Despite the deluge of details that recently emerged, there remains an air of mystery around The Last of Us Part II. To a degree, this will likely remain the case until the sequel’s February 2020 launch. However, information rolling out piecemeal never hurt anyone. As such, a new detail is circulating, concerning the game’s companion AI. Apparently, it’s improved over that which existed in the franchise’s first entry. According to Co-Director Anthony Newman, players will notice that companions are more helpful in combat, and have a bit more flexibility to them.
In The Last of Us, companion characters weren’t always at the top of their game during gameplay. When it came to stealth, they were also practically invisible to human and infected enemies. While it remains to be seen whether the latter has been addressed, Newman did talk to GameSpot about improvements to friendly AI characters and their behavior in combat encounters. Newman explained the following to GameSpot, after the recent media event where members of the press played two hours of Part II,
I think, as you may have noticed in the first part of the demo interacting with Dina, our allies can do a lot of pretty exciting new stuff where they can get stealth kills independently. They have their own pretty nuanced melee system where they can interact with enemies in melee and also help you out and rescue as they did in the first game. They’re a little bit more flexible and nuanced this time around.
During the interview, Newman also teased how much time players will spend alone, versus the amount of time in which Ellie will travel with a partner. Of course, he couldn’t divulge specifics. Yet, he did make clear that allies are integral to the DNA of Naughty Dog experiences.
I can’t get too much into the exact ratio of time you spend alone. I’d say the game is definitely a blend of being by yourself as you were in the second part of the demo, and being with an ally. Allies are at the core of Naughty Dog games. We get a lot of great stuff out of them in terms of this back and forth as you were pointing out.
With so much confusion surrounding the parts that both Dina and Joel will play in the overarching narrative, it’ll be intriguing to see how everything balances out. Thankfully, the wait to find out isn’t too much longer.
The Last of Us Part II is slated to come to the PlayStation 4 early next year on February 21, 2020. Just over a week later on March 3rd, Dark Horse will release The Art of The Last of Us Part II. Preorders for the art book are already live.