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‘The Last of Us 2’ spoilers: Naughty Dog calls for ‘compassionate discourse’ as devs, cast receive alarming death threats

From one of the official “The Last of Us 2” trailers | Photo credit: Naughty Dog via PlayStation / YouTube screenshot

The launch of “The Last of Us 2” has been bittersweet for Naughty Dog in the few weeks that the game is out in the wild. Aside from high scores from critics, the developers and cast members have been receiving vile comments and death threats from so-called fans who did not like the stories included in the sequel.

‘The Last of Us 2’ developer speaks out after ‘Abby’ voice actress shares myriad of online death threats

To say that the release of “The Last of Us 2” has been controversial would be quite an understatement. People attached to the making of its gameplay and cinematic aspects have been right, though. The action-adventure sequel has polarized its fanbase and, unfortunately, some people have decided to resort to violent threats aimed at the cast members, especially Laura Bailey who played the highly debated character, Abby.

Naughty Dog recently addressed the matter saying, “Although we welcome critical discussion, we condemn any form of harassment or threats directed towards our team and cast. Their safety is our top priority, but we must all work together to root out this type of behavior and maintain a constructive and compassionate discourse.”

The statement comes a few days after Bailey released screenshots of the harmful messages she has received for her work on “The Last of Us 2.” Naughty Dog VP and the game’s director Neil Druckmann also shared the kinds of horrid messages he has been receiving with some being extremely anti-Semitic and homophobic. Before checking the screenshots, note that the messages are utterly violent with some of the senders even extending the death threats to Bailey’s family members.

‘The Last of Us 2’: Why the hate messages?

It is rare to see complaints about the “The Last of Us 2” gameplay mechanics as the hate toward the sequel are mostly directed at the narrative decisions Naughty Dog made. The game introduced Abby’s character as one of the very few Fireflies, who survived after Joel practically annihilated the organization.

It can be recalled that the first game ended with Joel deciding Ellie should not die from the operation that would have helped the Fireflies doctors develop a cure for the Cordyceps fungus. Abby was the daughter of the doctor leading the procedure, who was one of the first people Joel killed in the Fireflies HQ. Abby then set out on a mission with some of her friends to kill Joel to avenge her father’s death. Obviously, the success of Abby’s revenge tale in “The Last of Us 2” did not sit well with some “fans.”

More fans and personalities in the gaming community have since rallied behind Bailey and Druckmann and have sent them encouraging messages on social media. Some gamers said, even though they do not agree with Joel’s fate in the sequel, they believe that nothing could justify the death threats that the developers and cast have been receiving since before “The Last of Us 2” was released. While some gamers find it hard to move on, Sony announced that the sequel has sold 4 million units as of June 21 -- two days since its official launch on PlayStation 4.

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