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The Last of Us -- overpass concept art

Storytelling is one of Naughty Dog’s strengths, but the path through its latest video game, The Last of Us for Sony’s PlayStation 3, isn’t just a linear one. It’s a tale about Joel and Ellie, the main characters, and their quest for survival. But there are many ways to do that.

Naughty Dog game designer Ricky Cambier told us in a video interview that the Lincoln chapter that we saw last night — something that Sony will show at the upcoming E3 game trade show — will allow players to explore different parts of a small town and view some sidequests in the game.

In many of the levels, Ellie and Joel have a mission. In Lincoln, they need to get a car from a reluctant friend named Bill. But Cambier tells us there are explorations available in the small town — like when Ellie discovers an arcade machine — that reveal the nature of the relationship between Joel, who knew life before a pandemic wiped out most people on Earth, and Ellie, who was born after it and grew up and knows nothing else but the struggle to survive.

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Here’s our complete video interview with Cambier, with scenes from the new Lincoln chapter. GamesBeat correspondent Alejandro Quan-Madrid edited the video.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA1qP4defJY]

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