The Last of Us: Part II has been attracting criticism for its violence ever since its Paris Games Week trailer last year, and this week’s E3 2018 demo prompted a similar backlash. There are people who, quite simply, think the game is too violent. The new gameplay clips showed one character being disembowelled, while Ellie sliced the throats of enemies in an extremely gruesome manner.
For director Neil Druckmann, the intense violence is all a part of the message that the PS4 exclusive is trying to convey. “We’re making a game about the cycle of violence and we’re making a statement about violent actions and the impact they have on the character that’s committing them and on the people close to them,” he told Kotaku.
But is that necessarily “fun” in the way we’d traditionally consider games to be? “We don’t use the word ‘fun’ with The Last of Us,” he explained. “We say ‘engaging’. It needs to be engaging. If the stakes are real, if you are invested in the character and their relationship, you’re going to go through and commit these actions that might – and should be – at times making you feel uncomfortable.”
The previous game in the series forced you into a few actions that made sense for Joel, but didn’t necessarily align with the motives of players. It seems like it’s something Naughty Dog’s eager to repeat: “We like that at times you’re not in line with the character,” he concluded. “It kind of makes you question philosophically: where do I stand on these things?”