories. They're tales of hardship and struggle and about making it through to the other side against all odds, the pay off is only worth it if the danger is real and the cost is high. Nobody cares that you walked across a field of daisies, but if there were ten Clickers and a Bloater on that field of daisies then that's a story that people are going to get invested in.
Anyway, I'm damn keen to see where they take this narrative. That warrior woman looks like she doesn't take shit from anyone, I'm sure she'd make for a powerful and conflicted protagonist. Maybe we get to see Joel and Ellie again, maybe not, but from the looks of things it seems like we'll be in good company either way.