Youtuber Grant Voegtle envisioned creating a unique playthrough for the game that’s “changed” his life. The outcome isn’t only a treat for existing fans of The Last of Us series, but it’s also a demonstration of how video game playthroughs can possibly change in the future. Simply put, The Last of Us is a cinematic game with engaging dialogue and a riveting plot that really stands out as a video game narrative. Joel and Ellie’s journey mimics the typical trope of a father and child in a post-apocalyptic setting; it proved to be extremely successful, hence the immediate talks of a movie. Since 2013, the video game still remains a popular topic within the gaming community, but it’s often difficult to encourage non-gamers to play the game or watch online gameplay. This cinematic playthrough cuts out the unnecessary action scenes, edits clips together and results in a seven-part episodic series. The series doesn’t involve tiresome action scenes with repetitive gameplay and instead transfers the successful game to a watchable series.
Generally I’m not a fan of playthroughs, the inability to control the player is inevitably boring. Yet the streamlined experience into 30-50 minute episodes can at times make you forget that you’re watching a gameplay video – it’s that well made! I’ve taken up the last two days watching this series, (putting aside my various other television series I have waiting for me) to watch The Last of Us in this unique form. Despite me having already played the game twice, the series still managed to feel like a fresh experience. In fact, looking at Grant Voegtle’s goals, I see the majority of them achieved.
“1. Edit and film the playthrough in a way so that non-gamers, or people who are otherwise unable to play the game for any number of reasons, can enjoy watching the game play out as much as players enjoyed playing through it.
2. Give fans of the game a new lens through which to view a game they otherwise know too well. (And for fans who don’t want the movie to be made because it can’t possibly do the game justice in their eyes, this can be an alternative.)
3. To motivate developers, like Naughty Dog, to incorporate film making tools into their future games”
His third goal is his most ambitious goal, and that can change the future of playthroughs. User-generated-content games are often the most played games. The ability to create content or be creative extends the longitivtiy of a game. Even The Last of Us Remastered provided a new photo mode, yet what if we could have more? The beauty of the series is that background scenes from NPC’s are brought to focus as the recordings crop Joel out of the picture. We see these actions up-front just as a camera would focus on such in a television series. Notably, these scenes are jagged due to the need to crop, yet if built-in tools allowed an out-of-character perspective, the possibilities of fans making their own unique clips are endless.
The weekly episodes started from last month and has become increasingly featured in major games publications. The chances are that Naughty Dog will come across the series and other developer companies may see the same. Maybe this series will be the key to encouraging more user-friendly tools for fans to record their own unique content… maybe.
Even non-gamers are praising the series. Various comments from these episodes congratulate the editing and claim that parents or partners are sitting down with them every week and watching an episode. Whilst video games are a form of entertainment, not everyone has the ability to play or enjoy effortlessly shooting each other. This is why cinematic playthroughs as such are necessary, it can become a new medium to share fantastic video game storylines to non-gamer communities.
If proven to be successful, we may see these desired tools in future game releases. Nevertheless, the sheer effort gone through to create this series is impressive enough. To fulfil Grant’s wish of making these tools a possibility, we must share the episodes to anyone who’d be interested. There’s also an optional Paypal page set up to give Grant a much-needed reward.
Take some time out to go through his series. The final episode is coming out this Friday 8th May, so there’s still plenty time to catchup before the final release.