The Last of Us director defends the game's violence

"Everything has to feel tense. Everything has to feel grounded in reality. The reason why we're going for such realistic violence is because we want you to believe that the stakes are high for Ellie and Joel."

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A hapless man struggles on the floor, only to get a shotgun round blasted to his face. Then, thunderous applause fills the auditorium.

The Last of Us' E3 stage demo was incredibly violent, and any unknowing onlooker might see our industry's reaction to such a demo as off-putting. However, Neil Druckmann, creative director for Naughty Dog's upcoming shooter, argues that there's reason for such brutality. "The violence you see inside this world isn't gratuitous and over-the-top just for the sake of being violent. It's setting a tone. It's setting a reality that Joel and Ellie are having to deal with," Druckmann said. "Everything has to feel tense. Everything has to feel grounded in reality. The reason why we're going for such realistic violence is because we want you to believe that the stakes are high for Ellie and Joel."

While the player's journey in The Last of Us will be gory, Ellie does offer something of a moral compass. Although hardened by the post-apocalyptic world she's grown up in, she will still comment on Joel's most brutal actions. "She probably views violence a little differently than you and I would view it. She's lived in a world where she's seen people get executed, she's seen people get infected, and she's seen people get their heads lobbed off when they get infected," Druckmann detailed, adding: "there's still a point where Joel will do stuff that bothers her, but it's way past the point of what we might find comfortable."

Although certain battles can be stealthily avoided, violence is ultimately unavoidable due to the game's design. While you'll still have to kill in order to win, Druckmann says that "you should feel bad when you kill these guys because they're trying to survive as well."

The Last of Us will be available on May 7.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 2, 2013 12:45 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, The Last of Us director defends the game's violence.

    "Everything has to feel tense. Everything has to feel grounded in reality. The reason why we're going for such realistic violence is because we want you to believe that the stakes are high for Ellie and Joel."

    • reply
      January 2, 2013 2:07 PM

      Doesn't strike me as overly violent at all. About on par with other similar games, though quite a jump from Uncharted

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        January 2, 2013 2:13 PM

        I found the first trailer to be incredibly violent compared to most modern games, but maybe that's because it seems more personal and close-up. Most modern violent games are shooters, and the deaths entirely impersonal.

        However, I think the fact that The Last of Us features uncomfortably violent moments will make it a better, more compelling game, at least based on what we've seen so far.

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      January 3, 2013 7:35 AM

      This game would not be as compelling without the personal and up close fights. It's a drama. I understand we have had a lot of gun violence in the real world lately but Naughty Dog is doing a fictional drama "what if" here and these situations are a very realistic "what if" for the world they have created. For them not to be here you might as well not bother trying to publish this game at all.

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      January 3, 2013 8:15 AM

      Didn't realize it was being attacked or even questioned. Maybe we should all play a Mario game instead. Wait, that's right..different strokes for different folks.

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