SPOILERS ALL THE WAY THROUGH
YOU’VE BEEN DORNED
I think Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann are going to run out of fresh alternate endings to talk about when PAX Prime rolls around if they keep up this pace.
After giving us a tease, and going further in-depth during their AMA about some other endings, the public faces for The Last of Us spoke to GameSpot about making the game, giving us details on another early alternate ending, while also telling us about a scrapped arc for Ellie:
Unlike a film where you can kind of pre-plan everything before you go into production, there’s no blueprint for fun. You don’t know what mechanics are going to work or not work because you’re doing something that hasn’t been done before. So for example, one of the original ideas was, Ellie would never shoot a non-Infected person until the very end of the game when she would save Joel. That was one of the early iterations we had for her arc. And pretty soon we realized it didn’t feel honest for a character living in this world to not be involved in the combat. And just from a design standpoint, we knew we didn’t want to create an escort mission, and that’s exactly what we were on the road to doing.
So all of a sudden, we’re a little bit into production and we’re starting to capture our first scene and we realize this is not gonna work. Now you have to rethink the entire structure of your story. Not just a scene or a line of dialogue but just where the story’s gonna go. So we went back to the drawing board and rethought the arcs and said, ‘OK, what if Ellie is capable from the beginning? Where does that take us?’ This is a dual-protagonist story. We felt that both characters needed to change by the end of it. So we’re constantly making these revisions based on gameplay needs, and we don’t know what they are ahead of time. So throughout production, we’re shifting things, and sometimes the story dictated certain aspects or a certain tone we’re after. We had a lot more classes of Infected, some of which were much more fantastical, and we felt like we were getting away from the tone of the story so we started reeling some of that stuff back as well. So even though things were fun, they didn’t fit with the story so there’s this constant conversation that’s happening between story and gameplay where things shift throughout.
Also on the topic of Ellie, the guys addressed how they actually created audio for when she would run into the line of sight of enemies (which happens a lot):
We even had dialogue recorded where she was going to apologize if she broke stealth. We were going to have a small percentage chance that maybe if she bumped into a guy, or obviously walked right in front of him, that he would notice her, and then the enemies would react. And after combat, she would actually apologize. ‘Sorry about that, I fucked up back there.’ And it was just one of those things, that–time is of the essence. You run out of it. You’re like, what are your priorities? What are people willing to live with? We just didn’t have enough time in the end to solve all the problems. We have ways of solving it. It was just, simply, time ran out. But we have a good foundation, so keep building.
Would you have liked it if Naughty Dog kept in the audio of Ellie saying, “Sorry about that, I fucked up back there?” Let us know in the comments below.