It would be hard to say that The Last of Us Part II isn’t a polarizing experience, as the game has generated a vast number of heated debates on the internet in recent years, with many surfacing after it was released on the market a few weeks ago.
The title sold well and received outstanding reviews from a large number of critics, but it seems that a large number of the fans of the first title are far from being impressed by the second game, criticizing many aspects, including the focus on a dark story.
From criticism to death threats
Vitriolic reactions to the content found in a video game are nothing new as fans had criticized video game sequels in the past on countless occasions, especially when the developers implemented changes that didn’t match their expectations.
However, a small number of passionate fans have crossed a line. Criticism is an essential part of gaming culture, but Naughty Dog, the developer behind The Last of Us franchise, has noted that many of its employees have received death threats after the title was released. In a post shared on Twitter, the studio criticized harassment and argued that more needs to be done to ensure a balanced environment.
Although we welcome critical discussion, we condemn any form of harassment or threats directed towards our team and cast. Their safety is our top priority, but we must all work together to root out this type of behavior and maintain a constructive and compassionate discourse. pic.twitter.com/eoq4t1ITnh
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) July 5, 2020
Neil Druckmann, who is deemed by one of the fans as the man who single-handedly ruined a promising franchise, has also shared some of the messages he received on Twitter from disgruntled fans, with many of them featuring threats of violence, homophobic and anti-Semitic content.
You can love or hate the game and share your thoughts about it. Unfortunately too many of the messages I've been getting are vile, hateful, & violent. Here are just a handful of them (feel it's important to expose.) Trigger Warning: transphobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, etc. pic.twitter.com/uR9vpGgYQa
— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) July 5, 2020
Laura Bailey, a popular voice actor who portrayed Abby, the main antagonist of The Last of Us Part II, was also the target of death threats and other hateful messages from the same crowd. Bailey received a lot of support from the gaming community but such messages can take a heavy toll.
Man. I try to only post positive stuff on here… but sometimes this just gets a little overwhelming. I blacked out some of the words cuz, ya know, spoilers.
Side note. Thank you to all the people sending me positive messages to balance it out. It means more than I can say.❤️ pic.twitter.com/kGyULWPpNu
— Laura Bailey (@LauraBaileyVO) July 3, 2020