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‘The Last of Us 2’ delay: Hands-on demo is pulled out from PAX East, Sony skips event citing coronavirus concerns

From the “The Last of Us 2” E3 2018 trailer | Photo credit: Naughty Dog via PlayStation / YouTube screenshot

Video game fans attending the PAX East 2020 this weekend have likely been looking forward to visiting the Sony booth where one of the attractions is a hands-on demo of “The Last of Us 2.” Unfortunately, that will no longer happen as the tech company completely pulled out its events from the convention citing concerns over the COVID-19, aka novel coronavirus.

The Last of Us 2’ hands-on demo: Sony, Naughty Dog backs out of PAX East 2020 due to coronavirus

Showcasing the “The Last of Us 2” demo at PAX East on Feb. 21 to March 1 would have been quite a symbolic event for the video game series. The demo of the first game was also presented at the same convention, while the story of the main protagonists, Ellie and Joel, started in Boston, where the PAX East is held annually.

However, Sony Interactive Entertainment took back its earlier PAX East announcements stating that it will no longer participate due to the virus outbreak. Considering that “The Last of Us 2” is already set for release in late May, it is questionable whether there will be another chance for the developers to showcase the playable demo at another event.

“We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily. ... The health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern,” SIE added. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Tuesday that the COVID-19 that started in China has since spread to 31 countries, including the United States. As of this writing, there are 53 confirmed cases in the U.S. with one of the patients reportedly situated in Massachusetts.

The playable “The Last of Us 2” demo would have let fans experience hour-long gameplay. Naughty Dog planned to preview “Patrol,” an earlier part of the campaign where Ellie and her love interest Dina goes for a recon around the outskirts of Jackson County, Wyoming.

The Last of Us 2’ release date delay: Naughty Dog exec jokes about ‘missing’ game on the day of the supposed launch

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Naughty Dog had to pull back from its plans. The release date of “The Last of Us 2” has been delayed to May 29. The action-adventure game was originally planned to launch on Feb. 21.

Fans accepted the release date delay positively with hopes that it would make the full version reach their expectations. Everyone has apparently moved on from the delay as Naughty Dog VP and “The Last of Us 2” director Neil Druckmann jokingly tweeted on Feb. 21, “Something’s missing today... can’t put my finger on what exactly.”

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