The Last of Us Part 2 is a violent recreation, and this violence can’t be simply prevented. Ellie should struggle in opposition to different people who find themselves simply making an attempt to outlive, like she is. Hidden within the darkness, she watches and waits for the appropriate second to strike. She leaps ahead to stab somebody within the guts along with her machete. Or she’ll line up a exact, silent headshot along with her bow and arrow. And I information her by each second of it, questioning if I’m doing the appropriate factor.
I spoke to The Last of Us Part 2’s co-writer Halley Gross in regards to the preview part that press are allowed to debate, which is about midway by the sport’s story. We additionally talked in regards to the recreation’s persistent theme of guilt and regret, particularly the choice to humanize Ellie’s opponents. Every enemy has an in-game identify, and their cohorts will shout it out in horror when Ellie offers a lethal blow. It’s exhausting for me to listen to again and again.
“This game is entirely about making hard choices, and the consequences of those hard choices,” Gross informed me in our video interview. “Even in gameplay, we want you to feel the micro-hard choices that these characters have to go through. So, are you going to confront the woman with the dog, or are you gonna stealth around and take that risk? We want you to feel them in every decision you make. So guilt is very much a consequence, a repercussion of a choice — and not always, but often, it can be also a sign of learning and growing.”
In this part of the sport, Ellie should both sneak or homicide her means by an space filled with Seraphites, members of a mysterious cult-like group that has emerged as one of many roving factions within the post-apocalyptic hellscape that Ellie traverses (technically, it’s Seattle — or, it was once). The WLF is the opposite antagonistic faction on this recreation; my colleague Russ Frushtick went up in opposition to them in some prior preview footage. They’re militarist preppers, a few of whom have skilled fight canine that you simply’ll need to both keep away from or, to my chagrin, kill.
When requested about real-life inspirations for the 2 factions within the recreation, Gross identified that co-writer Neil Druckmann “is actually from the West Bank, and he is obviously very much interested in talking about that sort of entrenched conflict. So a lot of the themes came from him wanting to tell that story. […] Naughty Dog is meticulous in their research and in trying to make this game feel as grounded and authentic as possible, as much as we’re living in a hyperbolic world.”
Ellie, in the meantime, has her personal private goals, and people goals find yourself throwing her into the crosshairs of those two warring factions.
“For us, or for her too, they are an obstacle to get through, or to get around, or to get past,” stated Gross. “But we want in those moments to feel the humanizing aspects coming in, bleeding in. And as you progress through the game, those factions will become more and more expounded on, until hopefully they all feel fully realized.”
“We’re always going back to this conversation about the cycle of violence and empathy,” Gross continued. “So what we wanted was to have that in every aspect of this game. So you pick up a note and it’s going to be a conversation about [how] the cycle of violence is escalation. We wanted Seattle to very much represent that escalating and almost impossible-to-stop freight train of vengeance. So you’ve got these two factions who very much believe they’re doing what’s right.”
Ellie believes that what she’s doing is additionally proper. She has her discovered household to guard again in Jackson, in spite of everything. “What we care about and what we really wanted to elucidate in this game, is that there are no heroes or villains,” stated Gross. “There is no black or white. So even as Ellie is going through Seattle and she sees these enemies, they’re much more complicated than her superficial interactions with them would necessarily elucidate.”
Unlike the primary The Last of Us, which centered totally on Joel’s journey as a father who misplaced his daughter after which shaped an unlikely bond with the teenage Ellie, The Last of Us Part 2 predominantly focuses on Ellie’s perspective. Now she is the one making exhausting decisions, the one to whom the participant wants to have the ability to relate. I requested Gross if the staff had any considerations about this recreation focusing much less on Joel and extra on Ellie.
“Hopefully, even if you are not a 19-year-old lesbian, you are still seeing parts of Ellie and parts of her decision-making that resonate with you,” stated Gross. “What we’re trying to do is that, as you’re with Ellie in these moment-to-moment decisions, watching these cinematics and discovering all the weight on her, that even if you don’t empathize with her decisions, even if you don’t agree with them, you understand why she feels she has to do it or feels like she can’t stop herself from doing something.”
As gamers who’ve accomplished the primary The Last of Us know, the sport concludes with Joel telling a misinform Ellie. It’s a lie that forces the participant, and maybe additionally Joel, to query whether or not the violence that simply transpired was essential or proper. It is smart, then, that guilt hangs over each moment of The Last of Us Part 2. It’s baked into the fight design, as Ellie decides second to second whether or not to cover or to interact in fight. But, within the grand scheme, there is no such thing as a alternative for Ellie. She’s pulled right into a larger-than-life battle merely due to who she is, a scrappy queer teen who simply so occurs to be proof against the virus that has destroyed society.
It’s not possible, in enjoying The Last of Us Part 2, not to consider the real-life pandemic, not to mention the real-life state violence and racist policing that has impressed protests from activists everywhere in the United States and elsewhere on the planet. I can’t play a violent recreation a few pandemic, about warring factions, and in regards to the instances when violence seems to be essential, and never take into consideration the world outdoors my door. I requested Gross about the way it felt to launch a recreation like this, throughout this time interval — one thing Naughty Dog might by no means have foreseen.
“Right now, I think more than ever, we crave examples of resiliency,” she stated. “And hopefully with this game, you’re seeing these characters who get knocked down by the world, who make mistakes, who make hard choices and continue to pick themselves back up and pick themselves back up. And they are obviously evolved and changed from those choices and from those experiences.”
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