The graphical fidelity and spatial immersion of The Last of Us Part II

VysePSU

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It is around the 6-minute mark of the video when I noticed, for lack of a better word, an increased sense of spatial immersion. This coupled with the impressively detailed facial animations of the characters populating the game world makes it more believable. It is genuinely one of the very few moments where I've thought, "This looks next-gen". Say what you will about The Last of Us Part II looking like just another cinematic movie exclusive from SIE but ironically it is very much a video game and the idea of being immersed in one (whether we're talking about emotional immersion or spatial immersion) is something that's been talked about every console generation. Especially following the advent of HD graphics. It was someone at Microsoft back in the day, maybe Peter Moore, who compared video games to lucid dreams. If I remember it correctly, he was watching his son play Gears of War. Fast forward 13 years or so later and I still believe it to be the most accurate description of the medium.

This isn't really about The Last of Us Part II even though I think it looks amazing but a celebration of the technical power of exclusive games. I don't think this game would look anywhere near as impressive if Naughty Dog were developing it for multiple platforms, and that's true in a way if you think about how long Naughty Dog have been creating PlayStation games. I remember the first time I played the demo for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on the PS3 and I replayed it many times before playing the full game. I can very much see this gameplay demonstration being its own demo you could download on the PlayStation Store with people picking it apart and praising certain aspects though in reality we will just have to wait for the full game to release... I don't know, next year?

In the meantime, rewatching this gameplay demo in HD full-screen, you get to a certain point in the video and it's like, now you are the player character, Ellie, and you are aware of the size of everything in the game world relative to you. And of course you get the same feeling actual playing video games but it's cool when it's a new video game and there's that feeling of the game world being bigger, like the actual level is bigger than a similar scene rendered on a last generation console (e.g. The Last of Us to The Last of Us Part II). You know what I mean? Maybe it has something to do with the increased resolution to 4K.
 
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xXRedxSlugXx

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I've always felt the race for realism has been at the detriment of gameplay. At that point, why not just watch a movie? I never understand why people feel MORE immersed when you are just doing simple actions to progress a story. After watching that video I still feel the same. Is it impressive how the characters react to one another? Sure. But what is the end goal of all this? Ever wonder why you don't see deep gameplay in a cinematic game? They are trying to get you to play through the game design teams "Vision" of what the game is. Doesn't leave much room for freedom in the gameplay. Sounds like a movie to me.
 

DeepEnigma

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I've always felt the race for realism has been at the detriment of gameplay. At that point, why not just watch a movie? I never understand why people feel MORE immersed when you are just doing simple actions to progress a story. After watching that video I still feel the same. Is it impressive how the characters react to one another? Sure. But what is the end goal of all this? Ever wonder why you don't see deep gameplay in a cinematic game? They are trying to get you to play through the game design teams "Vision" of what the game is. Doesn't leave much room for freedom in the gameplay. Sounds like a movie to me.
 

xXRedxSlugXx

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lol I'm not so dense to be oblivious to the fact people like different things. Just genuinely curious to the appeal of said, cinematic experiences and what they offer over a movie watching experience.
 

VysePSU

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lol I'm not so dense to be oblivious to the fact people like different things. Just genuinely curious to the appeal of said, cinematic experiences and what they offer over a movie watching experience.
The interactivity is still there in a video game. This is not like Dear Esther where all you do is walk. The appeal for me with The Last of Us' gameplay was finding the best way to sneak past and take down enemies. I know it's popular to criticize a game for being cinematic but it is only one part of the experience.
 
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VysePSU

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By the way, this is not to say gameplay isn't important. It still is and always will be. I just think we can appreciate both advancements in gameplay and graphics, as opposed to choosing one over the other because of a current design trend.
 
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scalman

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story, dialogs, chemistry between characters was that point that made it on another level from other games. graphic was on another level from U3 on same hardware it was unreal back then and even now.
 
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Sometimes I wonder if people have even played these games... yeah of course they have sections where you are literally just walking and pressing x to jump off a building and listening to characters speak, but these are in between sections of pure gameplay. It is so weird that for instance Uncharted is criticized both for having endless waves of bullet sponge enemies (implying too much video game) and being too cinematic (implying too little video game) at the same time.
 

EverydayBeast

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I've always felt the race for realism has been at the detriment of gameplay. At that point, why not just watch a movie? I never understand why people feel MORE immersed when you are just doing simple actions to progress a story. After watching that video I still feel the same. Is it impressive how the characters react to one another? Sure. But what is the end goal of all this? Ever wonder why you don't see deep gameplay in a cinematic game? They are trying to get you to play through the game design teams "Vision" of what the game is. Doesn't leave much room for freedom in the gameplay. Sounds like a movie to me.
Realism has been on a surge in recent years, I think everyone expects it from SONY.
 

SirTerry-T

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Realism has been on a surge in recent years, I think everyone expects it from SONY.
Some of us prefer escapism to realism though and after a while, the dick waving and chasing for realism, not just from Sony and it's development studios but from the majority of AAA publishers and studios, just becomes incredibly boring. Realism, with all the modern tools Devs have, from motion and facial capture through to photogrammetry and PBR material pipelines has been a hindrance rather than a help as far as novel, original art direction is concerned... however impressive it may look.
Just my opinion.
 

Shifty

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I'm not picking up what you're putting down with this spatial awareness stuff OP. It's a bit vague.

Are you talking about the enemy AI? Level design? Sound design?
 
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VysePSU

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I'm not picking up what you're putting down with this spatial awareness stuff OP. It's a bit vague.

Are you talking about the enemy AI? Level design? Sound design?
Yeah, sorry, it's hard to put into words. Maybe it is not even the right word but what I mean is when you play a new game with better graphics versus an old game with dated graphics (but both games feature levels in a 3D environment), the newer game feels more real.

For example, when Ellie is taking cover behind the vehicle between 5:50 and 5:57, if you've ever played The Last of Us on PS3 then you know it's much more detailed in Part II. Greater detail then translates to better visual immersion. Same thing with the environment. Even in a closed space it still looks bigger but this might be because of the camera along with the scene being rendered in 4K.
 
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molasar

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In other words nice packaging but not the best gameplay.
So the question is why do I bother to play video games?
Maybe because pleasant gameplay, nice graphics, good cinematics/story, realistic AI, etc.?
Anyway, the last game I played was Door Kickers: Action Squad and I had more fun with it than with Uncharted 1-4 and The Last of Us all together. Cinematic/story wise they do not even come close to my favorite films and tv shows. No game does.
 
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Psykodad

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lol I'm not so dense to be oblivious to the fact people like different things. Just genuinely curious to the appeal of said, cinematic experiences and what they offer over a movie watching experience.
Well, for starters, the fact that you control the characters allows for the player to feel more connected as they are the one making the decisions.

Besides, I don't see how cinematic experiences by definition make games less of a 'game'.
 

Norse

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God of war is more impressive imo. I love me some interactive cinematography too so yes, days ii looks unbelievable but at the same time, it's not a "game" in the same respect as a god of war. Just saying.
 

Katsura

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Some of us prefer escapism to realism though and after a while, the dick waving and chasing for realism, not just from Sony and it's development studios but from the majority of AAA publishers and studios, just becomes incredibly boring. Realism, with all the modern tools Devs have, from motion and facial capture through to photogrammetry and PBR material pipelines has been a hindrance rather than a help as far as novel, original art direction is concerned... however impressive it may look.
Just my opinion.
Not to mention the excessive cost of making those realistic graphics. Money that could have been used on better gameplay and level design. To each their own though. I'm certainly not in the target demographic for ND games
 
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xXRedxSlugXx

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Sometimes I wonder if people have even played these games... yeah of course they have sections where you are literally just walking and pressing x to jump off a building and listening to characters speak, but these are in between sections of pure gameplay. It is so weird that for instance Uncharted is criticized both for having endless waves of bullet sponge enemies (implying too much video game) and being too cinematic (implying too little video game) at the same time.
I think the problem I personally have is narrative drives the gameplay, which all too often leads to similar experiences across the board with "cinematic" games. I just feel if I want to have a good story telling experience, I'd rather watch it. Take the first Last of Us for example. Stealth, Crafting, Shooting. I'd love for anyone to defend the game and say it did any of those things better than other games. Being honest they were serviceable at best, but for some reason it gets a pass as amazing because of the story? Meh.

I guess I just prefer my games to be games first and narrative second.
 

Vawn

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lol I'm not so dense to be oblivious to the fact people like different things. Just genuinely curious to the appeal of said, cinematic experiences and what they offer over a movie watching experience.
Oh brother. You haven't played a Naughty Dog game, have you? Having extremely good cutscenes, does turn the entire game into a "movie".
 

DeepEnigma

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Oh brother. You haven't played a Naughty Dog game, have you? Having extremely good cutscenes, does turn the entire game into a "movie".
No, we have to be selective, this is a movie because it has cinematic cut scenes, but Final Fantasy, etc., are not.
 
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xXRedxSlugXx

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Oh brother. You haven't played a Naughty Dog game, have you? Having extremely good cutscenes, doesn't turn the entire game into a "movie".
Probably played more of their entire catalog than most lol, Just not my thing. I just feel cinematic games tend to be extremely shallow experiences. Someone mentioned the newest God of War above and I feel that was headed in a better direction of going back towards a gameplay focus WITH heavy story elements.
 

Three

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Not sure I follow. I mean the character animations are always amazing but what's this spatial immersion and next gen thing about?
 

rəddəM

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It is around the 6-minute mark of the video when I noticed, for lack of a better word, an increased sense of spatial immersion. This coupled with the impressively detailed facial animations of the characters populating the game world makes it more believable. It is genuinely one of the very few moments where I've thought, "This looks next-gen". Say what you will about The Last of Us Part II looking like just another cinematic movie exclusive from SIE but ironically it is very much a video game and the idea of being immersed in one (whether we're talking about emotional immersion or spatial immersion) is something that's been talked about every console generation. Especially following the advent of HD graphics. It was someone at Microsoft back in the day, maybe Peter Moore, who compared video games to lucid dreams. If I remember it correctly, he was watching his son play Gears of War. Fast forward 13 years or so later and I still believe it to be the most accurate description of the medium.

This isn't really about The Last of Us Part II even though I think it looks amazing but a celebration of the technical power of exclusive games. I don't think this game would look anywhere near as impressive if Naughty Dog were developing it for multiple platforms, and that's true in a way if you think about how long Naughty Dog have been creating PlayStation games. I remember the first time I played the demo for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on the PS3 and I replayed it many times before playing the full game. I can very much see this gameplay demonstration being its own demo you could download on the PlayStation Store with people picking it apart and praising certain aspects though in reality we will just have to wait for the full game to release... I don't know, next year?

In the meantime, rewatching this gameplay demo in HD full-screen, you get to a certain point in the video and it's like, now you are the player character, Ellie, and you are aware of the size of everything in the game world relative to you. And of course you get the same feeling actual playing video games but it's cool when it's a new video game and there's that feeling of the game world being bigger, like the actual level is bigger than a similar scene rendered on a last generation console (e.g. The Last of Us to The Last of Us Part II). You know what I mean? Maybe it has something to do with the increased resolution to 4K.
Every now and then I rewatch the gameplay demo and it's just ridiculous what they're doing with the animations in this game. You have to look real close and carefully to spot the "flaws".
Setting the bar for motion matching and animation blending.
 
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rəddəM

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Not sure I follow. I mean the character animations are always amazing but what's this spatial immersion and next gen thing about?
It's when quickly forget you're in a videogame world because the animations, interactions and A.I. with and in the world are harmonious/realistic.
Of course it's just a demo played in one specific way you could argue it's scripted because of how good it looks...
I actually don't know what I'm talking about but I'm talking about.
 

MagnesG

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I'm not impressed or even immersed. There's only more variety in graphics and exaggerated scripts but with little to nothing new in gameplay, what's in it to be hyped about? I may be appreciating The Order more, at least the game is short enough, like a movie.
 
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Keihart

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Yeah, sorry, it's hard to put into words. Maybe it is not even the right word but what I mean is when you play a new game with better graphics versus an old game with dated graphics (but both games feature levels in a 3D environment), the newer game feels more real.

For example, when Ellie is taking cover behind the vehicle between 5:50 and 5:57, if you've ever played The Last of Us on PS3 then you know it's much more detailed in Part II. Greater detail then translates to better visual immersion. Same thing with the environment. Even in a closed space it still looks bigger but this might be because of the camera along with the scene being rendered in 4K.
I think you are talking about the increase in the perceived polygons and details on the envyroments, for example, in WOW when you reach a mountain they feel dwarf because there is no much more detail when you get close to them compared to something like RD2 or even BoTW. Sense of scale it's the term i think and SoTC and TLG are the games to point to as examples.

Edit:
I'm not impressed or even immersed. There's only more variety in graphics and exaggerated scripts but with little to nothing new in gameplay, what's in it to be hyped about? I may be appreciating The Order more, at least the game is short enough, like a movie.
There are new things gameplay wise that you can extract from the gameplay trailer. Now you can hide under cars, that's new. Now you have to dodge melee attacks, that's new. Now attacks can inflict status effects, that's new.....and exploding arrows, that's new too. Maybe i didn't picked up every detail, but those are pretty in your face additions.

Talking about graphics, the rendering while nice is not as impressive as the animation in my opinion, there aren't currently any games that match Uncharted 4's quality and variety of contextual animations and this is going further. I think contextual animations are a pretty big deal because they can make things that usually look very gamey look way more natural. A big recent example of this is DMC5 where running got completly changed in how it looks because of this and dodges also look way better because they got some nice contextual animations.

Edit2: Talking about animation, this is a great talk about how they integrated physics in U4 animations, i particularly like this part where they test the ragdolls on dead enemies lol
 
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MagnesG

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There are new things gameplay wise that you can extract from the gameplay trailer. Now you can hide under cars, that's new. Now you have to dodge melee attacks, that's new. Now attacks can inflict status effects, that's new.....and exploding arrows, that's new too. Maybe i didn't picked up every detail, but those are pretty in your face additions.
Some of them are pretty standard gameplay movement we had seen and played much from other games? And the gameplay loop of those past games are already boring the fuss out of me. This doesn't seem better, it's just more pads imo.

The story and fancy graphics would be the main attractions, and people like to flock to these things too - sales are good so thank god. For those who don't or seem to like watching movies better, naw. I get sleepy watching movies these days so doing busywork inter story cutscenes with long ass downtime walking just frustrates me more. Might as well just sleep on if I'm not enjoying it.
 
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EDMIX

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The interactivity is still there in a video game. This is not like Dear Esther where all you do is walk. The appeal for me with The Last of Us' gameplay was finding the best way to sneak past and take down enemies. I know it's popular to criticize a game for being cinematic but it is only one part of the experience.
This.

What is so strange, is this game has a 2 behind it.....as in, they can just see the first game to get an idea of what they might do vs this strange guessing lol

Be like "its just a movie" - Them

"huh? The first game wasn't just a movie, you can play it with lots of freedom, craft items, choose different paths of battle, complex gameplay set ups, lots of puzzles and enemy variety" - Us.

(exits chat) - Them
 
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Danjin44

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I feel like I played entirely different The Last of Us from rest of people, the game had lots of cutscenes but I never felt like game was "movie" game. The again these days when people see a glance of character walking they would call the game "walking simulator".
 
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rəddəM

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I'm not impressed or even immersed. There's only more variety in graphics and exaggerated scripts but with little to nothing new in gameplay, what's in it to be hyped about? I may be appreciating The Order more, at least the game is short enough, like a movie.
How dare you, XBot!?
There's no announced game out there pushing this kind of motion matching and blending in animations.
The demo literally shows you sneaking/creeping on enemies, attacking/dodging enemies, hiding in tall/low grass and under cars, squeezing through small spaces, running for your life, parkour and now you can jump too.
And it all looks almost perfect. I'm not even gonna start on enemy A.I., gameplay facial animations and the gore.
There's a lot of new stuff and by saying there isn't it just show how much of an lazy XBot you are. If you're not impressed by TLoU2's gameplay animations nothing will BRUH.
Haters gonna hate just for the sake of it.
 

MagnesG

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How dare you, XBot!?
There's no announced game out there pushing this kind of motion matching and blending in animations.
The demo literally shows you sneaking/creeping on enemies, attacking/dodging enemies, hiding in tall/low grass and under cars, squeezing through small spaces, running for your life, parkour and now you can jump too.
And it all looks almost perfect. I'm not even gonna start on enemy A.I., gameplay facial animations and the gore.
There's a lot of new stuff and by saying there isn't it just show how much of an lazy XBot you are. If you're not impressed by TLoU2's gameplay animations nothing will BRUH.
Haters gonna hate just for the sake of it.
Some of them are pretty standard gameplay movement we had seen and played much from other games? And the gameplay loop of those past games are already boring the fuss out of me. This doesn't seem better even with new movements sprinkled, it's just more pads imo.

The story and fancy graphics would be the main attractions, and people like to flock to these things too - sales are good so thank god. For those who don't or seem to like watching movies better, naw. I get sleepy watching movies these days so doing busywork inter story cutscenes with long ass downtime walking just frustrates me more. Might as well just sleep on if I'm not enjoying it.
That's just my impression ok. Pretty sure I will buy the game when it comes out, played it for like 2-3 hours then proceed to watch the whole edited playthrough on YT with x1.5/x2 playback speed in another time.

Or I just don't.
 

molasar

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How dare you, XBot!?
There's no announced game out there pushing this kind of motion matching and blending in animations.
The demo literally shows you sneaking/creeping on enemies, attacking/dodging enemies, hiding in tall/low grass and under cars, squeezing through small spaces, running for your life, parkour and now you can jump too.
And it all looks almost perfect. I'm not even gonna start on enemy A.I., gameplay facial animations and the gore.
There's a lot of new stuff and by saying there isn't it just show how much of an lazy XBot you are. If you're not impressed by TLoU2's gameplay animations nothing will BRUH.
Haters gonna hate just for the sake of it.
Why do you call him XBot? I do not believe that he is a hater. He is just more into pleasant gameplay than cinematic experience.
There is no doubt that TLoU2 is going to raise a bar in games quality wise regarding graphic and animation features but is it going to bring more fun in context of gameplay in 3D third person perspective category games with a free camera control?
What game is considered the best here? MGSV, perhaps?
BTW, I generally prefer Sony consoles and PS1 is my favorite one for various reasons.
 
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Gamernyc78

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Sometimes I wonder if people have even played these games... yeah of course they have sections where you are literally just walking and pressing x to jump off a building and listening to characters speak, but these are in between sections of pure gameplay. It is so weird that for instance Uncharted is criticized both for having endless waves of bullet sponge enemies (implying too much video game) and being too cinematic (implying too little video game) at the same time.
Alot of ppl hvnt played these games you can tell lol Even some games thy put graphically into the conversation along with UC4 u can tell thy hvnt seen or played it in console.
 
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molasar

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Alot of ppl hvnt played these games you can tell lol Even some games thy put graphically into the conversation along with UC4 u can tell thy hvnt seen or played it in console.
Are you sure? Do you want to check my trophies?
I have not played these games for gameplay itself.
 

Baart

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The graphics are super HD 4K whatever, the animation is incredible, superb.

For me though immersion here is lost because of 'spatial awareness' of the enemy.
  • You're guarding a camp but don't notice leaves rustling suspicously?
  • You can't see the PC over the same distance while the PC very clearly sees you?
  • You conveniently wait to strike after the PC is finishing their attack on your friend even though you had a clear shot?
This is the stuff that breaks the immersion, even though I understand the decisions. You want a fun game, not a simulation of real hollywood b-movie life.
 

Kagey K

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How dare you, XBot!?
There's no announced game out there pushing this kind of motion matching and blending in animations.
The demo literally shows you sneaking/creeping on enemies, attacking/dodging enemies, hiding in tall/low grass and under cars, squeezing through small spaces, running for your life, parkour and now you can jump too.
And it all looks almost perfect. I'm not even gonna start on enemy A.I., gameplay facial animations and the gore.
There's a lot of new stuff and by saying there isn't it just show how much of an lazy XBot you are. If you're not impressed by TLoU2's gameplay animations nothing will BRUH.
Haters gonna hate just for the sake of it.
Yikes!

Let’s wait until the final game is out and playable before we go rushing into this.

We have no idea if that holds up through the entire game or if it was a scripted sequence. I think it’s way too early to call anything anywhere at this point.