We interviewed Anthony Newman, co-director of The Last of Us Part II, and talked about the world of the game, the elements of violence and the story.
The eyes of the players turned to The Last of Us Part II, which will be released exclusively for Playstation 4 on June 19. With the departure of the embargo, we'll be back with The Last of Us Part II review and video content. Before that, we are here in an exclusive interview. We had a conversation with Anthony Newman, who was the co-director of the game recently. He answered all the questions we asked sincerely.
PLAY4UK - First of all, I want to talk about the first game. It was ended in a shock to many of us. Did you know that the sequel will come when publishing the first game? Or did you decide to make the second game after the criticism?
Anthony Newman - I think that I Neil (Druckmann) already had the idea for the second game almost immediately when the first game was done. I think actually really hardcore fans will know that we did a special event and called "One Night Live" and where you know there was kind of another sequence that took place after the game's events and I think even then, that moment between Joel and Ellie, Neil was already thinking about where their relationship is going to. So, I think he was already very passionate about making the second game.
PLAY4UK - In the first game, we saw themes of loyalty and love. But, in this game, hate and conscience themes in the foreground. What is the main reason for this change?
Anthony Newman - I think The Last of Us at its core is a game about humanity. I think both the first game and a second game are examining different facets of what it means to be a flawed human being, which we all are, and they're simply examining different sides of what makes us human. So, even the second game is about and pursuit of justice and the high cost of that and how much of your humanity can get lost in a pursuit. No excited all the different ways that Naughty Dogs, animators and character artists have been able to bring Ellie to life and show exactly what that emotional journey is like for her you can see a lot examples of that.
PLAY4UK - The story has expanded a lot. There are many different communities. Can you give information about these local groups?
Anthony Newman - There are as Ellie journeys to Seattle in her pursuit of justice for the people who ruined the city of Jackson. She is going to be kind in the middle of two warring human factions. The WLF (Washington Liberation Front), who is a militia group of highly trained soldiers and the religious fanatics of the seraphim. They are more stealthy forms of combat. So they use bows and arrows, and they are adapted to hiding in vegetation where are the WLF uses these more militaristic fighting styles. For example, they use trained attack dogs to pursue their enemies. So, it's not only there a great expression of the game's themes. Because there's a faction war with each other and retribution for in the middle. Ellie caught in the middle. But also, I think there are some exciting different things to the gameplay experience as you're combating these different enemies, that they have different fighting styles. For example, the Scars have massive pickaxe enemy who wheels this huge melee weapon and that kind of create these very tense moments of kind of trying to time your dodges and your contr attacks correctly. While you've been attacked potentially by other enemies with guns and bows, so I think each different faction is, not only to the speaking games themes, but also introduces a lot of exciting gameplay.
PLAY4UK - The tension in the game is always high. You are constantly in a war of life. For this reason, we think that there is a lot of work on combat mechanics. What was your main focus in the combat system?
Anthony Newman - So, we had a really broad focus on all the gameplay systems related to combat, and so one thing we took our melee combat system and introduced dodge. Basically introduced the whole new dimension to the melee combat and much more robust interesting. So, that we could have met focus enemies like the pickaxe enemy. You know, there was a greater focus on to versal as well and both relate to a puzzle-solving. But, how integrates into combat? You can get yourself into hiding spots. So you can hide underneath a jeep or a car, or something. Try to evade enemy as they walk by you. Our enemies are smart enough to check underneath those cars to see if they can find you and pull you out from under there. So they can drag you back into the combat space and fight. We've introduced a real jump which a lot of other games have, but I think for the Last of Us, this entirely new critical element to our combat scenarios.
I can squeeze through the small gaps, and I've never seen another game do that, and it creates these shortcuts that you can take in combat scenarios that you can really be introducing the new strategic option. So, all these things add up I think to this is not only the grandest and most nuanced story we've ever told, and I think the emotional journey that Ellie goes to its really tremendous. It's also the most systemically complex game that we are made. There are totally different ways to play all the combat setups, totally different ways to explore the character upgrades. By the end of the game at the choices that I've made will make for Ellie that is very different from the Ellie that you might have chosen to create. So, I might be finding totally new crafting recipes that you might not have to access. So, I can make new items like the exploding arrow. Well, you choose to focus on the silencer. A lot of things just adds up to create these unexpected moments of different mechanics that interact in ways to create a really unique experience for every player.
PLAY4UK - Scavenging mechanics are reflected throughout the game. Sometimes you need to make less discovery, sometimes more. Was it a preference to focus on this story?
Anthony Newman - It's important to make you feel like you are in this ruined world. You know in the this of the world in the only survive based on what you are able to scrounge up and find in your environment. There are always beautiful places to explore to find things that can help you on your journey. Because of all the new crafting items that we have in the game, like the exploding arrow or like the smoke bombs, damage more important for you. You have to look everywhere you possibly can and find items to help you on your journey. It was important to us is to make you feel like you're in a real city, real abandoned place into the real focus on making our level design as far as possible, and to make you feel like you're a real place with notes and crannies to explore and checkout rather than feeling like you're on the specific track that you know the game is so linear. It was a big challenge for us that I'm excited to say we made some really great strides in just specific and linear story and allow you to check out all these little places and explore independent restaurant or this forest space. I can find it in an abandoned apartment in Seattle and the rest of the game.
You're always going to be scavenged in your environment and exploring these locations and other mostly game in Seattle, and we also show that there are locations of the game like Jackson and potentially other locations you'll explore as well as you go through in the game.
PLAY4UK - There is a very high rate of violence in the game. Did you think that this level of violence would reflect on sales due to age restriction? Has there been any pressure for less violence?
Anthony Newman - Outside of my expertise in terms of how it's going to affect sales. But, I can't say that we felt like it was very important to have an authentic experience, that really examines why violence means. The themes of the game are really about the high cost of violence of the pursuit of justice, and how it can affect your humanity.
So, when an enemy calls out in English your friend's name that their friend has been killed in front of them, you feel that you feel like what that means any kind of unpleasant experience that engaging in its violence is. And, that was really important for us to deliver the themes of the story of the game. I think it's really exciting to me is in addition to the different kinds of combat styles that we offer to the player. You're also tons of different ways to approach the combat itself. One of them is to try in and engage in as little violence as possible. So, whenever we can almost everything encounter in the game are you have the choice not to kill every enemy or try to escape without actually ever even being noticed it all.
PLAY4UK - Did you get any pressure for the less violence? Because you can kill or burn animals in the game. Maybe PETA made a pressure.
Anthony Newman - I really for us it's about presenting the player with the same types of challenges that Ellie is a character will be presented with that she goes to this role and trying to give them as many choices as possible.
PLAY4UK - The game features very strong dialogue and emotional relationships between the characters. How did this reflect on Motion Capture work? We know that you are working with very talented names, but did this process force you to complete production?
Anthony Newman - I think it's so exciting the fidelity of the performances that we were able to get from motion capture. So on this game, we have much more complex facial lines than we've ever had before. As so grateful to like a press down on noses or like characters lips are able to get into poses that we've never been able to do before.
I would you see like one of our trailers are, like E3, when you can see the very very realistic animation of their mouth and one of the techniques we use now is are doing facial capture along with the motion capture. So we have like a special camera that is mounted to the actors head and their faces that allow us to take the super new ones and amazing performances from our actors like after Johnson and Laura Bailey and put them onto the digital characters. One thing I'm really excited about is this totally new technology never done before cold muscle defamation where typically when a character moves you know it's just this like solid mass that's moving along with the bones of the animation. But, muscle defamation actually changes the muscles and the bulk underneath the scan increases or decreases in value just like a muscle actually word, and you can see that in our dog enemies and in a lot of our characters as they move in and their muscles in the animation.