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The Last of Us Part 2: When killing brings tears to your eyes


The big special before the test of The Last of Us Part 2: How does the Naughty Dog magic work? This feeling of not experiencing a video game, but a story that feels real, pulls us into an emotional whirlpool, makes us despair and grieve. Because that is exactly the strength in the last blockbuster for Playstation 4: The Last of Us Part 2.

The Last of Us Part 2 is shockingly brutal, deadly sad, melancholic, but also loving and romantic. It is written and directed by Neil Druckmann, who has advanced to a mixture of Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. The Last of Us was about grief, helplessness, but also friendship. In Uncharted 4, he showed how well he knows how to work with one-liners, situation comedy and gags. The Last of Us 2 adds two new components: romance and love and hate. A lot changes because Ellie has changed completely: in the first part we saw 13-year-old Ellie, in the second part she starts at 19. She knows how to kill, but Naughty Dog doesn’t make the mistake of turning her into a fighting machine do.

The Last of Us Part 2 draws an emotionally broken Ellie. A protagonist whose actions we as gamers often doubt, which is an enormously exciting storytelling experiment.

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The Last of Us Part 2 draws an emotionally broken Ellie. A protagonist whose actions we as gamers often doubt, which is an enormously exciting storytelling experiment.

© Naughty Dog

She doesn’t kill as easily and professionally as Lara in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The Lara reboots generally suffered from the fact that Lara was moving too quickly from a scared lady to a fighting machine that knows no mercy. Generally, Ellie doesn’t just kill her opponents, it’s a life and death struggle, every time. And it hurts to kill these AI characters because they don’t feel like artificial intelligence, but more like real people. There are only a few days left until the launch and test of The Last of Us Part 2, time for a big special on one of the most fascinating games of the year, which could take the art form of video games to a completely new level.

The Last of US II:

New release date is set

This is the Naughty Dog magic: we really empathize with the characters

The Last of Us Part II turns any trained video game logic of the past few decades to the left, because we don’t shoot at pixel characters that just fall over – as we experience in almost every other game. Rather, they are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives. There are so many situations that burn painfully into our brains. Seconds in which we grab a guard patrol from behind, press the knife against the throat, cut it, and the victim looks at us with wide eyes before it bleeds to a wheezing. We look back on this situation with disgust – a scene that we have seen hundreds of times as Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell and that quickly becomes routine in Ghost Recon Breakpoint as well. Because we don’t build an emotional bond with the victim there, because it’s a video game character that just stood in the way. Often masked, the facial expressions of mask and helmet hidden.

Hey Jimmy, have a look back there. Bruno smelled something ”

A new way of playing: If we wound someone, he shouts, his eyes wide open, writhing in pain. The Last of Us Part 2 makes killing more difficult than ever in a video game.

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A new way of playing: If we wound someone, he shouts, his eyes wide open, writhing in pain. The Last of Us Part 2 makes killing more difficult than ever in a video game.

© Naughty Dog

But here it was a mom, a wife, her husband leans over her when he finds her and screams in pain. Maybe that’s exactly the new emotional level that next-generation video games could define. That we are moving away from the baller hut towards an emotional roller coaster ride. Uncharted 4 does that – but not in its gameplay, which is a classic Hollywood-style shooter. But in his cutscenes, because in the course of the series Nathan and his Elena grew dear to us. Now it is not the case that the enemies in The Last of Us Part 2 suddenly become friends. These are mostly brutal groups, we sneak past hanging corpses and other deterrents.

But Naughty Dog does something that developers rarely dare to do: They give our victims names. “Hey Jimmy, there was a rustle back there, check it out.” “Sure, I do. Come on Bruno”. Bruno is the name of his dog. That changes the dynamics of the game: Suddenly this feels real in a surreal way, our brain and our heart say: “You don’t want to kill him, his mom is over there. Find another way. ”And we will do that too. Killing will also be difficult for you because it is disgustingly staged. Naughty Dog studied what happens when you cut a man’s throat with a beer bottle, how he suffocates on his own blood. It is a brutal sight. In general, the 2020 The Last of Us 2 is not afraid to expect a lot from its players, which is what Naughty Dog is known for. Unforgettable scenes in the first The Last of Us, in which we men smashed the top of the skull with bricks. It’s a tough series, but it feels authentic and right.

Another Ellie: 19 years old, trained in combat, but not Lara Croft

Naughty Dog knows how to tell good stories: We experience an Ellie who can hardly believe her luck. When it is taken from her, she goes crazy.

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Naughty Dog knows how to tell good stories: We experience an Ellie who can hardly believe her luck. When it is taken from her, she goes crazy.

© Naughty Dog

Ellie plays differently than Joel because she is much smaller and much less bulky. It cannot knock out opponents with hand strikes in close combat, but must be more tricky. Sneak up on them, hit the hook, jump on their victim from above and take advantage of their speed. Often, all of this does not seem planned, but improvised, born out of the hopelessness of the situation: Cutting the throat of a person is hard, bloody, Ellie tugs at her knife, the victim fights back with everything that has. It looks real to approach the fight that Naughty Dog does not see as a duel between good and bad, but primarily between two people who want to survive. For this, Naughty Dog studied Ellie’s stature and considered what types of attack and defense should be given to her so that she can stand up to significantly more muscular and larger opponents. “There are a few classic answers to this,” creative director Neil Druckmann explains in the latest video.

Brutal authenticity: When Ellie strikes the katana, you splash the blood of the opponent in the face.

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Brutal authenticity: When Ellie strikes the katana, you splash the blood of the opponent in the face.

© Naughty Dog

Many studios had to face this challenge and the answer is usually martial arts: Krav Maga, Judo, Karate. Kicks, throws, jump attacks. But that wouldn’t fit Ellie, because as a player, we saw exactly how Joel trained her. Joel is not an ex-military, so he couldn’t have trained Ellie like an elite soldier would. She can’t fight like a Scarlett Johansson alias Black Widow in The Avengers Endgame, which was trained by the Russian KGB. And Naughty Dog doesn’t want that either: “The fight is brutal, maybe a little gross, but definitely realistic,” says Druckmann. “And your opponents want to survive, that’s what we focus on. They are not designed as cannon fodder, but people who do everything they can to get out of the duel alive. ”

Cool:

Limited PS4 Pro announced in “The Last of Us Part II” design

The Last of Us Part 2 introduces new jumping and stealth mechanics

To stay true to Ellie’s character development, the Californians needed a different idea. “We started experimenting with jumps, so we finally decided to implement a jump button.” Naughty Dog is not just about attacking, just like Lara Croft shoots out of the jungle and kills soldiers. It’s more about making Ellie faster – she can disappear into the bushes faster, slip into cover faster. Interesting: This stealth mechanism is analog, that is, the game calculates how much of Ellie is visible based on the density and height of the grass, the same applies to objects and is discreetly displayed using a circle on the side. The first

The Last of Us

was a smart game, but Joel was much more likely to take on multiple opponents. Ellie has to rely on her instinct, it is often advisable to seek refuge, for which drugs are used. Ellie can find certain pills and drugs that increase her awareness for a certain period of time – such as sharpening her hearing or giving her the opportunity to see opponents as a white silhouette through walls. Mechanics that train real military personnel, such as holding your breath while aiming, can also be unlocked.

Why Naughty Dog is heavily redesigning its AI systems for TLOU2

In The Last of Us Part 2, the AI ​​is really fighting for its life - they are not designed as cannon fodder, but as people who use everything they have. Be it intelligence, accuracy with weapons or pure muscle strength.

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In The Last of Us Part 2, the AI ​​is really fighting for its life – they are not designed as cannon fodder, but as people who use everything they have. Be it intelligence, accuracy with weapons or pure muscle strength.

© Naughty Dog

The Last of Us

often seemed like our opponents had telepathic skills, ”explains Neil Druckmann. “A body was discovered, this information immediately and without delay spread to everyone in a large area. This is not realistic, not without radios. Now there is significantly more communication between the AI, information is whispered and it takes a while for this chain to close. Of course, Ellie can use that. “On the other hand, Naughty Dog undermines what they call video game logic:” There are no security zones because it makes no sense. Everyone would look under a car because it is the ideal hiding place. “In addition, different groups have different information:” When the replenishment arrives, they do not know what is going on. We want to reflect that we are talking about religiously motivated militias, quite wildly mixed units and no elite soldiers. ”According to Neil Druckmann, there will be significantly more classes of infected people, so the zombies are again part of the game. These not only pose a threat to us, but can also be used against other factions.

What kept captivating me when I wrote the script is how we would react in this situation? Would we kill to survive? “It’s a moral question we keep asking.”

– Neil Druckmann, creative director

In The Last of Us Part 2, the AI ​​is really fighting for its life - they are not designed as cannon fodder, but as people who use everything they have. Be it intelligence, accuracy with weapons or pure muscle strength.

Enlarge

In The Last of Us Part 2, the AI ​​is really fighting for its life – they are not designed as cannon fodder, but as people who use everything they have. Be it intelligence, accuracy with weapons or pure muscle strength.

© Naughty Dog

Druckmann is also aware that Naughty Dog is with

The Last of Us Part 2

breaks all taboos when it comes to depicting violence: “It should feel real because only then will it create a feeling in you. It can be disgusting, the question – why am I doing this right now? Was that necessary? Did I have to cut his throat or could I have sneaked past? Brutality is deeply rooted in history, hatred is a strong driver for Ellie for certain parts of the game. And it is important to me not to tell a story of a heroine, but of a person who acts humanly. You can think that is wrong, but from your perspective it is understandable. But it is also understandable why other factions are chasing them. That is exactly what makes the story so incredibly exciting and powerful. ”

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