According to The Last of Us: Part II’s creative director, Neil Druckmann, the game’s violence isn’t designed to be “fun” but rather “engaging”.
In an interview published on July 10th, 2018 on Buzzfeed, Druckmann told the outlet – in response to a question about whether or not there would be moments gamers would find exciting or fun in The Last of Us: Part II – that Naughty Dog is focused on making the gameplay violence “engaging”, not “fun”….
“For us, with The Last of Us specifically (Uncharted is a little different in our creative approaches), we don’t use the word “fun.” We say “engaging,” and it might seem like a minor distinction, but it’s an important one for us, which is, we believe that if we’re invested in the character and the relationships they’re in and their goal, then we’re gonna go along on their journey with them and maybe even commit acts that make us uncomfortable across our moral lines and maybe get us to ask questions about where we stand on righteousness and pursuing justice at…ever-escalating costs.”
While Druckmann dismisses this creative approach to Uncharted, anyone who actually played Uncharted 4 would note how unfun the game was compared to Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3. In fact, it’s the least fun game out of the main Uncharted titles. Everything is so dolor, and Drake is so much more somber compared to his wily charms in the previous games.
Nevertheless, the sort of straight-face-with-a-frown presentations that have been front and center with all of the overtly violent and politically charged videos for The Last of Us: Part II are no mistake. The cadre of creators bringing the game to life have made it known on multiple occasions that they’re about pushing a very specific kind of message. In this case, Druckmann reiterates that the violence is something they wanted to feel “real” so that it’s uncomfortable, which ties into making the violence – and by proxy, the gameplay – less “fun” and more “engaging”. Druckmann further stated…
“I mean, our aesthetic approach to violence is to make it as grounded and real as possible, and we watch — sometimes uncomfortably — a lot of videos from the world, right? The world that we know, and trying to say, Okay, we don’t to make it sexy. How do we make it real? How do we make it uncomfortable because art at times should be uncomfortable? With the story we’re trying to tell here, it should at times make you uneasy to move forward, and yet you’re so invested in the characters that you are moving forward, and hopefully you’re reflecting on the actions that you’re taking part in.”
The Last of Us: Part II doesn’t have a release date but it is set to launch exclusively for the PlayStation 4 when it’s finished.