The Last Of Us lets you “completely avoid combat if you want”
There’s a lot of violence in the The Last Of Us - really strong, unflinching violence. But Naughty Dog community strategist Arne Meyer says it is optional should you want, letting you avoid combat altogether if you don’t want to beat hobos to death with a chair leg.
The Last Of Us’ optional fight club
“There is liberty in the narrative so that you don’t have to kill someone or encounter someone,’ says Meyer, explaining that there will be different ways to tackle levels. “There will be other options. We do have the opportunity for you to go around, and not even do any combat. There are going to be areas where you can completely avoid combat if you want.”
Meyer does also put the violence in context saying, “It’s really important to understand that this is twenty years after a pandemic has destroyed civilization. It’s pretty much every man for himself. What will humans be like when they are pushed to the limit?” Some might take a “route of cooperation and rebuild society”, while others will have, “no morality left; no ethics left to what they do”.
It’s these extremes that The Last Of Us explores: “that’s the part that violence plays into it”, says Meyer. “There’s going to be some people who are really out for themselves that will stop at nothing. They’ve lost every sense of what it means to be human and compassionate; they’ve lost all of that. And when you look at the violence, that’s the context. There are going to be people who are pushed to that limit. And that’s what we want to explore in the narrative and the gameplay. What will humans be like when they are pushed to the limit?”
Both Troy Baker and Ashly Johnson, the actors behind the dual leads have spoken at length about the emotional toll of their The Last Of Us performances.