„I met with Ashley Johnson (in 2013) and I pitched her the idea for Left Behind (the expansion to The Last of Us). And I told her I had something else I was working on and I pitched her that idea. So she’s there in the restaurant crying, and I’m thinking ‘I hope people don’t think I’m doing something horrible.’ But that’s the first time I remember having some strong idea. That’s how it starts. It’s the kernel of an idea. Then you bring more people in and it becomes a shared vision. Video games are this collaborative medium and we all march towards this focused idea.
We wanted to have whole sequences that you can be spotted, engage in some combat, and escape without clearing the area. Likewise, we wanted to have way more sequences where you could ghost completely. It’s very challenging and very hard, but it’s possible to leave areas. Then there are certain situations where we want you engaged, we want you to partake in certain actions that are going to make you uncomfortable. But that’s a part of the narrative, that’s part of Ellie’s journey,” Druckmann said. He also added that the enemies will scream their friends’ names in the game if they get hurt.
„Just as with The Last of Us, we were hitting the limits of memory, of computational power, how many enemies we could have on-screen, and the size of levels. Now we’re able to have much wider environments, sequences with a horde of infected, several squads of enemies looking for you in big spaces. Likewise, Ellie has this whole new animation system called motion mapping. Not just Ellie, all the characters. It makes movement more responsive, but also more realistic at the same time. So I think Ellie is one of the best controlling and looking third-person action characters out there.
The fidelity we can get in the faces and the motion capture — we can better translate what the actors are doing on stage into the game, and get these nuances so we can rely more on the way someone blinks or the way they squint instead of lines of dialogue. It allows the writing to be much more nuanced than it’s been before,” Druckmann added.
The Last of Us Part II is out on February 21 on PlayStation 4, but we wouldn’t rule out a PlayStation 5 release either.
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