One of the biggest bona fide global phenomena of 2020 was the highly anticipated release of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II. The game had been in development for quite a while and Naughty Dog was in the unenviable position of following up on a certified masterpiece.
Many believed that it was near impossible for the studio to deliver on expectations after the excellent original. 2013's The Last of Us, in many ways, was perhaps the biggest gamble in Naughty Dog's history, with many within the studio feeling that it might be what "does Naughty Dog in."
Instead, The Last of Us achieved massive critical acclaim across the board and fans responded overwhelmingly positively. The sequel to the modern classic had lofty goals and expectations to hit, but if recent statistics indicate anything, it is that the studio was able to achieve similar heights yet again.
The Last of Us Part II wins Excellence in Narrative award at SXSW Gaming Awards
The Last of Us Part II recently broke the record for the most awarded game in history, which was previously held by CDPR's excellent The Witcher 3. One would expect fan opinion to then be largely unanimous, yet that couldn't be further from the truth.
The game has divided public opinion; but that is not a statement on the technical aspects of the game, but more so regarding the narrative. Even before the release of the game, director Neil Druckmann and lead writer Halley Gross had been pretty open with fans with regards to how divisive the narrative of The Last of Us Part II could be.
Eluding the fact that not all fans of the original might be on board 100 percent with the narrative in the sequel, that kind of risk-taking is what the industry and the fans ultimately appreciate at the end of the day.
Recent awards only indicate that Naughty Dog's ambitions with regards to narrative and gameplay have been acknowledged by the industry. Most recently it bagged the coveted Excellence in Narrative award at the SXSW Gaming Awards.
The Last of Us Part II was also nominated for Video Game of the Year and the Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award.
The award for Excellence in Narrative was bagged by the excellent Disco Elysium last year, one of the most acclaimed indie games of the decade. This year's nominees included the likes of Ghost of Tshushima, Hades, Immortals Fenyx Rising, and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Other major awards at this year's SXSW Gaming Awards included Hades bagging Video Game of The Year. Ori and the Will of The Wisps won the award for Excellence in Score as well, much to the delight of fans of the absolutely brilliant score and game.
For a full list of winners, head over to the official SXSW site, linked here.