Violence in the Last of Us Part II Is Designed to Be “Repulsive”

Naughty Dog Is Pulling No Punches

Concluding Paris Games Week, developer Naughty Dog parted with a trailer showcasing the level of violence in The Last of Us Part II. Kicking off Sony’s E3 press conference, the crew stuck to that message, delivering repulsive brutality through gameplay. After disturbing quite a few viewers with the game’s gritty visuals, creative director Niel Druckmann revealed that that was the point.

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The Last of Us Part II demo delivered a vertical slice of in-game violence: stabbing, disembowelment, maiming, bullet wounds. If you were off-put by any of it, it’s because you were supposed to be. Devs are on a mission of realism, and realism – even in a grim world – means all the aforementioned methods of killing should make your stomach flip a little bit. Druckmann explained his goal In a statement to Kotaku, “for the player to feel repulsed by some of the violence they are committing themselves.” To him and the team, it’s the “honest way to tell this story.”

When it comes to telling a story, Druckmann also touched on the fun factor, saying there’s a difference between “fun” and “engaging.” He’s aiming for the latter, but he went on to describe how the meanings of both can get intermingled when players talk about an experience. The Last of Us Part II will avoid glorifying violence by offering players a brutally immersive playthrough.

“We’re making a game about the cycle of violence and we’re making a statement about violent actions and the impact they have on the character that’s committing them and on the people close to them,” Druckmann said. “And our whole approach is to say, ‘We want to treat this as realistically as possible.’ When you stab someone—if you watch reference videos, which we have, it’s gross and it’s messy and it’s not sanitized like you see in most movies and games. And we wanted to get the player to feel that.”

The Last of Us Part II currently has no release date, but we’ll have updated info as it arrives.