The Last of Us: Part II PS5 PlayStation

With the release of Grounded II: Making The Last of Us Part II, fans have been given a unique insight into the challenges and triumphs developer Naughty Dog encountered while creating its violent sequel, The Last of Us Part II. One of the biggest genuine surprises was a few almost throwaway lines, revealing that the cinematic adventure originally began life as a purely melee open-world game, one heavily inspired by FromSoftware's own grim epic, 2015's Bloodborne.

The reveal comes from co-game director Anthony Newman, who said that Naughty Dog co-president and head of creative Neil Duckmann wanted to be "very ambitious about changing the game almost entirely". Newman drops the surprising influence, stating: "For the first four or five months, the game was kind of an open world inspired by Bloodborne. And it was purely melee focused, like it was all hand-to-hand combat."

Lead game designer Emilia Schatz added that it wasn't just the melee aspect Naughty Dog investigated, but the labyrinthine layout structure FromSoftware is equally famous (or infamous) for, as well: "Bloodborne had a very open space that kept getting bigger and bigger as you explored. I really like that feeling that you get of mastery over the world. It starts to become almost a character in the game itself. And so, that was also something we were looking at."

Ultimately, this startlingly different direction, and the open world aspect specifically, didn't end up gelling with the type of story Naughty Dog wanted to tell. Vestiges of this earlier vision clearly remain, with the Seattle portion being the most obvious.

Would you have liked to see a Naughty Dog-developed, open world melee Souls-like? Awake from this everlasting dream in the comments section below.

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