“But more than anything it needs to put you in Ellie’s shoes. That you’re experiencing what Ellie’s experiencing, making you feel what she feels. Cause the more we do that the more the emotional beats of the story work for us and the more they work for us in this very unique way that only works in video games.” – Neil Druckmann
Jump and prone and dodge, oh my!
In the latest entry in what is apparently a weekly series from Sony and Naughty Dog, the team behind The Last of Us Part II shares the evolution of the gameplay mechanics from the first game to now. The comments are disabled, so if you care to watch the video, you may do so without fear of story spoilers.
As alluded to by my joke, the core focus of these gameplay evolutions is the inclusion of three new mechanics; jumping on command, lying prone, and being able to dodge in combat. These were all revealed back at E3 2018. In fact, almost all of the footage used in this video is from E3 2018 and the press demo from September 2019. This video primarily provides developer insight.
Looking closer at the video actually revealed a few things to me that I thought were worth sharing. The biggest takeaway is related to Sony reusing old footage: The HUDs are different. Subtle differences made over the course of over a year. The entire HUD appears to live on the right side of the screen with an interesting combination of analog and digital representations of information. For example, there is both a visual representation of the ammo in the currently equipped gun as well as a number. I can see why Naughty Dog would include both types of indicators. The visual can show you the immediate clip of ammo, while the number shows all ammo for that gun.
“When you are partially hidden or you’re like in grass, that means people from afar can’t see you. People from closer can kind of see you. They will eventually acquire you. You are not completely hidden when you’re in grass. And it makes you as a player become much more aware of your surroundings.” – Neil Druckmann
For stealth, it seems that the circle on the right fills up with a gray circle when player visibility increases. This was in the E3 2018 demo, so this could have changed at any point within the past two years. Since Naughty Dog has decided to make stealth itself analog, I like that its in-game representation is also analog. I’m curious what other visual and audio cues players will have for stealth as well.
The music in the background of the video gives folks a small taste of the soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II. I cannot wait to listen to it all.
Apparently this is a weekly series for the time being. I’ not sure if this will go on for four more weeks until launch day or just another week or so. Next Wednesday (5/27/20) is when the next “Inside” video will be published. If I was a betting man, I’d put money on it covering the music.