Naughty Dog recently hosted a media event where members of the press played just over two hours of The Last of Us Part II. To celebrate the in-universe Outbreak Day, the press who attended the event are now allowed to share what they saw a few days ago. Everything sounds impressive, from teasing story details to new character dynamics. However, among some of the most fascinating details is information concerning enemy AI. Apparently, it’s seen quite the drastic overhaul since the franchise’s initial entry. According to media reports and bits of gameplay, enemy AI characters can get pretty personal. They now have guard dogs, too.
In a video preview, IGN’s Jonathon Dornbush recounted his time with the game. He only spoke briefly about the sequel’s new and improved stealth mechanics, which soon transitioned into talk about the AI. Notably, the enemy AI will verbally communicate, calling each other by name. If Ellie kills a guy, another may see their comrade fall and cry out for him. Slaughter someone’s wife and their spouse will be sure to let you know about it.
This kind of verbal communication can also be used to flank Ellie. For instance, should one enemy see her moving about the bushes, they will immediately alert a nearby compatriot. As such, the age old task of stealthily following enemy patrol routes won’t exactly work in The Last of Us Part II. If Ellie fails at stealth or one of her targets notices something amiss, the player better be prepared to have the enemy AI’s patrol patterns switch on the fly.
Adding to this level of complexity is a new threat: guard dogs. These dogs will make prowling around difficult, due to their sense of smell and tracking abilities. Yes, that means in hairy situations, some players may feel forced to put down a canine or two. Should such an action occur, the dog’s owner won’t be pleased. According to PlayStation Access’ Nathan Ditum, killing the dog’s human handler first will leave the canine sad, perplexed as to what’s going on.
Suffice it to say, it appears as though The Last of Us Part II’s overarching narrative won’t be alone in delivering emotional story beats. With enemy AI having personal relations, along with the advent of dogs, Naughty Dog may have devised a new way of forcing players to reconsider their actions.
The Last of Us Part II is slated to hit the PlayStation 4 on February 21, 2020.