Last of Us 2 dev reveals secret changes planned for new 'Grounded' mode - Dexerto
The Last of Us

Last of Us 2 dev reveals secret changes planned for new ‘Grounded’ mode

Published: 12/Aug/2020 8:17 Updated: 12/Aug/2020 8:38

by Brad Norton


The upcoming The Last of Us Part II Grounded difficulty mode is set to challenge players in all-new ways as the game’s co-director has revealed secret details on what fans can expect.

One of the best selling games of 2020 and Naughty Dog’s swan song for the PlayStation 4, The Last of Us Part II is set to receive an all-new update this week. The 1.05 patch coming on Thursday, August 13, 2020, will be ramping up the difficulty in a few key ways.

A permadeath option is coming alongside a slew of gameplay and audiovisual modifiers. From a slow-mo filter to mods for infinite ammo and more. There are plenty of unique tools coming to add replayability to the single-player experience.

Chief among the new additions, however, is the return of Grounded mode. The original version of this extreme difficulty mode gave Last of Us players the ultimate challenge. Scarce resources and a limited HUD is only the starting point. Here’s how Naughty Dog is looking to push things even further this time around.

In Naughty Dog’s recent blog post, the developers outlined a few ways in which the new difficulty option will change the core gameplay experience. “Invaluable tools for survival, such as Listen mode [and] elements of the HUD,” will be unavailable here, they explained. But beyond these differences, Co-Director Anthony Newman shared the more subtle factors that players will notice in Grounded.

“It’s more than just a difficulty mode,” he followed up. “There are so many little tweaks and adjustments that make it a really unique experience.” If you’re truly looking for the most realistic and dangerous playthrough possible, here’s how Naughty Dog is pulling it off.

In the standard modes, when an enemy begins to detect your presence, a subtle audio cue rings out. A slight chime will come through and you’ll know to change location and avoid being detected. In the Grounded mode, however, this doesn’t exist. Instead, “you have to listen even more closely to your enemies to understand their mental state.”

Additionally, trying to be sneaky can be harder than ever as well. Even if you’re able to find a stealth kill in the bushes, for instance, “enemies are much more perceptive” on this difficulty. They “can even notice a stealth kill if you do it too close to someone else.”

Last of Us Part II gameplay
Naughty Dog
Even if you’re trying to be sneaky, enemies might still detect you on the Grounded difficulty.

Hitmarkers are also done away with when playing on the new difficulty. This means you’ll have to pay close attention to find out if your shots even land. On top of this, “no mid-combat checkpoints” so you’ll need to get through each encounter in one go.

Grounded has been hyped up as the “ultimate test of skill.” These subtle gameplay tweaks certainly lend to that label and then some. Grounded mode will be available in the August 13 update. Combine this with the permadeath option and you might just have the most difficult gaming challenge of the generation on your hands.

The Last of Us

What we know about The Last of Us HBO TV show – cast, release date, more

Published: 25/Sep/2020 21:48 Updated: 25/Sep/2020 21:49

by Brent Koepp


Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us is officially getting a TV adaptation, thanks to television genius HBO. Here is everything we know about it, including cast, release date, and more.

First released in 2013 for PlayStation 3 and later released on PS4, The Last Of Us is often regarded as the best zombie game of all time, as well as the best PS exclusive. It follows the story of Joel after an outbreak of the Cordyceps fungus takes over the United States. He is tasked with transporting Ellie, a young girl who is immune to the disease, across the country in hopes of developing a cure.

Following the success of the first title, Naughty Dog announced a sequel to the zombie survival action game which was released on June 19. Furthermore, television network HBO is also creating a TV show based on the series, and ND Vice President Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin are on board to write and executive produce it.

Cast, characters & director

In March 2020, Home Box Office announced that they were taking on the project, and its first director has since been revealed. Breaking Bad and Chernobyl director Johan Renck is set to helm the pilot episode, as told in an interview with Discussing Film.

“It’s an ongoing TV series. So that’s not something that I will be able to take on to that extent, but I’m part of that series and I will be directing at least the pilot,” he said.

Not all of the cast and characters are known so far, though Joel and Ellie will obviously play a huge part. Who will be taking on their roles is currently unknown.

In a tweet on March 8, Naughty Dog Vice President Neil Druckmann confirmed that Riley from Left Behind will be in the show, as well as Tess, Maria, and Marlene.

“And now you have Ellie, Riley, Tess, Marlene, Maria, ****, and a few others!” he tweeted, blocking out another character with four square emojis. Now that Part II has been released, we know that he was referring to Abby.

On September 22, 2020, during a Reddit AMA, Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau hinted that he may be portraying Joel in the upcoming series. While he didn’t outright say he was playing him, he also didn’t deny it when asked and even mentioned that he had just gotten his hands on Part II. Only time will tell if it comes true.

Release date

There’s no current release date set for the show, but considering the fact they’ve yet to announce casting, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume a release date of late 2021, or even 2022.

Craig Mazin revealed during his weekly podcast Scriptnotes that production wouldn’t start until Part II of the game had released. “We can’t start on it right away because [Naughty Dog is] still finishing up the second game, but pretty soon,” he said.

The Last of Us Part II was released on June 19, but given the current state of events, it’s unclear as to whether production for the show will start any time soon.

Naughty Dog
The popular PlayStation 4 tile will bring its brutal story to HBO.

The plot

In March, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the series will cover the events from the first game, with the “possibility” of it delving into Part II in the future.

Whether it will continue past the events of both games is currently unknown, but speaking to GameSpot, Troy Baker, Joel’s voice actor, claimed that the show could have “three to four” seasons to match the pace of the game.

We can only hope that HBO doesn’t rush through it… *cough* like the final season of Game of Thrones *cough*