Naughty Dog Explains Reason for Opting More Open Area on The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Pat II snow

The most anticipated and controversial video game sequel The Last of Us Part II is now available to play today all over the world. Many fans might have already noticed that the game right now has a more open-world feeling to it compared to the original’s linear world setting. This has made gameplay much more interesting and unpredictable because enemies might just spring up from the tall grasses without Ellie knowing at all.

Game studio Naughty Dog has made this change for the game due to how the story goes, as some might speculate. Creative Director Neil Druckmann clarified this new implementation in a recent interview with game publication Mobile Syrup.

Druckmann explained that one of the reasons why they opted for a more open level design was due to the fact that the PlayStation 4 was a stronger console system compared to The Last of Us’s original console launch, which was the PlayStation 3. The development team was limited to the hardware given to them, which gave them a few options only for level design. They made the levels with branching paths, which kind of felt like open world, but not really.

While developing Uncharted 4 with a more open space environment, this offered players a different kind of feeling playing the game. They used this knowledge in creating the new level design in Part II.

Druckmann continued:

Ellie’s on this journey and she’s following the people that wronged her to Seattle, and when we first arrive there, we want to make you feel lost. You don’t quite know where to go because that’s how Ellie is feeling. What do we have at our disposal as designers to mirror that for you as the player? That’s where levels can open really wide. You can see all these locations in the distance and you kind of decide what do you want to explore first.

Naughty Dog also set the mood in certain scenes even though it is a semi-open world setting. There are moments where they would rise the tension up, which create a different feeling for the player. The size of the level was something they could manipulate depending on Ellie’s particular spot on her journey.

The Last of Us Part II is now available exclusively on PlayStation 4.

Interview source: Mobile Syrup (Warning: Heavy Spoilers ahead)