The Last of Us, in many ways, is an extension of the work Naughty Dog has already done on the Uncharted franchise. Like the adventures of Nathan Drake, it is a third-person cover shooter with a strong emphasis on AI companions. However, unlike Uncharted, The Last of Us is supposed to be a survival game. And with that change, the gameplay must be tweaked.
"There's more consequences to getting shot," director Neil Druckmann explained. Instead of having automatically regenerating health--a standard feature in most shooters--the team is opting to have "persistent health," harking back to the era of the health pack.
Healing "takes time," meaning it may not be possible in a tight gun fight. "How I heal myself has consequence," Druckmann explained to Game Informer. Unlike with Nathan Drake, players won't be able to just run into a fight, guns blazing.
Because health is always a concern, one thing the team is conscious of is how players will interact with Ellie, Joel's non-playable partner. Druckmann promises that she will be intelligent. "She's not going to break stealth for you... [and] she can make decisions on her own." He says that "when joel's cornered, she can pick up an improvised weapon and throw it at him."
While some of the greatest games created--Ico and Resident Evil 4--had players taking care of an AI partner, Druckmann says that "if we made an entire game that was an escort mission, we would hate it."