The late 00s & early 2010s was the era of the zombies, as stories based around the supernatural began to flood television, cinema and video games.
From The Walking Dead to Zombieland, you couldn't escape being exposed to them, just like the hypothetical viruses that were at the root of these TV shows' and films' plots.
Yes, zombies had been around in media for decades previously but the early 2010s was their time in the sun.
One of the most critically and commercially successful videogames of the period was Naughty Dog's masterpiece The Last of Us and. Now, after seven years and multiple delays, its sequel is almost here.
Furthermore, we also believe that it has a very good shot at going down as this year' Game of the Year whenever it is released. Here's a few reasons why!
Continuing the Form
ALL TIME GREAT: 2013's Last of Us was one of the best games ever
The story was gripping, conflicting, thrilling and above all plausible, the latter of which arguably being its scariest aspect. The characters of Joel and Ellie were crafted to perfection, I still don't know how I feel about the ending, it's such a controversial and ethical dilemma that has no definitive "right" answer to it.
Add the challenging gameplay, variety of enemies and levels, great characters, stellar voice acting and environments that seem so real in this fictional scenario into the mix and The Last of Us was a rock solid 10/10.
Naughty Dog are firmly in the top tier of video game developers alongside Rockstar and Bethesda, as all of them consistently produce excellent products (aside from Fallout 76).
In addition to The Last of Us, Naughty Dog also the masterminds behind the Uncharted series and going further back, Crash Bandicoot. It's fair to say that they've got a brilliant history.
FIGHT TO SURVIVE: How will The Last of Us 2 develop the terrifying enemies of the original?
Pessimists will cite the delays to the release of the game as a negative and while it's perhaps a cause for concern, in reality, everything is under control. Naughty Dog have stated multiple times that these delays are to ensure that The Last of Us 2 is of the quality that they're aiming for.
When delays to a game are brought up, your mind could jump to Red Dead Redemption 2, which was released a full year later than originally scheduled. It was absolutely worth the wait, though, as RDR 2 could go down as the best game of the eighth generation. The Last of Us 2, though, has a chance to take that crown from the Western sandbox epic.
What we know so far
ALL GROWN UP: Ellie is older, wiser, and out for revenge
There isn't too much that we know about The Last of Us Part II at this point, as Naughty Dog traditionally keep their cards close to their chest when it comes to their upcoming releases. For those that didn't play the first instalment in the series, here's a rundown of the world you'll be jumping into.
The world has been overrun by a zombie virus that has left the planet's cities all-but uninhabitable. It's fair to say the apocalypse has well and truly arrived but survivors are out there.
One of those survivors is Ellie. The other main character from the first game, Joel, makes an appearance in the first trailer. The sequel is set five years after the events of the first game, so both characters have aged.
MAIN MAN: Speculation has been rife about how big Joel's role will be in this sequel.
Speaking of the trailers, the first was released in 2016 and two lines of dialogue set things up perfectly. "What are you doing, Kiddo? Are you really going to go through with this?" Asks Joel. "I'm gonna find, and I'm gonna kill every last one of them." Replies Ellie.
The second trailer, which was released in September last year, underlines that we've definitely got a revenge plot on our hands:
We don't know what the gameplay or story will be consisting of yet, but it appears as though Ellie is now living in the compound where the last game ended. It's fair to hazard a guess that someone close to her will be killed by a gang and Ellie will do everything she can to avenge them.
The graphics look stunning and the levels showcased look terrifying, the zombies make the winter wonderland turn into a frozen hell. It's also worth noting that the PS5 will release in November this year too, so just like GTA V towards the end of the PS3's cycle, we will likely see a version of the Last of Us 2 adapted for the ninth generation of consoles.
A CHALLENGER ENTERS: Cyberpunk 2077 is another strong contender for GOTY 2020.
To be the best, you've got to beat the best and 2020 has some other huge releases that the Last of Us 2 will have to top.
Cyberpunk 2077 will release this year and could steal the show thanks to a fascinating futuristic setting and Keanu Reeves playing a starring lead role. The Avengers video game also poses a threat as a dark horse, if done right, it has huge potential. In addition, the likes of Call of Duty, HALO, and the Elder Scrolls can never be discounted.
You could argue that the heyday of the zombie thriller being successful is over, that the sub-genre burned bright and hot but is now a dying ember. However, when done right, there could be one last hurrah out there and The Last of Us 2 could well be it.
If Naughty Dog continue their sky-high form for the Last of Us 2, though, they will win GOTY. In my mind, Naughty Dog also won this crown with Uncharted 2, Uncharted 4 and the original Last of Us. Despite strong competition, you'd be smart to back the Last of Us 2 as it has an opportunity to sign the PS4 off in style.
Do you think The Last of Us 2 will win GOTY 2020? Let us know in the comments below!