The latest issue of Official PlayStation Magazine Benelux shares new details on Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.
Why use these “zombie” creatures? According to creative director Neil Druckmann, it’s because no other zombie game has done it right. They feel like B-grade movies created for superficial pleasure, he said. In The Last of Us, the focus is on Joel and Ellie, and their mutual relationship. He cites 28 Days Later and The Walking Dead as movie examples.
Asked if that meant it was like Heavy Rain, Druckmann said it’s not a great comparison. “David Cage meant right, but approached things wrong,” he said. In The Last of Us, the player is given much more freedom and strategic choices. Heavy Rain was too caught up in quick-time events, he said.
The debut trailer – seen here – shows Joel and Ellie confronted by one of the zombie creatures. At one point, you see the two count the footsteps of the coming creatures, in attempt to figure out how many there are, which may indicate sound being an important factor in The Last of Us. Joel cocks the gun’s trigger, hoping their ears pay no mind. He is no superhero, and is just as frigtened as Ellie in these situations. When the creature goes for him, he tries holding it back by grabbing its neck, as they’re highly infectious.
The trailer, according to Druckmann, explains a lot involving gameplay. You’ll alternate between shooting and melee combat, and ammo comes in short supply. So don’t expect Uncharted-grade shotouts. You’ll run into situations where you’ll have to help others, but nothing obvious. “I hate games where you have to brainlessly defend a NPC,” he said.
Exploration is a prime factor, as well, but risks are involved. You may walk into a cafe only to be confronted. That said, the game isn’t as linear as Uncharted, but as it’s still story-driven, don’t expect an open-world, either.
Uncharted is the team’s biggest worry. While it’s their prize and trophy, it’s also the game they worry everyone will compare The Last of Us with. Which is why they want both games to be different, and aim to steer clear of post-apocalyptic cliches. But that was harder than they thought it’d be. The first version of the game looked so much like Uncharted that it was scrapped, only to start again from scratch. In the new version, they used new lighting and rending, and rougher camerawork, as if filmed with a handy cam.
Enemies in the game are still as quick as Uncharted‘s. A fungus called cordyceps has taken over the mind and bodies of those infected, and is highly contagious, which is why Joel and Ellie must immediately run after shooting one (like in the trailer). And also because they’d rather more creatures not hear and be lured.