First Last of Us screens are doctored but plausibly gorgeous. Also confirm that Joel is really an old Nathan Drake

CG reveal trailers. They're a lot like porn. Initially exciting, and certainly enough to get the blood pumping, but ultimately shallow and unfulfilling once the moment has passed. Because however stylised and thrilling they might be, you just know that they're not real.

But now that we've all suffered the cold-existential comedown from the reveal trailer for Naughty Dog's The Last of Us, we have the video game equivalent of a real, actual, stable girlfriend in the shape of these first in-game screens. She's very real and lovely, and only wearing slightly too much make-up.

That make-up comes by way of some extra anti-aliasing, as admitted by Naughty Dog's Arne Meyer in a NeoGAF thread, but they're otherwise thoroughly plausible given what ND has achieved with Uncharted 2 and 3. Thus I have no problem allowing myself to get excited by them. The screens obviously come from Game Informer. The big letters spelling out 'Game Informer' should tell you that.

Game details? There are a few more to go along with these. Apparently you'll control Joel, with Ellie remaining an AI companion throughout. So far though, she's reported to be pretty capable and not requiring of any babysitting, so that's good. As for gameplay, we know that combat will be a mix of melee and gunplay, with melee weapons wearing out and breaking, and thus needing replacing.

Clearly, Naughty Dog is playing its cards very close to its chest at the moment. At the min things sound (and look) a lot like a cross between Uncharted and Ninja Theory's Enslaved. Which would be good, but I suspect there's more going on here. 

Another thing I also suspect that either Joel is Uncharted's Nathan Drake aged 15 - 20 years, or that Naughty Dog isn't putting the imagination into its character designs that it should. Because a simple beard is not enough to distract one as eagle-eyed as I that he is basically Drake's character model with a bit of grime and a few wrinkles painted on. Want proof? Check this proof, which I have created using cutting edge CGI techniques:

Above: Joel from The Last of Us

Above: Old Nathan Drake

Above: Joel from The Last of Us (this is from GI's cover art rather than an in-game screen)

Above: Old Nathan Drake (this is also from GI's cover art rather than an in-game screen)

Above: Joel from The Last of Us

Above: Old Nathan Drake

Above: Joel from The Last of Us

Above: Old Nathan Drake 

Also, as Cundy has just pointed out to me, Ellie looks a lot like a young Chloe in that second set of images. Now we need a middle-aged Sully and a granny Elena to turn up and we have the whole set. Good lord, Naughty Dog. The Last of Us looks potentially amazing, but seriously. Some new people ideas. Have them.

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  • bitchassafriBLAMamericANTISTA - February 3, 2012 5:10 p.m.

    hey look, i am alive changed it's title!
  • aberkromby - February 3, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    3rd screenshot: Definitely, without a doubt, Pittsburgh.
  • terdferguson - February 6, 2012 2:41 p.m.

    There's that yellow bridge and that's either the Heinz Factory or the Pittsburgh Museum.
  • cj12297 - February 3, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    Maybe they're bros. Then Nate could have a little cameo.
  • CitizenWolfie - February 3, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    I called this ages ago from the reveal trailer. The facial structure, dark features and clothing all look very familiar. He even seems to have the same manic, goofy run that Drake does when he's being chased. Naughty Dog are generally pretty good with character design (Jak and Daxter series for example) but I'd guess it's more that they were going for an "everyman" type person in both UC and Last of Us. Drake looks like the sort of guy who'd be a laugh in the pub and Joel looks like a typical middle-aged guy who's been living a bit rough. Unfortunately for Naughty Dog, they just happen to look very similar.
  • Darkhawk - February 3, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    It had better be Drake. Otherwise this is the dumbest character design I've ever seen. Here's hoping the voice acting is a bait-and-switch, and that we're going to get the proper NN voice acting announced soon.
  • BladedFalcon - February 3, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    What's wrong with the character design? Also, I know this is a joke article, but face-wise Drake and Joel look nothing like each other, even if you took out Joel's beard. Frankly, people do the comparison only because both games are made by naughty dog. If this exact same character model had been used by say, rockstar or Bioware, no one would have ever made the comparison.
  • Primed - February 3, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    Woah... Chloe just looks like Ellen Page if you ask me. Which is cool, because she's awesome, but still.
  • Primed - February 3, 2012 7 a.m.

    err. wait, Ellie does, not Chloe.
  • taokaka - February 3, 2012 5:41 a.m.

    Or maybe Ellie is Drake and Sullys adopted daughter, that's right you heard me Drake and Sully.
  • Balaska - February 3, 2012 5:38 a.m.

    Joel looking like Nate is no biggie for me, I isntantly felt a good sense of familiarity awhen I saw the first screenies. Uncharted was epic, Enslaved was even better. Pretty sure ND won't mess this up. Day 1 purchase for me.
  • inkyspot - February 3, 2012 5:31 a.m.

    They could of used the same character model as a base to build off of, doubt it's Nathan though. Know how polish ND is, I doubt they would recyle an iconic character such as Drake... although personally I think it would be really cool.
  • soggysage - February 3, 2012 5:31 a.m.

    I cannot wait to find out that Troy Baker has been replaced by Nolan North. But on a serious note this sounds worrying. It just looks and sounds like an Uncharted clone at the moment. But still, I'll wait untill I see actual footage to pass a proper judgement.
  • ScrEAMaPiLLar - February 3, 2012 5:24 a.m.

    Well with all the crap Drake has seen what with zombies and diamond sap men. I think, I can totally see this as a 4th game set in the Uncharted universe. I mean, look at that shirt old drake is wearing, pretty close to Drakes old dirty greyish dirt shirt.
  • GhostNappa2k10 - February 3, 2012 5:13 a.m.

    If this is meant to be a sort-of cross between Uncharted and Enslaved, then it better do a bloody good job. Uncharted, I wasn't impressed by, whereas Enslaved is one of my favourite games (and also HIGHLY under-rated)
  • GarcianSmith - February 3, 2012 5:26 a.m.

    Agreed - Enslaved was a fantastic game.
  • XLGirthMan - February 3, 2012 5:13 a.m.

    Okay what? I'm with you on the Nathan Drake thing, but how does Ellie look remotely like Chloe? Ellie's actually YOUNGER for one thing, not to mention she's white with reddish hair, whereas Chloe is like Latina or some shit with black hair and an accent. Beyond the Nathan Drake thing, I think you just WANT these guys to be the Uncharted cast in the future.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - February 3, 2012 5:16 a.m.

    Erm, that was kind of a joke given the whole vast woman/child difference (And the fact that Chloe would not be younger in the future). But seriously, if Chloe was about 12, she would look a bit like that.
  • taokaka - February 3, 2012 5:58 a.m.

    To be different I'm actually going to have to disagree with both of you firstly about if Chloe was 12 then she would look like Ellie you're wrong because Ellie looks a couple of years older maybe between 14 and 16. Secondly to quote XLGirthman "Chloe is like Latina or some shit with black hair and an accent." Chloe is Australian, not latino and certainly not a shit with black hair.
  • asspills - February 3, 2012 8:12 a.m.

    Well, -ACTUALLY, judging by Ellies reddish brown hair and complexion, I would say she suffers from a rare and almost unnoticable condition which causes her to look very slightly older than she actually is when in her toddler years, causing me to believe that she is 11 and a half, roughly, NOT 12, nor 14. This condition also causes her to look like Ellen Paige. It's a weird condition. A further note: I don't understand jokes and precise measurements get me rock hard.