The The Last of Us 2 is promising to be even grittier than the first game when it arrives. Naughty Dog has never shied away from brutality, but the sequel is loaded with more stabbing, shooting, and hacking bad guys to pieces. Chief among those new bad guys is the addition of attack dogs. Players will likely need to wait until TLOU 2's release date arrives, but that hasn't stopped speculating surrounding the dogs.
Much like it's post-apocalyptic predecessor, The Last of Us 2 will be a heavily stealth-based game. Ellie will have to sneak her way through camps while not arousing the suspicion of nearby enemies. However, as anyone who has played the first Last of Us can attest, stealth is hard to maintain. Naughty Dog is hinting that the human enemies are even more dangerous than the ones Ellie and Joel faced in the first game.
Apart from hiding in tall grass and staying quiet around enemy camps, Ellie will now have to be aware of dogs potentially picking up and tracking her scent. Due to this new level of difficulty, Ellie will have to keep moving to avoid the dogs sniffing her out from her hiding spots. There are ways to distract the dogs, much like their human companions, but one of the potentially easiest and most controversial solutions is straight up killing the dogs.
On Thursday of last week, Gamespot posted a tweet saying, "You'll kill a lot of dogs in Last of Us Part 2." The tweet sent many fans into a conflicting rant of tweets ranging from vengeful John Wick memes to maniacally laughing cat memes. Neil Druckmann, Creative Director of The Last of Us Part II, later responded with a short "If you choose to."
If you choose to. Just clarifying... https://t.co/MRXxwC8xPS— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) September 26, 2019
It's clear that Naughty Dog is taking the moral compass of players and flipping it on their heads in their newest survival horror game. Naughty Dog hasn't even dignified players by making the dogs outright evil looking, like the zombie dogs of Resident Evil 2. These canines are merely faithful companions to the people Ellie is fighting against, which presents an interesting moral conundrum for players of whether or not it's worth it to kill the dogs.
If readers recall, Neil Druckmann stated in a 2011 interview that the original Last of Us wasn't what he considered a "zombie game." Instead, he described it as story-driven, with an emphasis on the consequences of a players' actions. It appears that Druckmann is holding true to this sentiment in the sequel being released nearly a decade after this interview.
"It's story-driven, [but] the whole triangle is story, gameplay and art. As a gamer it's all about strategy and giving the player enough tools in their toolkit so that they can come upon something and choose and have the consequences play out within their choices."
There are likely stealth options to help avoid the attack dogs, but even more likely that the mission becomes exponentially harder from this choice. Another twitter storm followed shortly after Druckmann's tweet clarifying that gamers had the option to not kill the dogs. Many called out the ridiculous juxtaposition of gamers being fine with killing human NPCs while suddenly gaining a heart for the NPC dogs. It's clear that Naughty Dog wants players to make the morality decision on whether or not they take the easy way out of a difficult situation.
A lot of fans also pelted Druckman about the recent announcement that The Last of Us 2 will no longer have a Multiplayer mode as previously announced. A wave of people even went so far as to ask whether or not the dogs would be added to a multiplayer mode. Lead game designer Emilia Schatz has already stated that the team is focusing solely on the single-player experience.
On top of the outcry of killing NPC dogs and a lack of multiplayer, gamers have found yet another query for Neil Druckmann: "Can you pet the dogs?" Assuming there are so-called "evil attack dogs," it may be safe to conclude that there are friendly ally dogs somewhere in the reported massive two Blu-Ray disc game. This is a question many have asked of several games, and Twitter account @CanYouPettheDog has yet to officially report their findings. Neil Druckmann has been quiet on the matter so far, but there's a good chance that the question is eventually addressed.
Between the unprecedented file size, the fascinating TLOU 2 storyline, and the opportunity to be a low-down dog killer, Last of Us 2 is promising to be worth the wait. Unfortunately, players will have to wait until mid-February of next year to play the game, so for now, players just have to look forward to these little treats of information.
The Last of Us Part 2 will be released exclusively for PS4 on February 21, 2020.