Naughty Dog: violence fits the narrative in The Last of Us

Community strategist Arne Meyer explains that action game’s desolate post-apocalyptic setting justifies violence, though there will be scenes where players can avoid lethal encounters.


Gamers may recall the E3 2012 demo for The Last of Us (below), in which series protagonist Joel ends a blood-soaked scene by blasting a foe’s head off in close range with a shotgun. This scene, and the game’s other violent encounters, are appropriate because they fit the game’s narrative, according to Naughty Dog community strategist Arne Meyer.

Violence in The Last of Us is not overly indulgent, Meyer says.
Violence in The Last of Us is not overly indulgent, Meyer says.

“It’s really important to understand that this is twenty years after a pandemic has destroyed civilization. Outside of [government-controlled quarantine areas] it’s pretty much every man for himself. And that’s what we want to explore in the narrative and the gameplay for The Last of Us. What will humans be like when they are pushed to the limit?” Meyer explained to GameSpot.

“Are they going to take a route of cooperation and rebuild society? Or is it really going to be every man for themselves and they have no morality left; no ethics left to what they do? So that’s the part that violence plays into it. There’s going to be some people who are really out for themselves that will stop at nothing. They’ve lost every sense of what it means to be human and compassionate; they’ve lost all of that. And when you look at the violence, that’s the context. There are going to be people who are pushed to that limit.”

Though The Last of Us will be stuffed with scenes of violence, certain scenarios in the game allow users to bypass these bloody encounters altogether.

"There is liberty in the narrative so that you don’t have to kill someone or encounter someone. We do have the opportunity for you to go around, and not even do any combat. There are going to be areas where you can completely avoid combat if you want."

The Last of Us is Naughty Dog's first non-Uncharted game since 2005. It is due out in 2013 exclusively on PlayStation 3. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 120 comments about this story