The Last of Us Part II was indefinitely delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic on April 2, but an alleged leak from Amazon Tuesday might've revealed that Naughty Dog has plans to release its long-awaited sequel just a month after the previous release date, which would put it in direct competition with Ghost of Tsushima.
A screenshot from Amazon Italy’s The Last of Us Part II pre-order page shows a release date of June 26, 2020 for the game, just one month after the previous date of May 29. That’s the same day that Ghost of Tsushima is currently scheduled to launch, but before we get into what this could mean, it’s important to note that this image could have easily been photoshopped to stir up rumors. As of this writing, Amazon lists a release date of December 31, 2020 (a placeholder the website uses for most games with unconfirmed release dates.) There’s reason to believe, however, that Ghost of Tsushima might be delayed and that TLOU 2 could take its place as an early-summer PlayStation 4 exclusive.
When Naughty Dog announced that TLOU 2 would be delayed, the official statement claimed the game was “nearly done with development,” and an unnamed developer even told Kotaku that the game was just about “ready to go.” The decision to delay the game came down to distribution issues, so is it possible that an extra month of time would be enough?
Sony and Naughty Dog didn't believe it would be possible to deliver enough physical copies of the game to meet demand. Brick-and-mortar stores, like GameStop, have closed across the U.S., and delivery orders on services like Amazon Prime have been delayed by up to a month.
Despite the surging popularity of online game distribution over the past few years, Sony reported that over its past four fiscal quarters, anywhere between 47 to 63 percent of full-game software sales on the PS4 have come in the form of physical copies. In other words, half of all gamers still buy physical copies of games. Assuming development gets finished sooner rather than later, Sony and Naughty Dog might release TLOU 2 because of how vague Sucker Punch Productions has been about its development of Ghost of Tsushima.
Is Ghost of Tsushima delayed?
While Sony and Sucker Punch are still targeting June 26 for the launch of Ghost of Tsushima, there few details gamers have received about the title a couple of months before it’s supposed to launch that are cause for some concern.
The only lengthy sequence of gameplay Sucker Punch has shown off was during E3 2018, and there have only been two trailers published afterward. The developer hasn’t offered any insights as to how the development of the samurai epic is progressing, in fact, there’s even been some confusion about some of its gameplay features.
Official PlayStation Magazine featured a cover story about Ghost of Tsushima in April, which mentioned details about how the game won’t use waypoints for quests and how players will be able to influence their companions based on their decisions. These tidbits were analyzed by outlets and reported as new information, when they were actually announced back in 2018, according to the OPM Twitter account.
This is by no means a confirmation that Ghost of Tsushima will be delayed, but it’s not reassuring to hear these kinds of mixed messages when a game is supposed to be released in less than three months. All of this is speculation until Sony or Sucker Punch announce something, but TLOU 2 might slide into Ghost of Tsushima’s release date spot to ensure the PS4 has a strong lineup of exclusives at the end of its lifecycle.