After flying under the radar for about a year, Sony and Naughty Dog have brought The Last of Us Part 2 back into the spotlight following a new trailer featuring fan's first real look at Joel. Press have also been able to go hands on with the game, revealing new details about the upcoming PlayStation exclusive. It's been previously reported that The Last of Us Part 2 won't actually be an open world game, but this is still going to be the biggest game that the studio has ever produced.
The news comes directly from Neil Druckmann, Creative Director and co-writer on The Last of Us Part 2. He reveals that the original intention wasn't to create the biggest game, but to tell a very ambitious story. Part of the reason the game has ballooned in size is due to all of the added cinematics, story locations, additional enemies, and the many twists and turns that the player will be experiencing. Even with all these necessary additions, the world design of the game never ventures into open world territory.
Similar to previous games like Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, there will be sections that open up to allow the player to explore some optional content like side stories. However, the option to continue forward into the next part of the story will always be available. In order to keep the tension that Naughty Dog is aiming for, the studio is attempting to strike a perfect balance of when to open the map up and when to keep it more tight and focused.
If I need to go rescue someone, and [the game] says ‘OK go rescue them right now...or do these 10 other things on the side,’ you lose tension.
In addition, with the main protagonist being Ellie, it allowed the designers to add more platforming and verticality due to her being younger and more athletic than the older Joel. As such, players now have a dedicated jump button, a first for the series. In addition to opening up new combat options, being able to jump also presents new opportunities to explore higher areas like second floors of buildings.
However, Druckmann makes it clear that the game won't have any added content to pad out the experience and make it artificially longer. In fact, the team intends on matching a similar pacing to the first game, featuring moments of high tension and more thoughtful moments mixed in. The recent demo is a good example of this as the first part was a more exploratory section while the second part had more tense and action based moments.
Even though the studio is attempting to match the pacing of the first game, not everything is going to remain the same. The popular multiplayer mode known as Factions won't be making it into the sequel. Naughty Dog is totally focused on the single player campaign, which has quickly reached two blu-ray disks. However, the studio makes it clear that while Factions Mode won't be back, it's only temporary because the team is working on a multiplayer focused project.
The Last of Us Part 2 releases on February 21, 2020 exclusively for PS4.