Further details on The Last of Us Part II’s new gameplay mechanics, technical performance, and story beats and have emerged following a discussion with Neil Druckmann published on the PS Blog.
We first learn that Druckman actually had a pretty solid story foundation for the sequel as far back as 2013, but it didn’t truly take off until he shared it with other key members of the team.
“Video games are this collaborative medium and we all march towards this focused idea,” he says.
On the subject of what’s motivated Ellie’s quest for revenge that’s been alluded to in promotional material thus far, Druckmann explains that “Ellie wants to make it right by bringing the people responsible to justice, even if she has to go at it alone.”
We’re betting this quest has something to do with Dina, a person with whom Ellie has developed an intimate bond with during a period of relative normality and quiet in both their lives following the events of the first game.
In terms of gameplay features, Druckmann touches on some new infected that players will encounter.
“We have Runners that close the distance quickly. We have Clickers that move slowly but are one-hit kills. Shamblers provide this area of attack, where they have this cloud of gaseous acid that burns materials around it. It burns your skin.”
As for all-new mechanics, we’re told that in addition to more of a focus on maintaining weapons and equipment in a realistic way, there’s a new scent mechanic that’ll see dogs able to track Ellie in a way that human NPCs can’t.
On the subject of enemy AI, Druckman reiterates that “the way they (human NPCs) communicate is much more sophisticated… We do that in order to make you feel it’s not just like an NPC or braindead obstacle.”
But you’ll be able to pick your way past enemies thanks to a more expansive level design this time around, we’re told.
“As you saw with Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, we’re experimenting with much larger layouts,” Druckmann says. “We’re going to do that with this game, and find ways to use that to mirror the story. When we want the tension to drop, and we want you to think ‘What do I do next? What do I want to explore here?’ We have that.”
Finally, Druckmann details some of the technical achievements the team has been able to pull off from a graphical point of view. As with The Last of Us on PS3, it sounds as though we’re about to experience one of the PS4’s best-looking games.
“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.”
“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.”
In related The Last of Us news, Sony recently published a video that shows Ellie’s changing face as she matures from a young girl to maturity. It’s really quite interesting.
Last week, we discovered that more The Last of Us multiplayer is coming, but it won’t be included with the upcoming part II.