Lots of games promise repercussions based on player choice, which mostly means a little choose-your-own-adventure branching. With The Last of Us, Naughty Dog wants you to have to weigh up everything – even down to opening your inventory.
“We’re trying to emphasize the reality of the situation that Joel and Ellie are in. There are consequences to your actions,” director Bruce Straley told GamesIndustry.
“If you go in willy nilly and just expect to come out unscathed, then you’re wrong. How much ammo did you come into this scenario with? Have you been able to craft something like a molotov? Do you have two molotovs? Do you have a health kit? What do you have? And you’re using the same inventory items for both crafting the molotov as well as the health kit, so you’re making a choice: Am I going to be offensive or defensive?”
Make a couple of wrong decisions and you may come across a situation you’re completely unprepared for – and unlike many other games, you can’t just open a pause menu and rejig your equipment.
“Our inventory system is living, meaning the game is still running. You’re not paused when you’re going into your inventory,” Straley warned.
“So it’s just like you’ve pulled the backpack off of your back and you’re in there creating something live while the enemies are moving around the environment and coming to get you if you’ve engaged with them. So what we want to try to do is make you feel that there is a consequence to it.”
Straley described a gameplay experience in which players carefully scout out enemies, use stealth to evade if they can’t get enough information, and have to deal with packs of angry hunters if they choose to stealth kill to obtain items.
The Last of Us is a PlayStation 3 exclusive expected in 2013.