PAX 2012 The stealthy less murdery side of The Last of Us

first_imgWhen The Last of Us was shown on stage at E3 this year, it was clear that developer Naughty Dog was making a rather dark departure from their Indiana Jones-ish Uncharted series. Though violence is nothing new in games, something about the up-close brutality in The Last of Us made a number of critics and fans shiver. Since the game seemed to be focused on giving emotional weight to combat, I wondered whether players would be forced down that road, or have the option to turn away from it. At PAX 2012, Naughty Dog showed off a new live demonstration of the game, and I got my answer.The area demonstrate at PAX appeared to be nearly identical to the one in the E3 trailer, including the same group of scavenging enemies, but the way it played out couldn’t have been more different. Rather than beating, shooting, and burning his way through the hotel, the demo player took a stealthy approach. He distracted the first few enemies by tossing an empty bottle through a window, carefully timed his movements through the empty rooms to avoid being detected, and choked out the lone enemy guarding the exit — the same area in the E3 demo, but cleared without a single kill.Yet even though non-violence seems to be an option, The Last of Us makes it a difficult road to walk. Immediately after clearing the area from the E3 trailer, the player was spotted by another group of enemies and fell back on the old shooting and melee tactics. But the encounter showed off another interesting element of the AI. When only one scavenger was left, he fled into the building ahead, and the player found himself forced into a cat-and-mouse game with a single, desperate enemy.Now that we’ve seen the other side Naughty Dog’s latest game, I’ll be interested to see how players react to it when it releases next year. Will will players work harder to avoid violence due to the way The Last of Us presents it? And if they do, will stealthy players be able to complete the game without a single kill?last_img

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