How The Last Of Us 2 Makes Killing Enemies Even More Uncomfortable

The Last of Us Part II's human enemies might pull on your heartstrings.


The original Last of Us didn't shy away from making you reflect on your actions. In the sequel, developer Naughty Dog aims to hit that theme even harder. The Last of Us Part II has a new, seemingly small detail that could add a lot of weight to each kill: Every human enemy has a name. And they do not like it when you kill their friends.

During a pre-release event, we interviewed The Last of Us Part II co-director Anthony Newman about the upcoming game. What we've played so far is incredibly intense, and a lot of your victims are healthy humans, not just infected. How this brutality affects Ellie's humanity is a core aspect of the sequel, Newman explained.

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"I think a big part of the theme of the game is the parts of your humanity that are lost or potentially stripped away when you pursue justice, or the lengths that you go for justice can potentially have, again, a very high human cost to you personally," he said.

A major part of this is an emphasis on the humanity of the enemies you face. Every single one has a name, Newman told us, and they'll often refer to each other by name when coordinating. "Not only does it show how intelligent they are that they're able to coordinate, but by naming them they become that much more of a real human," he explained.

"One thing that happened to me was I was fighting a couple of enemies. I grabbed one as a hostage to protect myself from another one. I shot the other one and the guy in my arms yelled, 'Steven! No!' Just showing ... this very real concern for his compatriot that just fell. I was taken aback. I had never seen that particular confluence of our games' systems and it really--it makes the enemies you're fighting against feel more human, more deadly. It makes the combat situations that you're in--it makes you just really realize how high the stakes are."

From what we've played of The Last of Us Part II so far, it's shaping up to be thematically heavier even without the guilt of killing someone's friend and being forced to think of it that way. Dogs also have names and must be killed, which is also quite upsetting.

The Last of Us Part II is set to release on February 21, 2020, for PS4. If you haven't played the original yet, it'll be free through PS Plus in the month of October. We also learned a lot more about the game from the event; check out our full preview for The Last of Us Part II.

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