Rumor Mill: The Last Of Us 2 Is In Development

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This is a screen capture of a piece of concept art done by Michael Knowland. He was the lead character artist on The Last Of Us. As one can see, this depiction of Ellie (a main protagonist in the first game) shows her as a young adult.

The Last Of Us was and still is a game that represents a great deal of things. It showed a masterful use of the Playstation 3’s hardware by the developers at Naughty Dog of Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted fame. It also was a large leap in terms of crafting a seamless and immersive gaming experience with high production values. Needless to say, The Last Of Us is a title that has quickly become a part of video game vernacular, as well as being the incredible swan song of the PS3.

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This is the full size version of Michael Knowland’s concept image of a mature Ellie in the wilderness. Men in armor are walking in the distance behind her and Joel is nowhere to be seen.

With the remastered version of this title hitting the Playstation 4, many have speculated as to whether or not Naughty Dog would create a continuation of Joel and Ellie’s struggle for survival. In the months since, there have been intimations toward the notion that a sequel may been in development. This speculation was propelled by some details of a Linkedin profile. This page belongs to Michael Knowland who was the Lead Character Designer for Naughty Dog and it clearly shows that he was working on a game titled The Last Of Us 2.

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Michael Knowland’s Linkedin profile page.

Troy Baker, the voice actor who played Joel in the first game, has denied claims that there is another installment in the works. However, the voice actor Nolan North slipped and said, “I know they’re doing The Last Of Us 2,” during a panel at Metrocon 2015. It is was so casually said, despite the fact that Naughty Dog has not said anything confirming or denying this admission. They still have their hands full trying to recover roughly eight months of work that was scrapped after the studio’s lead writer Amy Hennig left the company. According to some sources, most of the original team has been replaced by the members of the The Last Of Us team and have decided to rework Uncharted 4’s narrative in their style. If The Last Of Us 2 is in development, the team may have to put it on the back burner until Nathan Drake’s upcoming sequel is finished.

 

 

Do you think The Last Of Us 2 is actually happening? Let us know what you think.

Rumor Mill: Pitbull and Jon Blow are the same person

Editor’s Note: To inaugurate our new Rumor Mill category we have breaking news
Illuminati conspiracy?

Illuminati conspiracy?

Breaking news from our investigators, the Solid State Gamer has determined that prominent developer Jon Blow and Pop artist Pitbull are one and the same. Their resemblance is uncanny and we have found no evidence of them ever being at the same place at the same time. Has Pitbull ever been to E3? Has Jonathan Blow ever been present at a Pitbull concert? We say no.

We have reached out to both parties and have received no comment as of publishing. Clearly this further validates out point that they are one and the same.

We stand by our position that Pitbull is moonlighting as an indie game developer. We speculate that he wanted to follow in the steps of fellow bald celebrity Vin Diesel and wanted to branch out into games but was concerned about being taken seriously in the industry. After the success of Braid we hope that Pitbull realizes his talent and vision is respected in the community and he should feel comfortable revealing his true identity.

/s

Rumor Mill: Sega Trying to Make a Comeback

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on July 21, 2011 by Jon Rivera for an outside publication)

 

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The Sega RingEdge.

 

After the commercial failure that was the Sega Dreamcast, Sega has been out of the hardware market for quite some time. With game development and publishing being the two main priorities for the company Sega has been churning out a great deal of titles for all major platforms including Nintendo systems. It was hard to believe that Sonic the Hedgehog games would ever be developed for the same system that Mario titles would be released on. It would seem that hardware does not exist in Sega’s future.

However, several patents issued from Sega have unearthed old questions that originally had answers. One thing to keep in mind is that Sega has been using a pretty advanced arcade hardware for its current arcade game development endeavors. One of the first games to use this hardware technology was a robot combat game easily paralleled with the Virtual On franchise called Border Break. The hardware it used was the Ring Edge system board. This hardware is essentially a computer in a horizontally set enclosure which has ports on the back for display signal, power peripherals. In terms of the device’s specifications Ring Edge the CPU is a 1.8 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core, the GPU is an Nvidia GeForce 8800GS with 384 MB of video memory, Supports DVI (could be adjusted to support VGA / HDMI), has 3 USB ports, contains a 32 GB solid state hard drive, has support for Ethernet and Sega ALL.NET, uses the Microsoft Windows Embedded operating system variant, and supports 5.1 high definition audio.

 

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A patent for a new controller.

 

 

These are all features that one would expect to be in a current generation game system and a solid state drive for file storage is a nice feature. Though this is for arcade applications, there is a slightly less powerful variant of this hardware known as Ring Wide which cuts a couple of features like storage and the amount of ports. The Ring Wide architecture is more of a viable candidate for making a home entertainment platform.

However, these two hardware skews would a moot point without the fact that Sega Enterprises is the assignee of a few patents approved from 2008 to 2010 that reveal controller designs and concepts for modular expansions. Some of these features range from something as simple as an arcade joystick to having add-ons like a six axis pack and support for precision control with a trackball attachment. There also patents for a basic controller that can be used for classic games if the platform had support for an online infrastructure that allow users to download and play classic Sega games. The last patent was for a memory unit that is able to interact with both a controller and the console.

 

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Border Break is one of the games that will take advantage of this new hardware.

 

 

These patents use some design styles that look like something belonging to the Dreamcast or the Saturn. However, it is common for conceptual design patents to use aesthetic designs from previous devices if the concept is still in its infancy. This is most likely true for the controller designs that take on the appearance of the Sega Saturn 3D controller. The retro game controller is obviously a new controller design in terms of aesthetics which does not look like anything that Sega would have designed in the 1990’s. The Dreamcast-esque look in the memory storage device abstract may be relevant to Sega’s past registering of the Dreamcast 2 name for a website domain. As of right now, the domain name expired on June 19, 2011 and has not been renewed yet. It is not confirmed that Sega is planning on getting into the hardware business again, but just the fact that Sega has the decent hardware that can be repurposed on top of patented designs for control and memory storage devices makes it easy to think that Sega is up to something. Though the failures of the Sega CD, Sega 32X, Saturn and Dreamcast nearly destroyed Sega the company has been making a comeback with publishing and developing software in house. Perhaps Sega is capable of getting back into the game.

If Sega were to attempt a platform push the company would have to figure out how to slowly separate from developing for the three major hardware platforms and rekindle the company’s relationship with third party publishers and developers. It would great to see Sega restore itself to its original glory as seen in the Genesis days. Unfortunately it may be some time before this ever comes to pass if it does at all.