“One of the reasons we picked Seattle is because of how many diverse locations it has,” says Neil Druckmann.
Like its predecessors, The Last of Us Part 2 will see players undertaking a long and harsh journey across post-apocalyptic America in Ellie’s quest for revenge. But though the game will feature various unique locations through its runtime, the city of Seattle will serve as a major stopping point for the story, with a large section of the game set in the location.
So why exactly did Naughty Dog pick Seattle as a location for the game to spend so much of its time on? Creative director Neil Druckmann recently spoke with IGN about the same, and explained that there were various reasons to do so that benefited both, the story and the gameplay. One of the primary reasons was the environmental diversity that Seattle afforded them as developers.
“One of the reasons we picked Seattle is because of how many diverse locations it has,” Druckmann said. “We knew we’re going to spend a lot of time in the city and, like a good Naughty Dog game, we need to switch things up as far as art styles and locations go.”
Druckmann went on to explain the process of recreating Seattle for the game, and how Naughty Dog studied everything from its foliage to its architecture in order to get the details just right.
“So the team studied a lot of the architecture of the city, the foliage that grows in that part of the country,” he explained. “They scanned different materials so we can make them authentic.
“And then the level designers what they would do is also study that architecture as well. What are interesting locations for exploration or for our new physics system to get different kinds of puzzles.”
The Last of Us Part 2 will also attempt to make use of its environments for the purposes of combat and keeping players on their toes. Druckmann gave a particularly interesting example of Infected jumping out from overgrown walls and structures. “For combat, this has been an ongoing principle, [we want] to combine the familiar with the unfamiliar,” he said. “We have Stalkers that are grown into the wall and sometimes they’re dead and nothing will happen, and sometimes they’ll rip off the wall and charge at you.”
The Last of Us Part 2 is due out for the PS4 on June 19, while reviews for the game will begin going live on June 12.