The Last of Us 2 State of Play: The Dangers of Going Alone
Naughty Dog's been releasing weekly videos covering key parts of The Last of Us 2, such as last week's gameplay highlight, but this week's showcase is a little different. It's all about the details, and it was a full-blown State of Play episode, hosted by writer and director Neil Druckmann.
Here's what Naughty Dog showed off during The Last of Us 2 State of Play. If you want to go into The Last of Us 2 without any spoilers, turn back now.
The State of Play started with a look at the trailer we saw not too long ago, where Ellie decides to leave Jackson and set out on her journey of vengeance.
After that, there was a brief overview of the game's premise. Five years have passed since the first game ended. Ellie lives on her own in Jackson, and Joel's there as well, but shortly after the game begins, Jackson is shaken by a horrible tragedy, sending Ellie on her journey.
The Last of Us 2 is built on the latest version of the Naughty Dog engine, which lets the team dig into the interior and exterior details of the locales Ellie explores. Most of the game takes place in Seattle, spanning several different architecture and traversal options.
Druckmann said TLOU 2 features the biggest environments Naughty Dog has ever made. Fortunately, Ellie can take advantage of horses to travel faster, while also using ropes to swing across gaps, potentially finding new materials or avoiding combat entirely.
The Washington Liberation Front is one of the game's primary factions. It's a militia group formed to resist the military occupation of Seattle after the breakout, and the WLF hasn't lost contact with its military roots.
The Seraphites, also called the Scars (named after the ceremonial cuts across their faces), are on the other side of the conflict. The Seraphites use stealth and distance weapons like bows.
But the Infected don't take a backseat to these factions. You'll encounter more Runners, more Clickers, and more Stalkers. There's a new stage of Infected called the Shamblers; they're massive creatures covered in armor-like pustules who also expel flammable spores.
There's another new, more terrifying form of Infected too, but Druckmann says we'll have to wait and see what those are when the game launches.
Stealth takes on new dimensions in The Last of Us 2. You can take advantage of environments like tall grass and tight spaces to hide and escape, and you'll need to keep an eye on Ellie's scent trail to avoid guard dogs. Ellie's faster than most of her foes, so combat is more involved. Dodging and sprinting play a significant role in combat, and throwable items and melee weapons are just as important this time around as they were in the original. Ellie isn't always alone either, as NPCs will often join her in combat.
And with all these enemies around, you'll often encounter situations where you need to choose in what order to engage enemies or try and pit them against each other to make your life easier as theirs fade away.
We knew crafting and upgrades would make a return, and The Last of Us 2 State of Play briefly touched on that as well. However you choose to upgrade your gear and outfit your weapons will ultimately affect your playstyle and how you experience the game. Like in the original game, you'll use items found in the environment to craft new tools, and this time around, those include things like mines and pistol suppressors.
Druckmann finished by saying this was all just scratching the surface before cutting to a brand new gameplay sequence. In it, we see Ellie traversing a river system while being hunted by one of the game's factions.
The clip features several underwater sequences as Ellie makes her way into what looks like an old warehouse or some kind of storage facility, before ambushing a sentry to gather information. The sentry ends up attacking Ellie, and we get a glimpse of her central moral conflict that's supposed to shape the story: she kills to get what she needs, but she doesn't want to kill.
That transitions into a stealth sequence where Ellie uses one of those crafted silencers Druckmann mentions to take out foes without them even knowing she's there.
It doesn't take long for her cover to be blown, and the sequence quickly switches to an escape scene showing off the benefits of Ellie's greater agility. While it looks like the same level of implausibility is still there from the original, where enemies somehow don't manage to hear dying groans, gunshots, and explosions, these still look to be incredibly tense scenes. That's helped by what looks like vastly improved enemy AI as well.
And in good storytelling fashion, the sequence ends with a cliffhanger. Ellie finds one of the people she's looking for, and it just so happens to be someone who "remembers her," though from what, we'll just have to wait and see.