The Last of Us Part II is Naughty Dog’s First Game to Feature Nudity and Sexual Content

The Last of Us Part II is Naughty Dog’s First Game to Feature Nudity and Sexual Content

The Last of Us Part II is set to be the first Naughty Dog title to feature Nudity and Sexual Content. What does that mean for the game?

The Last of Us is a beloved series that has gained a large die-hard following. From community mods to being voted Best Game of the Decade by fans on the PlayStation blog, a sequel has been desperately sought after for years. The news of its delay at the end of last year was disappointing for many, but the public goodwill behind it enabled Naughty Dog director Neil Druckmann to comment that it will “make fans proud,” when it finally arrives. The reception to the game’s delay was mostly positive, with many having faith in what Naughty Dog could do, especially with what we know about the sequel taking a much darker turn.

It certainly seems like we’re getting something more mature this time out from The Last of Us Part II. In imagery available via the official website for the sequel, you can see that the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) has awarded the upcoming title an M/17+ Rating. In itself, this isn’t major news for the series. This is the exact same rating given to The Last of Us and The Last of Us: Left Behind. Where it differs, however, is the accompanying content descriptors of the rating. Whereas The Last of Us has ‘Sexual Themes,’ Part II is tipped to have both ‘Sexual Content’ and ‘Nudity’.

The gulf between ‘Sexual Themes’ and ‘Sexual Content’ might seem minuscule, but there is a definite difference between the two:

Sexual Content – Non-explicit depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including partial nudity.

Sexual Themes – References to sex or sexuality.

What this will actually add to the story is yet to be seen. Whether this will enable Naughty Dog to give an even more true-to-life depiction of an apocalyptic world, or whether it will allow Ellie to explore her sexuality through the player are all potential conclusions we could draw. I have confidence that Naughty Dog will use their tools respectfully.

Other than the rating and content descriptors, little is actually known about the story of the upcoming sequel. Both Ellie and Joel return, with the former superseding the latter as the protagonist. Bruce Straley, director of the original game in 2013, spoke to GamesIndustry.biz about narrative design. When asked if games could be compelling without shooting mechanics he said, “how can I create a rich enough world to allow for interesting core mechanics? We have to put players in a position to be engaged with overcoming obstacles. For me, personally, as a player, I want something fresh.”

The Last of Us Part II releases on May 29, 2020 for PS4.