Seven years after the release of the original, The Last of Us Part II is finally out now on PlayStation 4. Even before release, writer-director Neil Druckmann acknowledged that some fans of the first game would dislike the sequel, and now that the game is out, he’s responded to more of the internet hate.
Speaking on former Nintendo boss Reggie Fils-Aime’s podcast, Druckmann said it’s worthless to fight against people when they share their opinions about a game–whether it be good or bad. However, Druckmann said he can’t understand how people get so worked up and upset about fictional characters.
“I think you have to create some separation to say, we made this game, we believe in this game, we’re proud of this game, now it’s out there and it’s like whatever reaction people have–whether they like it or not–that’s fair,” Druckmann said. “That’s their reaction and you don’t fight that. The other thing with the more hateful stuff, the more vile stuff, that’s a little harder. It’s especially harder when I see it happening to team members or cast members who play a particular character in the game.”
“We have an actor, she’s been getting really awful, vile stuff because of a fictional character she’s playing in the game,” Druckmann added. “I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around that. The thing I try to do is just ignore it as much as I can. When things escalate to being serious, there are certain security protocols that we take and I report it to the proper authorities. Then you just try to focus on the positives and focus on distracting yourself with other stuff. But it’s kind of just the reality.”
Also in the interview, Druckmann said he’s been speaking with Chernobyl writer Craig Mazin about this topic. They are currently working together on the HBO TV version of The Last of Us.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations with him about this stuff. He articulated it pretty well, it’s like people have to get educated. This is kind of the cost. When you’re doing something big, and you might disappoint fans, there is a cost to it now,” Druckmann said. “Which is, you’re going to get a certain level of hate, a certain level of vitriol that you just have to deal with. There is no other way to make it go away.”
Despite some portion of the audience disliking The Last of Us Part II, the game broke PlayStation’s sales records with 4 million copies sold in its first three days.