How Came The Guitar Mini-Game’s Idea In The Last of Us Part II? Naughty Dog Answers

Joel and Ellie’s guitars are a big part of The Last of Us’ second part’s story, and Naughty Dog wanted to give them a worthy spotlight.



There is no doubt that music is a symbolic part of The Last of Us Part II. Joel and Ellie, the protagonists of the Naughty Dog franchise, are linked by an acoustic guitar that plays an essential role in the story. The studio has tried to emphasise this instrument in the second part of the saga, and we can finally see how this idea came about.

“The guitar was always a story focus…”

“…we wanted to make the guitar playable from the get go, to make the player feel that connection between Joel and Ellie”. These were the words of Grant Hoechst and Mark Burroughs, the designers of The Last of Us Part II.

Rather than looking for inspiration in music and rhythm titles, Naughty Dog was looking for applications that would allow you to create your own music. Specifically, it was apps that used the touchscreen interfaces of mobile devices that could be ported to the DualShock 4’s touchpad.

“One of the earliest captured cinematics for the game was Ashley Johnson (Ellie) singing “Take on Me” by Aha. So even early on, we had a reference to use as our goal for the minigame,” the developers said. “We saw that a good way to distinguish success from failure was by tracking chord progression but leaving the plucking of strings up to the player.”

In the end, the team left the guitar interaction in the title, hoping it would add additional narrative value to the overall plot. The community has welcomed Naughty Dog’s work by providing a variety of songs from their favourite artists, as this “guitar minigame” allows for a high degree of improvisation and creativity.


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"Historian by profession, gamer since historical times."

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