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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.

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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