We’re listing the ten Games of the Decade. These are the ten PlayStation titles released over the past ten years that we believe have left a historic mark on the industry. Whether it’s Destiny's impact on the Games as a Service space or Journey’s innovative approach to online connectivity, these are the releases that the industry will be referencing well into 2020 and beyond.
With the release of The Last of Us in 2013, developer Naughty Dog realised the ambition that it had spent the entirety of the PlayStation 3 generation working towards. The trio of Uncharted titles introduced us to characters we could finally care about, but in its harrowing post-apocalyptic outing it stirred real emotions for the first time.
This is most evident in its iconic opening sequence. As a city is thrust into chaos and panic, we join bearded protagonist Joel and his daughter Sarah in their final moments together. This dark introductory act sets up everything that’s to occur over the course of the campaign, as the aforementioned haggard anti-hero adopts Ellie as a daughter to replace the one that he’s lost.
It’s not exactly original storytelling, but it’s beautifully realised; the quality of the script and acting is unprecedented for an industry known for sloppy schlock. The thing the studio does really well is marry its poignant plot to gameplay; one final, gruelling gunfight sees you battling your own instincts, as you act against the interests of humanity in favour of the character you’ve created a connection to.
This kind of dynamic has influenced dozens of titles over the course of the generation, from God of War to A Plague Tale: Innocence. While it certainly wasn’t the first title to put an emphasis on story, director Neil Druckmann and his team demonstrated that a game’s plot can be every bit as impactful as a movie or novel; in fact, the inherent interactivity of the medium arguably elevated it above those mediums.
Do you agree that The Last of Us left a lasting impression on the industry? What impact do you think the title's plot had on the campaigns that came after it? Hold your loved ones close in the comments section below.