One of the standout reveals at E3 2018 was a brand new trailer for The Last of Us Part 2. In addition to showing fans what Ellie’s new life in Jackson is like, it also featured gameplay as she got into some brutal brawls and shootouts with the game’s human enemies. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that these enemies are a cut above those that players faced off against in the original Last of Us.
In a panel discussion that took place at E3 2018, developer Naughty Dog revealed more about the big changes to The Last of Us Part 2‘s enemies. The biggest of these is that the enemy AI is a lot smarter, particularly in terms of communication. The communication of enemies will now “ripple out,” for example one enemy will find a body in a forest before communicating (by whistling) to share information with other groups.
As time goes on, there will be greater awareness of Ellie’s location and greater reinforcements as the groups “sync up” with one another. Enemies will even check in with each other to see if there is new information. This is quite unlike the first game in which enemies just seemed to know where Joel and Ellie were off the bat.
Even the way that enemies respond once they know where Ellie is will change. Because The Last of Us Part 2 lead has new capabilities, including the ability to jump and crawl, the enemy AI has been improved accordingly and they can now search under things and pull Ellie out of cover. While this is fascinating from a technical perspective, it’s not great news for fans who perhaps planned to cheat the enemy AI by just hiding under trucks.
Naughty Dog has even teased new types of infected enemies. In addition to the new human enemy factions hinted at in the Paris Games Week trailer, there will also be multiple new classes of infected and this will somehow tie into the game’s narrative. The integration will be “grounded and believable,” says Naughty Dog, though the developer has yet to reveal the differences between the new infected and the infected that players were introduced to in the first game.
The changes to enemy AI are not the only big shifts for the game. There are tonal shifts (The Last of Us Part 2 is about hate, rather than the love of the first game), there’s a brand new setting, and animations have been greatly improved to the point that some have accused them of being faked in the new trailer. Naughty Dog has yet to detail all of the changes to the game but watch this space.
The Last of Us Part 2 is currently in development for PS4. A release date has not yet been announced.