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Gaming: The Last of Us Part II coming in June; Travis Scott show sets Fortnite record

By Benjamin Bullard
The Last of Us Part II abandoned city

Ellie’s back on track! Only a few weeks after announcing that one of the PlayStation 4’s most highly anticipated sequels was being bumped indefinitely from its expected May release, Sony has returned with news that the extra wait for The Last of Us Part II really won’t be that long after all.

Hermen Hulst, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s global studios chief, updated fans via the PlayStation Blog that TLOU2, a PlayStation exclusive like its predecessor, will be hitting the PS4 on June 19 — less than a month after its originally scheduled May 29 release date.

Saying that the coronavirus pandemic’s disruptive effects on the “global distribution environment” appear to be easing, Hulst revealed the new release date as part of an overall schedule shuffle leading into the summer. Also getting a short delay is Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch’s open-world stealth adventure set in 13-century Japan, which is now sneaking a few weeks from its original June 26 target to a July 17 release date.

For The Last of Us fans trying to dodge recent online leaks rumored to spoil a ton of the new game’s story, Part II’s arrival can’t come soon enough. Sony didn’t address the leaks in announcing the game’s release date, with Hulst simply shouting out the teams at both Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch for getting their games into fans’ hands amid the challenges of an extraordinary public health crisis: “[A]s we know it’s not an easy feat to reach the finish line under these circumstances,” he wrote.

A virtual video game event may have just brought more people together through music than any real-world concert could ever hope to match. Fortnite’s in-game “Astronomical” music crossover with Travis Scott drew an incredible 27.7 million unique players (that’s nearly the population of Texas!) over the course of its weekend-long run. That includes 12.3 million concurrent players on the event’s April 23 debut, and contributes to the overall, repeat-attendance total, which Epic Games revealed as attracting 45.8 million overall views.

The 27.7 million figure dwarfs the 10.7 million unique players who signed on to Fortnite last February to catch Marshmello’s in-game EDM groove — which itself seemed like a mind-bendingly enormous showing at the time (it’s nearly the population of Georgia!). “Astronomical” gave players a free interactive concert unbound by a steep admission price, the laws of physics (seriously, people could fly through space), and the need to pick up after themselves. And of course it gave Scott a chance to unveil new music, including a collaboration with Kid Kudi, to millions of fans at once on an enormous platform.

With virtual attendance like that, it’s a safe bet Epic is nowhere close to being done with virtual interactive events that rope in real star power. The real mystery, in fact, is who might show up to the Fortnite party next.