The latest internal documents revealed in the Epic vs Apple court case appear to be from Xbox, including an internal analysis Xbox conducted of The Last of Us Part 2, one of the biggest video game releases from its console rival, PlayStation. This analysis reads like a review and is the closest you’ll get to see what Xbox thinks of PlayStation’s major release.
Companies often gather extensive data on their products, the video game industry is no different. While companies sometimes hold mock reviews of their own games, Xbox’s documents show that it also analyzes rival games as well. So what did Xbox think of The Last of Us 2? For the most part, their analysis was overwhelmingly positive.
Spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2 below
“The last of Us Part 2 is the exceedingly rare video game where it accomplishes in moving forward the art of narrative storytelling in video games as a medium ultimately outweighs whether or not everyone ‘likes’ it or even if everyone has ‘fun’ playing it,” Xbox writes in an internal analysis acquired by IGN from the Epic vs. Apple court trial.
Xbox praises The Last of Us Part 2’s gameplay as a “notable improvement” over the first game and calls the visual quality and attention to detail “absolutely best-in-class in basically every area, and the overall presentation is significantly ahead of anything that other teams have been producing on console and PC.”
The internal team at Xbox says they “were frequently stunned by the quality of the game’s visuals, something that sadly seldom happens these days.”
As for the choice to split the narrative between Elli and Abby, Xbox says players have “every right” to their feelings on Naughty Dog’s two protagonists and the game’s “final contentious outcome,” but ultimately for folks who care about “the evolution and expansion of what storytelling in interactive entertainment CAN BE [emphasis Xbox’s], those things ultimately matter less than how incredibly well Naughty Dog has crafted and delivered the story that THEY [emphasis Xbox’s] wanted to tell.”
Sounds like the team that analyzed The Last of Us Part 2 at Xbox was overall keen on Naughty Dog’s major sequel. If there’s one criticism, the team at Xbox says their biggest “gripe” was with the inventory system and the lack of any “quick switch” between items during moment-to-moment gameplay.
Furthermore, Xbox was critical of the gun combat writing, “Naughty Dog still can’t seem to make decent gun combat in any of their games, and this one is no exception.” Ouch.
Epic’s court case with Apple continues to unearth a trove of internal documents, some of them confirming what we already knew like Sony’s hesitance to enable cross-play. As the trial continues, check back with IGN for all the latest updates.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor.