Naughty Dog Aims to Create Gaming’s Most Complex Character With The Last of Us Part II

With 2013’s The Last of Us, Naughty Dog crafted one of last generation’s most compelling narratives. By all accounts, it seems the studio wants to tread similar ground with the title’s impending sequel. Beyond crafting a great story, though, the team also hopes to develop the “most complex, nuanced character” in gaming. Co-writer Halley Gross teased how Naughty Dog is trying to achieve this in a recent interview.

Speaking with PlayStation Official Magazine, Gross shared insight about her role in the project. In doing so, she also briefly discussed the team’s ambitions with regards to character.

This is the longest job I’ve ever had in my life. Every day I’m working, I get the opportunity to work with designers, and animators, and sound guys and character artists, and we’re all working toward a vision about how do you make the most complex, nuanced character in a videogame?

Everybody’s putting their particular smarts toward that, and you get to just watch these incredibly brilliant people and go, ‘How the fuck does your brain work?’ Wizards. They’re wizards.

While Gross doesn’t specifically state that whether Ellie is the “complex, nuanced character” in question, her comments later in the interview suggest as much. Apparently, the character will be pushed to her limits in a sequel, which will see her challenged in interesting ways. Gross said,

Obviously Ellie experiences this deep trauma, it has an impact on her that’s going to affect how she engages with the world. That’s going to affect her tone as we sort of descend through that. That being said, Ellie is driven by love. It’s love that sends her on this mission for justice. It’s love that she feels for Joel, for Dina – these moments that buoy her.

What we’re really trying to do is challenge Ellie to see who she can become when she grows up in such a hostile environment. And part of writing is, very unfortunately, torturing your characters, putting them in hard situations, and testing their values and testing their drive. So while we love Ellie, and we’re really excited to see her grow up, we’re certainly not going to coddle her.

Character development isn’t all fans have to look forward to where The Last of Us Part II is concerned. Gameplay has received quite the overhaul. Even the AI is far more sophisticated this time around, with smart human enemies and dogs being added into the fold, and even heartbeats having an impact on gameplay.

The Last of Us Part II will hit stores early next year on February 21, 2019 for the PlayStation 4.

[Source: PlayStation Official Magazine via Wccftech]