The Last of Us Part 2 finally has an official release date after a very long wait. It will help kick off the new year in a big way for Sony, being one of the most anticipated sequels in some time. The game looks pretty amazing, and Naughty Dog is working to overhaul a lot of aspects from the original title. One such element is the AI, and how it works to make killing enemies a little uncomfortable.
In speaking with GameSpot, Co-director Anthony Newman talked about how the violence of the game is meant to be unsettling. This was something they aimed to do in the first game, but the sequel will go a step further with enemies that are more humanized, thanks to the game’s advanced AI, and how everyone you kill has a name and background.
“I think the game is kind of a conversation about the cycle of violence, and I think as you play through the game, it becomes clear that the pursuit of vengeance has tremendous cost, not only against the people you’re exacting vengeance on, but on the player themselves,” Newman explains. “And I think one of the really interesting ways we’re playing with that is with our named NPCs. All of the human enemies in the game have names, and they’ll refer to each other by name when they’re co-ordinating, like when one is telling one to flank, or to search a building, and they’ll also react in anguish and call out each other’s names when they see one of their friends die.
“I think that’s like, beyond just our great AI and voice acting and animations, that’s one whole new level of dimension of humanity that we’re able to give these human enemies. I think that makes it clear that these aren’t just faceless goons that you’re fighting against, these are real people who care about each other, and you are committing these heinous acts against them. I think that through the gameplay, this is what’s so awesome about video games as a medium, this is something you couldn’t do in film or in any other way. You are complicit in these horrible acts, and it really drives home what this high cost of humanity is.”
It certainly is an interesting idea, though it’s probably not one that many will really notice as they play through the game. Still, though, kudos to Naughty Dog for trying something different. We’ll see the name system in action when The Last of Us Part 2 launches exclusively for PlayStation 4 February 21st, 2020.