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From Open-World Bloodborne to Linear Adventure: The Evolution of The Last of Us Part II

In a surprising revelation, Naughty Dog has unveiled that The Last of Us Part II initially began as a wildly different game concept—an open-world expe...

S. Dent

Feb 02, 2024

From Open-World Bloodborne to Linear Adventure: The Evolution of The Last of Us Part II

In a surprising revelation, Naughty Dog has unveiled that The Last of Us Part II initially began as a wildly different game concept—an open-world experience inspired by FromSoftware's Bloodborne. Yes, you heard that right. Picture Ellie exploring vast landscapes, engaging in intense melee combat, and perhaps even stumbling upon a few hidden bosses along the way. It's a vision that could have taken the sequel in a radically different direction.

In the captivating documentary, Grounded II: Making The Last of Us Part II, co-game director Anthony Newman shed light on Naughty Dog's early design philosophy for the highly anticipated sequel. For the game's first few months, the team delved into the enchanting world of Bloodborne, harnessing its influence to craft an open-world adventure filled with visceral hand-to-hand combat.

But wait, there's more! Lead game designer Emilia Schatz revealed that Naughty Dog wasn't only exploring the melee combat aspect; they were also inspired by Bloodborne's layout structure. The sprawling open spaces that expanded as you ventured deeper, instilling a sense of mastery over the world, became an intriguing concept they sought to integrate. The world itself became a character—a living, breathing entity that would shape the player's journey.

Yet, as fate would have it, the final result strayed far from this initial vision. The Last of Us Part II emerged as a narrative-driven, linear action game, reminiscent of its predecessor. Ellie's arsenal expanded beyond melee combat, now encompassing a range of upgradeable weapons, both long-range and explosive. The world had more to offer than just fists and blades.

"We started out making it as different as humanly possible from the first game as we could, and then kind of dialing it back," Newman confessed. The team realized that the open-world concept didn't align with the story they yearned to tell—the poignant narrative that captivated players' hearts in the first installment.

It's truly mind-boggling to imagine The Last of Us Part II taking on an alternate form—a Soulslike adventure with Ellie pummeling foes with her bare hands, as if she had misplaced her trusty bow and arrow or forgotten the existence of rifle ammo. Did the apocalypse bring forth a profound revelation that golf clubs were, in fact, the ultimate weapons, rendering firearms obsolete? Okay, maybe that's a bit too far-fetched, even for a post-apocalyptic world.

One can't help but marvel at the creative journey Naughty Dog embarked upon, exploring various ideas and ultimately refining their vision into the masterpiece we know today. The Last of Us Part II stands as a testament to the transformative power of game development, where initial inspirations can lead to unexpected paths, and the end result becomes a testament to the team's artistic evolution.

So, let us cherish the game we have, the emotional rollercoaster that Naughty Dog has gifted us. And perhaps, in our wildest dreams, we can imagine an alternate reality—where Ellie traverses open lands, battling monstrous bosses, and mastering every inch of the world. But for now, let us revel in the linear adventure that captured our hearts and forever etched its mark on gaming history.

And remember, the best PS5 games are waiting to be explored. So grab your controller, embark on breathtaking adventures, and let the wonders of gaming transport you to unimaginable realms.

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