‘The Last of Us Part II’ and Its Crisis-Strewn Path to Release: by Darryn King for Wired
More unique access and insight to the development of The Last of Us Part II. Makes me wonder how Chasing the Stick would have turned out if I waited to publish after the game’s release.
Now, during this agonizing final stretch of development, Druckmann’s team is watching for players’ minute responses to the narrative and emotional beats. In the videofeeds piped out of the playtesting room, the dev team logs and annotates every clench of the jaw and widening of the eyes. Druckmann has even taken to spying on the gamers live from his office.
This is something briefly touched on back in 2013 with the documentary Grounded: The Making of The Last of Us. Even their approach and obsession with playtest has evolved. Playtests were a part of the game’s scope expanding in 2018.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves boasted epic set pieces that unspooled, in the parlance of the industry, “on the stick”—as the player played—instead of in passive cinematic cut scenes.
Even the dogs in The Last of Us Part II—which sniff out your scent trail and attack when they find you—are some of the most intelligent, realistic dogs in videogames ever. In Naughty Dog’s offices, playtesters have been horrified to find themselves committing acts of canine carnage. Yelps and whimpers and whines ring out, not all of them from the dogs. “It makes players feel dirty, and that’s part of the point,” Druckmann explains.
I’ve said it before, this game is going to be gruesome.
Druckmann is bombarded with anti-Semitic slurs, death threats, and messages informing him he has ruined the franchise.
Absolutely disgusting and saddening for this to happen to anyone. The anonymity of the Internet gives people a shameful boldness. Odds are too, that these despicable people will be buying the game day one. It fills my heart with grief.