Ellie and the different NPCs have heartbeats in The Last of Us Part 2, as part of a new mechanic that’s actually more interesting than it sounds.
The Last of Us Part 2 has a neat system that accurately simulates heartbeat rate for Ellie, as well as human and infected enemies. This is part of how the game reflects the physical and emotional actions of the characters.
Co-director Anthony Newman explained how this neat mechanic works to Polygon.
“One of them is the audio where, I’m not sure if you noticed it, but as Ellie sprints around and then she settles, she’ll kind of [mimics heavy breathing] catch her breath,” said Newman. “What’s happening behind the scenes is that [Ellie] has a heart rate that is oscillating up and down.”
Based on this, Newman revealed, the game can produce different breathing sounds, which not only helps you connect with Ellie, but also get a better read at the state of your enemies.
“It goes up when you sprint, it goes up when you melee, it goes up when you take damage, and goes up into the presence of enemies,” he added.
“It’s been incredible because I found myself able to play cat and mouse with Clickers better than ever before because I can kind of understand them by the noises that they’re making. And the humans will do the same thing with breathing and sprinting and stuff.”
This sounds like a very subtle change that could either have a meaningful effect on gameplay, or be completely forgotten an hour into the game. For what it’s worth, Kirk enjoyed how tense and responsive The Last of Us: Part 2 felt when he played it recently.
In other news, Naughty Dog confirmed that the game won’t have a multiplayer mode, even if work goes on at the studio on the next evolution of the Factions mode introduced in the first game.
The Last of Us Part 2 is out February 21 on PS4.