How do you pass the time in the post-apocalypse? Previously, Naughty Dog has shown us a hootenanny and some very angsty guitar playing in The Last of Us Part 2, but today's State of Play stream gave us a look at another leisure activity that at least one poor soul partakes in: playing some Hotline Miami on a PlayStation Vita.
Yep, there's a subtle nod to Dennaton Games' indie masterpiece and a not-so-subtle appearance from a Vita in the new gameplay at the end of today's presentation. The lengthy, unnarrated footage starts with Ellie sneaking into a building occupied by hostile humans. She does so by swimming (gasp), something she couldn't do in the original game.
After emerging from an entrance that definitely couldn't have been bypassed with a floating palette puzzle, Ellie comes upon either a woefully distracted lookout or someone who's just trying to squeeze in some game time. Ellie holds a knife to her neck, orders the stranger to put her hands up, and boom—there's a Vita! If you thought Jim Ryan saying handheld gaming is "a business [Sony's] no longer in now" would be the last we saw of the Vita, well... you probably didn't expect this is how we would see it again, did you?
Ellie and the stranger fight, Ellie wins, and as she's walking away we can hear the tinny sound of the music playing on the Vita. News Editor Eric Van Allen picked up on what it was instantly: the track "Hydrogen" by M.O.O.N., a memorable cut from the Hotline Miami soundtrack.
Remember, in The Last of Us the world went to hell in late 2013. Hotline Miami came out for the Vita in June of that year, so this reference definitely works within the series' timeline. Its inclusion also raises an important point: the Vita never really died in The Last of Us universe. How about that? At the very least, it seems the folks behind Hotline Miami appreciate the shoutout.
The Last of Us Part 2 is coming out for the PlayStation 4 on June 19. Now, as the release draws near, we can add the Vita and Hotline Miami to the list of things we'll be thinking about (like the delays and major story leak) in the lead up to launch.