You Could Kill A Lot Of Dogs In The Last of Us 2

Naughty Dog is going hard on making you question your humanity in The Last of Us Part 2.

37 Comments

The Last of Us Part 2 is making a lot of changes to the gameplay formula established by its 2013 predecessor. But the thing that you'll notice immediately is the amped-up brutality depicted in the game, as Ellie shoots, stabs, chokes out, and hacks various other humans to death. Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic stealth series is about the horrific things you have to do to survive. If your playthrough goes like our recent preview of Part 2 did, you won't just be murdering a whole lot of people--you'll also be murdering murdering a whole lot of dogs.

We recently spent about two hours playing The Last of Us Part 2 at a press event in Los Angeles, where Naughty Dog introduced us to its smarter, more dangerous human enemies. Joel and Ellie fought (and killed) truckloads of murderous human survivors in the first game, and Ellie faces more of them in the second--but this time, they've got scent-tracking attack dogs to use against you.

The dogs add some new wrinkles to stealth gameplay. If they cross the scent trail Ellie leaves as she moves around, they can track her, which means you have to worry about being rooted out on top of staying out of sight and being quiet. Often, you'll have to keep moving or use a distraction to throw a dog off--you can't just chill out behind a piece of cover to stay safe. Ellie's increased mobility and new capabilities, like crawling through tall grass so she's tougher to spot, help a lot, as do larger encounters with interior and exterior locations that give you plenty of options to keep moving and avoid being caught.

Stealthing through every situation and keeping out of combat is very tough, though, and it likely won't be long before you're forced to kill someone to keep yourself alive. If you get into a pitched battle with enemies, you'll find attack dogs running you down, trying to knock Ellie down and rip out her throat. That means you'll be shooting dogs, stabbing dogs, and sometimes slamming melee weapons like axes and machetes into dogs.

Of course, fighting attack dogs isn't really anything new in video games, but Part 2's focus on the savagery of fighting for your life makes these moments particularly harrowing. They're amplified as well by the reactions of the dogs' human companions when you kill one. After finishing off a dog, it's common to hear its owner screaming out in anguish about the situation.

Hearing those pained cries is a horrific addition to an already awful situation--and a purposeful one. Co-director Anthony Newman said Part 2's detailed kill animations are "meant to be unsettling," and that goes for those times when you're forced to fight and kill animals, too. And yeah, "unsettling" is definitely a good way to describe the whole situation.

Our play session featured a lot of humans roaming around with dogs, making the animals a serious threat, whether you're in stealth or in combat. More often than not, we had no choice but to dispatch them, causing dog lover after dog lover to loudly mourn their canine buds--and loudly curse Ellie.

The Last of Us Part 2's thematic focus is on pushing you to feel the impact of your actions as you work through its post-apocalyptic world. Ellie is on a crusade for justice (or vengeance) in Part 2, and Newman said the game is about humanity, and what you might have to sacrifice of it to stay alive in its brutal world.

As writer Neil Druckmann pointed out on Twitter, you do have agency in Part 2 and, if you're careful, can avoid the dogs and choose not to kill them. During this demo, I was very much not able to avoid them. Apologies to all the dogs.

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jt2251

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Sounds problematic... They should cancel the game.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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can you pet the dead dog?

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tingtong

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It’s all good as long as you can kill cats too…otherwise there’s definitely some animal racist shit going on

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Heidern98

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Yo almost 30 years ago, I would play the Nintendo version of Robocop, and I would only block the dogs and never kill them. I just can't man. I don't like murdering anything, especially humans, and while I loved the first game beyond words, if they make killing dogs mandatory, I just won't play this game. Not trying to make any political or moral statement here, I just can't enjoy something if I have to kill dogs in it. I am too empathetic to them.

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Atzenkiller

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So you just take those dogs out with your bow first. Nothing really new here until you get spotted.

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monkyby87

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“You’ll Might...” come on Gamespot, at least have your titles be decent, even if the articles aren’t.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@monkyby87: Apparently completely destroying the English language was added to the Gamespot agenda.

What concerns me more is these sites apparently have an editorial department.

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meharu

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meharu  Online

It is okay as long as these dogs are NAUGHTY

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ReaperInThyName

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Can we stop being over sensitive over everything? Whoops sorry, it's gamespot....

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shotgun79

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"Murdering a lot of dogs."

Murder is reserved for humans.

What's with the title of this article? Nice English.

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jyml8582

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John Wick would not approve.

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mmsf12

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i hate when we have to kill dogs on those games. Totally unecessary. Won´t play this crap. Thanks for letting me know

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Thelostscribe

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Interesting, unfortunately if dogs are a constant enemy in the game, the developer is just going to desensitize players to it after awhile. If it were 1 out of 10 enemies, maybe it'd continue to have impact, but if it's every other enemy is a dog, well eventually people won't really care.

Maybe that's why they made the animations brutal, to try to keep the impact. Seems a bit unnecessary, but Naughty Dog know what they are doing, so I'm sure it will be great.

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SkullKnight8000

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so whats a problem? its game and not real

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Thelostscribe

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@skullknight8000: There is no problem per se, they are just saying that it can be difficult brutally slaughtering what looks and sounds like an animal most people have a lot of emotion towards. Sure it's a game, but as games get more detailed, the impact can be greater than say 10 years ago. People can feel attachment to video game characters, but they aren't real either.

If you aren't phased by it, that's fine, but most people probably won't enjoy doing it in the beginning.

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Atzenkiller

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@thelostscribe: I wonder how those people you mention are supposed to play this game where they have to slaughter hundreds of humans over the course of the game then. Or are you saying that people have more of a connection to dogs than to other humans? I don't really see the difference whether it's a human, a dog or anything else that is trying to kill you.

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Thelostscribe

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@Atzenkiller: I would say most people have a more benign view of animals than they do of Human enemies trying to attack them. Again, I have felt bad or reluctant taking out human enemies in games, and if the game portrays your enemies in a sympathetic light, I'm sure taking them out will cause pause as well.

However, the vast majority of enemies in games are humans trying to hurt you. Naughty Dog no doubt added dogs, their realistic sound to pain and the humans reaction to them being hurt to obviously add extra emotional value to committing violence against them.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@thelostscribe: I get it , you don't want it to resemble real life cruelty. A game is meant to be escapism if you want to look at real life cruelty you can just watch the nightly news as they are obsessed with that crap.

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Thelostscribe

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@deviltaz35: It's not really a problem, I'm just responding to the initial 'so whats a problem? its game and not real'. Inflicting brutal executions on faithfully recreated digital dogs will probably be hard for people in the beginning of the game. I do think people will grow desensitized to it if it's something they are constantly doing.

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Zander80

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@thelostscribe: But you're cool with killing people?

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Thelostscribe

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@zander80: I don't see that implied anywhere in my comment. People often have malicious intent in these games, they are making a conscious decision to harm you. Dogs would have been trained that way by a human and are simply doing the job given to them. Depending on how the dog is portrayed, if say it's super vicious, you may not feel bad taking it out.

My comment was in regards to the 'so whats a(the) problem? its just a game and not real'. There have been games where I feel bad for the human AI I am fighting. Often though, the human's you are fighting in most games are there to harm you specifically.

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Atzenkiller

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@thelostscribe: And you think all humans are always acting consciously instead of just doing what they've been taught or have picked up from their environment? Most humans are hardly more conscious than any dog. So why don't you feel sorry for them?

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Thelostscribe

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@Atzenkiller: I mean if that's your outlook on humans, that's how you see it. In most games, the enemies are purposefully hunting you down or trying to harm you. I'm saying that most people regard a human purposefully trying to harm you in a none sympathetic manner. That's basically it.

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Atzenkiller

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@thelostscribe: And so again, how is that different from a dog that has been trained to do the same thing? Why would you feel sympathetic towards a dog that is trying to kill you but not towards a humans doing the same thing?

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Thelostscribe

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@Atzenkiller: A human committing conscious violence against another human is a choice they make. While you said, 'Most humans are hardly more conscious than any dog', that's simply not true, it's certainly an opinion, but scientifically it is not true. Brainwashing or conditioning is a different story. Human's typically look at Dog's with a childlike image. So while they may be attacking you, often people are hesitant to hurt them or view it has sad to have to hurt them because we attribute it to instinct or being abused. Let's be honest as well, most players have grown desensitized to fighting human enemies, it's the main enemies we fight in games.

Naughty Dog intentionally chose to make the dogs death look and sound terrible on purpose. They also chose to have their human owner react out of anger or sadness that you ended their pet. It's to solicit an emotional response from the player, to make them feel bad for the actions occurring. There is a certain bond people have with dogs and seeing their owner in pain out of loss for that pet could be emotionally difficult. It's not just my opinion.

I've also said that if the dog is portrayed vicious enough, you probably won't feel bad about it and I've also said that if Naughty Dog has you engage in combat with them often enough, it'll just desensitize players to it(as they are now to humans).

A lot of players probably won't care either way.

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Atzenkiller

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@thelostscribe: You can't explain what it means to be conscious or unconscious to an unconscious person. And scientists certainly can't do so either. I'm very aware of that. Maybe pick up meditation and startg observing your mind. That might actually show you how conscious you are at all times.

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Thelostscribe

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@Atzenkiller: okay...

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jonsono2

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@thelostscribe: Likewise dogs only 'love' you because they have been bred to be needy towards humans. Just like how people attribute any 'viciousness' they have to animal instinct, well then their 'love' is also animal and no where near as deep adn real as a human's can be towards you. So why do you love dogs so much?

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Thelostscribe

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@jonsono2: That's a weird way to phrase a question. Human enemies, unless otherwise stated or implied in the game, typically are trying to harm you consciously and viciously. People feel less sympathetic towards them. Harming dogs does not happen very often in games and we often look upon them generally very sympathetically, almost child like.

I have no idea what that has to do with how much a dog loves you vs how much a human loves you or where that was ever implied in my comment.

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Atzenkiller

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@jonsono2: And how exactly is the love you feel towards humans not something basic and primal? All of our behaviors are ultimately ingrained in our genes. The only thing seperating us from other animals is that we can consciously act against our natural or environmental programming. Most people rarely ever do that though.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@jonsono2: So true where as a cat is just secretly working out how to rub you out so the dog gets the blame.

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m4a5

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Edited By m4a5  Online

...So? They're not real...

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Thelostscribe

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@m4a5: Neither are the characters, but you can feel something for them. When the digital creature looks and sounds like the real thing, it can invoke an emotional response. Dogs don't actually die in movies, but it can still make people upset.

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PromeyM

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Edited By PromeyM

@thelostscribe:

This.

The puppy in John Wick never actually got clubbed to death with a pipe, but I still can't bring myself to start the movie before he's bashing the concrete floor to get his guns and coinage.

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Gr4h4m833zy

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Edited By Gr4h4m833zy

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS F*CK!NG GAME!!!!!

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videogameninja

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Edited By videogameninja

Naughty Dog… what can I say. The name says it all.

Don’t think PETA will be too happy, though.

😉

-PUT ‘EM DOWN NINJA APPROVED-

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@videogameninja: lol i remember how they carried on with Ubisoft killing digital whales in Assassins Creed Black Flag lol.

Ubisoft's response was priceless though.

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