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Phone Sex Secret In The Last Of Us To Be Removed

The Last Of UsNaughty Dog's new The Last of Us for the Sony PlayStation 3 featuring many harrowing moments and surprising twists, but one of the more unusual and unexpected elements turns out to be an advertisement for a pest control service that lists a phone number which, in reality, leads to a phone sex hotline.  Oops!  Kotaku reports that developers are aware of the background element and that a future patch will remove the naughty number.  Here's Kirk Hamilton explaining:

I asked the game's creative director Neil Druckmann about the phone numbers, and how they got into the game.

"That was an artist's mistake," he said. "What happened was, they put some phone numbers in the game and then they thought they could just change the area code to 555, then it's invalid because it's what they do in movies. But I guess that doesn't work when you have a 1-800 in front of it.

"We're now working to take it out," Druckmann said. "It was just an honest mistake."

Whenever fiction goes to the trouble of sharing a phone number in a clear manner, it's usually an invitation to call and see who answers.  Transmedia producers loves a good alternate reality promotional game these days and we've seen in-game phone numbers lead to related messages before.  The 555 phone number is a time-honored fictional tradition, but not every 555 phone number is fake.  Only 555-0100 through 555-0199 are reserved for fake numbers, but what really bit Naughty Dog here is that the only fictional 1-800 number these days is 800-555-0199.  It's either an amazing coincidence that Last's pest control flyer listed phone sex hotline numbers of one of the studio's artists decided to sneak something unauthorized into the set dressing.  Either way, the numbers are on their way out.  If the new flyer listed a phone number other than 1-800-555-0199, I really hope that the studio calls it before releasing the update to be sure that it leads to somewhere appropriate.  If they're smart, they'll set up a number that only plays Clicker noises when answered.

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