There’s an arcade found in the fourth chapter of The Last of Us 2, in which Ellie fights a bloater, one of the most dangerous opponents in the entire game. That same ruin of an arcade is actually modeled after a real-life arcade in Seattle, GameWorks Seattle, which is one of the city’s landmarks, according to many. However, it would appear that GameWorks Seattle is closing its door forever due to the company shutting down right before the new year begins.
The news about GameWorks’ imminent closure came via GamesRadar, along with several tweets suggesting that the major arcade of the Pacific Northwest city is closing its doors, forever, on December 23, 2021. There’s also mention of liquidation, supposedly due to financial and debt payments, though the exact reasons haven’t been confirmed yet. It’s worth noting that The Last of Us 2-featured arcade has had a long history of mismanagement in its past. Not all that surprising, given the current legal climate of the gaming industries where gaming giants are sued left and right over sexual harassment and misconduct — Activision Blizzard being a prime example.
Numerous gamers, artists, and writers took it to Twitter to discuss the closure of GameWorks, with the discussion painted in very saddening tones over the loss of such an iconic place of gaming. Considering that most of The Last of Us 2 narrative occurs in Seattle, Naughty Dog couldn’t leave it out of their game. Unfortunately, besides a few trophies won at arcade-hosted esport tournaments and memories of the gaming community, the appearance of the legendary arcade in a major title such as The Last of Us 2 will be the only testament of its existence. Fans weren’t at all happy about the announcement.
A supervisor of the Las Vegas location has confirmed that the Seattle spot is closing down and that GameWorks, as a company, is shutting down, though no one could provide the exact date. In cooperation with Video Game History Foundation, various efforts are made to preserve at least a fragment of GameWorks on its current locations. However, it’s unclear whether that would ever happen. An additional insult to injury is the fact that the staff at the Seattle spot were only given a week’s notice about the closure. GameWorks’ executives still haven’t made any public statements regarding the closure.
The company was founded in 1996, as a joint venture between Sega, DreamWorks, and Universal Pictures, with some input from Steven Spielberg. It served as a hub for video games and entertainment and a major esports destination that a competing gaming community frequented. However, despite being one of the most frequented gaming locations and keeping in mind that gaming can be a financially exhausting sport, GameWorks, unfortunately, has numerous bankruptcies, restructurings, and failed mergers under its belt, signaling faulty management and bad business decisions. With everything said, The Last of Us 2, which has a sequel outline, features numerous Seattle landmarks, and we only hope none of them meet the same fate as GameWorks.