HBO's The Last Of Us Has A Cool Idea The Games Could Use

Before the discharge of HBO’s The Last of Us, a TV adaptation of some of the acclaimed video games of all time, many on the web had been able to deride the present earlier than having seen an episode–partly as a result of the historical past of reside motion online game variations has been a combined bag at finest, however principally as a result of a whole lot of commenters on-line take pleasure in being grade A haters.

Following constructive press reactions to the present’s first season, the primary two episodes which have aired since have modified lots of people on-line’s tunes. There appears to be a common consensus that the present not solely faithfully adapts the story of the sport, however expands on the world, characters, and plot beats in significant methods. In a couple of quick weeks, the dialog round HBO’s The Last of US has gone from, “This is going to be bad,” to, “Is it actually better than the game?”

Now Playing: The Last of Us Episode 2 Breakdown, Anna Torv Interview, Social Reactions

Opinions like these are subjective, however I noticed a put up on Twitter that made an excellent level about evaluating the 2: You can’t name one higher than the opposite as a result of one is a TV present and the opposite is a online game. The playable model of The Last of Us has sport mechanics that you could work together with and critically weigh when figuring out whether it is good or not, whereas the TV present has the flexibleness to leap round within the story and comply with the views of quite a few totally different characters. It’s a strong argument to make.

However, after Episode 2 of the present aired, one thing grew to become clear to me: it’s not simply that the story of the present, for essentially the most half, has been a step up from the unique, however the “gameplay” has as effectively.

As the press tour of HBO’s The Last of Us kicked into full gear within the weeks main as much as its premiere, one of many sticking factors for gamers was that the present would change a part of how its cordyceps an infection would work. In the sport, particular areas saturated within the fungus would produce airborne spores that will pressure the characters to must placed on fuel masks whereas traversing by way of that area.

The present doesn’t have this mechanic for a couple of causes in accordance with its creators–spores are usually not fully scientifically correct and fuel masks would have coated actors’ faces throughout key moments. So as a substitute, showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann opted for the fungal an infection to be unfold by tendrils; the mycelium filaments that join fungi spooling out of an contaminated’s mouth, stretching to seek out its subsequent host.

Not solely do I personally discover this to be a visually a lot creepier design for the an infection over the spores, however this mechanic permits for one of many coolest new ideas that the present has launched, and it’s one which I’m now upset shouldn’t be part of the online game.

In Episode 2, as Tess and Joel escort Ellie by way of the damaging wastelands outdoors the Boston quarantine zone, Tess informs the kid of a horrifying component to the an infection: The mycelium shouldn’t be solely spreading all through the our bodies of these it infects however, like actual fungi, is spreading by way of the bottom, creating an interconnected community that stretches for miles on finish. That implies that should you step on one thing related to the community in a single place, say a freshly deceased contaminated corpse and even only a mushroom cap that’s sprouting, it may well alert anything related to the community miles away. This is demonstrated within the ultimate moments of the episode, when the group kills an contaminated and a horde they’d averted a lot earlier is immediately activated and conscious of their location.

This is a monumental change to the an infection that makes it infinitely extra horrifying and lethal than the model we get within the sport. Forget rooms stuffed with spores which are usually secure in case you have a fuel masks; one improper step within the TV present may imply each contaminated for miles is aware of about your whereabouts, and also you wouldn’t even know till they had been on prime of you.

The gameplay of The Last of Us is fairly generic: move through the world solving environmental puzzles as you go to progress and when combat encounters present themselves, either use stealth to avoid them, craft items to distract or attack, or run into the situation guns blazing. The Last of Us executes these gameplay mechanics on a high technical level, placing them in an incredibly well-realized sandbox, but there’s very little to the experience that hasn’t been done before in other, zombie-ridden post-apocalyptic games.

Including an element where you have to watch your steps as you go, not just to avoid making sounds but to steer clear of alerting a widespread mycelium hivemind, would heighten The Last of Us’ gameplay considerably. Forcing players to manage their resources and decide between utilizing them for stealth/combat or for clearing the environment of fungal booby traps add a dynamic wrinkle that would make the game’s mechanical flow feel a lot more unique.

It’ll be interesting to see how Druckmann and the Naughty Dog team move forward with developing The Last of Us games, particularly as Druckmann has been clear in interviews that there are things they’re doing in the show that he regrets not thinking about for the games. To me, introducing this gameplay element should be at the top of the list.

And I don’t think it would be too hard to accomplish, at least narratively! As the show has made clear, a change in environmental factors allowed cordyceps to evolve and infect humanity on a catastrophic level. The twenty years since the initial outbreak has also rapidly changed the world, so it would make sense that the fungus would further evolve with those changes. With the pool of infectable humans quickly depleting, cordyceps developing a new way to make it easier to locate victims would align with those shifting factors.

There’s additionally a sport already on Naughty Dog’s docket that will be an ideal candidate to implement this modification. The Last of Us standalone multiplayer sport, which the developer has confirmed we’ll study extra about this yr, might be a superb proving floor for this mechanic. Not solely would gamers want to fret about their very own actions, however the actions of their teammates in addition to opposing gamers. We don’t know what this multiplayer sport appears to be like like on the time of writing, but when it’s something like the primary sport’s packed-in on-line Factions mode, this gameplay component can be an ideal match that will dynamically change the tide of a web-based match.

As I discussed earlier than, the general beats of the present have hewed intently to what we’ve seen within the video games, however a lot has already been developed upon and expanded. If the sequence retains up at this price, it’s important to think about it will have an effect on the event of future gaming installments, particularly for the reason that present has clearly incentivized so many new individuals to take a look at the unique title. It’s mechanics just like the mycelium hivemind community that make me really feel that though I can’t play the TV present, I want I may.

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