Don’t worry, this post and the above pictures don’t include any spoiler details.
When Sony and Naughty Dog said they were delaying The Last of Us Part 2 indefinitely a few weeks ago, it was in part to make sure that “everyone gets to play [the game] around the same time, ensuring that we’re doing everything possible to preserve the best experience for everyone.” That intent has taken on a new and more ironic meaning today, though, as videos containing massive apparent spoilers for the game have leaked on the Internet—and on the same day that Sony finally confirms the game’s June 19 release date.
While Sunday night’s original YouTube and Reddit postings broadcasting the spoilers have already been taken down, mirrored copies are still relatively easy to find if you’re looking (or even if you’re not looking, depending on how much trolling you’re usually exposed to online). The lengthy video clips show an apparent debug build of the game, including cut scenes and gameplay from the beginning to right up near the end of the narrative. They include significant details about the fate and relationships of major franchise characters as well as previously unrevealed details about gameplay and perspective.
Sony representatives were not immediately available to comment on the apparent leak, though the company has apparently been issuing takedown requests for the footage across platforms. After saying earlier this month that the game was “nearly done with development,” the game was “indefinitely” delayed. That changed hours after news of the game’s leaks began mounting on Monday, though Sony and Naughty Dog didn’t acknowledge the leak in today’s blog post.
Instead, Sony Interactive Entertainment executive Hermen Hulst cited “an ease in the global distribution environment”—and gave another PlayStation-exclusive game, Ghost of Tsushima, a new release date of July 17, as well.
The leaks could be a massive blow to a game that relies on surprise and careful pacing to give maximum impact to major plot points. Already, forum goers and social media chatterers are analyzing the videos and text synopses of the major narrative beats, giving their summary reviews of a disjointed story that they’ve experienced in a completely bastardized format.
While most players feel that spoilers can completely ruin their enjoyment of a narrative experience (as the name suggests), there’s actually some research suggesting that going in with a spoiler can actually increase your enjoyment of a story. But that hasn’t stopped game makers from struggling to maintain the surprise after major game details leak online. In some cases, that even means threatening YouTube takedown notices for spoilers posted by players after a game’s actual launch.
For those who want to try to dodge what is sure to be widespread online discussion of plot details, The Last of Us subreddit recommends using a Spoiler Protection browser extension loaded with a number of game-related keywords.
The Last of Us: Part 2 co-writer Halley Gross previously talked to Ars about the game’s focus on a traumatic experience for Ellie, and her process of “dealing with that trauma, negotiating that trauma, and how that trauma evolves her.”