A few more key details you should know about Naughty Dog’s upcoming opus.
With The Last of Us Part 2 less than a month away from release, the excitement surrounding its launch is palpable. Recently, we went over some of the biggest talking points from the game, but given how massive a release this is, it goes without saying that there’s still plenty more left to talk about. In this feature, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing, as we talk about fifteen more details from Naughty Dog’s upcoming info you need to know about. So with that said, let’s jump right in.
And once more, you don’t need to worry about any spoilers in this feature.
Ellie and Joel are obviously going to be the stars of the show in The Last of Us Part 2, while other familiar faces like Tommy (and presumably Maria) will also be returning, but the game will also be introducing plenty of new characters, some of whom have already been revealed. There’s Dinah, another survivor living in Jackson County and Ellie’s friend, who, if pre-release coverage is anything to go by, might not stick around for long. There’s Jessie, another survivor from Jackson County, who seems to be friends with Ellie and Dinah. Two more characters who have been revealed through trailers are Yara and her brother Lev, but not much else has been said about them or what role they will play in the story.
ELLIE AND JOEL
The Last of Us ended at a very curious point, and left a lot up in the air as far as Ellie, Joel, and their relationship are concerned. Many of those questions are going to be answered in the sequel. According to Naughty Dog, when The Last of Us Part 2 picks up five years after the events of the first game, Ellie knows that Joel lied to her about the Fireflies and what happened with them, and their relationship, as a result, is somewhat strained. The exact details of how much Ellie knows and what exactly happened between the two are still unknown, but it should be interesting to see how it all plays out.
IMPACT OF VIOLENCE
The trailers for The Last of Us Part 2 that Naughty Dog have shown off so far have all had very dark and sinister tones, and something that’s stood out in each of them is the amount of messy, brutal violence on display. According to the developers, that’s not just for shock value. “Hate” is going to be a central theme in Ellie’s quest for revenge, and how far she is willing to go to get what she wants, and the violence that will take centerstage in both the story and the gameplay itself is something that Naughty Dog are using to build up that theme even further.
EVERY ENEMY HAS A NAME
Naughty Dog have always been known for stuffing ridiculous amounts of tiny details into their games, and that’s something they’re doing in The Last of Us Part 2 as well. Some of these, in fact, are going to work toward making you feel the impact of the aforementioned violence. For instance, every single enemy NPC you kill in the game will have his or her unique name. So when they’re co-ordinating with each other to look for Ellie during stealth sections, they’ll use each other’s names in conversation, and if one of them dies, they’ll call out their name in anguish.
MORE PROGRESSION DETAILS
That The Last of Us Part 2 is promising impressive leaps forward in tech and storytelling isn’t that surprising, given that it’s being made by Naughty Dog. What’s just as exciting is that the developers are also looking to make similar leaps over the first game in terms of gameplay- more specifically, with the progression mechanics. In our previous feature, we spoke about how there will be different skill trees and deeper progression mechanics to engage with, but what’s also worth pointing out is that, with the combination of the deeper progression tools and better weapon customization options, Naughty Dog really want to emphasize player choice during gameplay.
In an interview with GameSpot, co-director Anthony Newman said, “There was so much we really wanted to explore in terms of player strategy. We really wanted to try and double-down on allowing players to express themselves strategically and find their own way to play the game. And so something I’m really thrilled about is the new player upgrade system where rather than having upgrades that are just minor stat booths to different things, we really wanted to have upgrades that potentially unlocked entirely new abilities or just had drastic effects on the way that you played a game.
“You can find these synergies between playstyle, a set of weapon upgrades that you get at the workbench, a set of player upgrades that all create this confluence of a unique version of the game for yourself.”
Listen mode may not have been one of The Last of Us’ most popular mechanics (many prefer to play the game on Survivor difficulty without Listen mode, in fact), but it will be making a returning in the upcoming sequel. Not much has been revealed about it, but we can assume it’s basic functions will be the same, as will how it ties in with progression. One thing that Naughty Dog have confirmed is that using Listen mode, Ellie can see her scent trail, which is what dogs use to track her, so it’s going to be even more integral to stealth. Meanwhile, some other interesting details have also been revealed- for instance, if Ellie gets shot with an arrow, she cannot use Listen mode until she pulls the arrow out of herself (which is something that players have to do manually).
Companion AI was one of The Last of Us’ biggest issues, but this is another area the sequel will be making improvements to. Naughty Dog have promised that not only will companion characters in The Last of Us Part 2 adhere to the rules of stealth rather than blindly running around in front of enemies who don’t notice them, they will also be much more helpful in stealth and combat. This means that they will make use of complex melee attacks to silently take down enemies, deal significant damage to enemies during firefights, and more.
Naughty Dog were ahead of the curve with their usage of proper motion capture in the first Uncharted, and every game they have made since then has seen them making advancements with the same. With The Last of Us 2, they’re promising another leap forward. One part of that is a new technique being used called motion matching, that co-director Anthony Newman calls an “incredible next-gen leap.”
Talking about it in an interview with GamesBeat, Newman said, “It’s this algorithm where — normally, in player navigation systems, the system that governs Ellie and the enemy NPCs moving around the space — normally you program it in such a way where, if you press forward, play the run forward animation.Press left, play this turn animation and then play the left run animation.
“Motion matching, instead, has this huge bucket of animations. They mocapped someone running around a space, doing all these loops and turns, and chopped that animation into really small pieces. Based on your stick input and the speed you were going and the speed your about to move to, it pulls three or four animations from that pool and blends them together in just the right way to get the perfect motion from where you were going to get to.”
Accessibility options, sadly, aren’t always things that a great many developers in the industry pay attention to, but that apparently won’t be the case with The Last of Us Part 2. While Naughty Dog haven’t provided exact details, they have said that the game will have many accessibility options to make sure that everybody can enjoy the story, regardless of skill, visual, or auditory abilities. Something else the developers have promised that regardless of how the game is played, it will always be a tense experience.
How many times in The Last of Us did you run out of shivs exactly when you needed them, to open a locked door or silently sneak up behind a Clicker and kill it? Well, that aspect in particular is not coming back. Shivs and their durability mechanic won’t be making a return in The Last of Us Part 2. Instead, Ellie will always have her trusty switchblade at her side to help out in those situations.
The single player campaign and its story were obviously the main attraction in The Last of Us, but the game also had a surprisingly good multiplayer mode in Factions. In fact, many people are playing and enjoying it to this day. Sadly, Factions is not coming back in The Last of Us Part 2, with Naughty Dog having confirmed that the game is going to be a strictly single player experience. That said, they have also hinted that Factions will eventually come back later on- perhaps as a separate, standalone game? Fingers crossed.
Massive file sizes for games have become far too common in today’s day and age. Just recently, we saw Final Fantasy 7 Remake taking up about 100 GB of storage space in our consoles’ storages. The Last of Us Part 2 is also going to land in that ball park. While the exact figure for its file size hasn’t yet been revealed, it has been confirmed that the game is going to require a minimum of 100 GB of free space on your system’s memory.
TWO BLU-RAY DISCS
A larger digital file size means a larger game, obviously, and that’s going to be reflected in The Last of Us Part 2’s physical release as well. When it comes out, its physical copies will release across two Blu-ray discs. That’s not really a common occurrence- there haven’t been a great many games that require multiple Blu-ray discs (Final Fantasy 7 Remake is another recent example, though).
BASE PS4 PERFORMANCE
In keeping with Naughty Dog’s track record, The Last of Us Part 2 is promising to push the PS4 to its very limits, and we can be sure that the developer will be squeezing out everything its aged hardware has to offer at this point. Thankfully, they’re also promising that the game will run smoothly even on the base PS4. Naughty Dog have confirmed that the base PS4 – not the PS4 Pro – is their target platform, so getting the game to run smoothly on it is something they’ve prioritized.
When The Last of Us Part 2 releases on June 19, you will have the option to purchase one of many editions. In addition to the standard physical and digital editions, there are three other options. The Digital Deluxe Edition will come with a dynamic PS4 theme, a set of 6 PSN avatars, a digital mini art book for the game, and the digital soundtrack. The Special Edition will have a 48-page artbook, a dynamic theme, PSN avatars, and a steelbook case. The Collector’s Edition will have all of the above, as well as a 12″ Ellie statue, a lithograph art print, Ellie’s bracelet, stickers, and enamel pins. Finally, there’s Ellie Edition, which, in addition to all of the above, will have a vinyl record, a logo patch, and Ellie’s backpack from the game. The prices are $80 for the Special Edition, $170 for the Collector’s Edition, and $230 for the Ellie Edition.