The Last of Us 2 was nearly a Bloodborne inspired open-world

The Last of Us 2 was nearly a Bloodborne inspired open-world
Images via Naughty Dog

Written by 

Megan Cooke


3rd Feb 2024 21:07

A new documentary about the making of The Last of Us 2, titled Grounded II, revealed that the survival horror game was originally going to be an open-world game inspired by Bloodborne.

Naughty Dog stated that it was hoping to make the sequel as different to the original zombie survival game as possible.

The Last of Us 2 was almost an open world game

One of the most interesting elements of the documentary is the determination on behalf of Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann to keep The Last if Us 2 to make the game as different as possible.

According to the documentary, Neil was very ambitious about changing the game almost entirely.

This is likely what led to the initial idea of having an open world game with a focus on melee combat and exploration.

Co-game director, Anthony Newman, said: “In the first four or five months, the game was actually kind of an open world inspired by Bloodborne. It was purely melee-focused, all hand-to-hand combat.”

The documentary goes on to explain that it wasn’t only the combat mechanics which took inspiration from Bloodborne.

Emilia Schatz, lead game designer, added: “It wasn’t just the melee combat: we were also looking at layout structure.

“Bloodborne had a very open space that kept getting bigger and bigger as you explored.

“I really like that feeling that you get of mastery over the world. It starts to become almost a character in the game itself. And so that was also something we were looking at.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t end up working out, as Schatz explained that the open-word they had been working with didn’t fit with the overall story.

She said: “We started out making it as different as humanly possible from the first game as we could, and then kind of dialling it back. The open world thing didn’t work with the story we were trying to tell.”

The Last of Us story isn’t quite over yet

Another stand out moment from the documentary is when creative director Neil Druckmann confirmed that there would likely be a third instalment in the franchise.

The director explained that he is happy with how the second game concluded the overall story, but thinks that there is another chapter still there to tell.

He said: "The first game had such a clean concept of like, the unconditional love a parent feels for their child.

"The second one, once we landed on this idea of the pursuit of justice at any cost, justice for the ones you love, we felt like, 'there's a clean concept here and there's a throughline from the first game, about love.' If we never get to do it again, this is a fine ending point. Last bite of the apple, the story's done."

It seems as though strides have been made recently, with a concept finally being decided after years of indecision.

Druckmann added: “I've been just thinking about it, 'is there a concept there?' And for years now, I haven't been able to find that concept.

“But recently, that's changed, and I don't have a story, but I do have that concept that to me is as exciting as 1, as exciting as 2, is its own thing, and yet has this throughline for all three.

“So it does feel like there's probably one more chapter to this story."

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Nothing more about The Last of Us Part 3 is known at this stage, but it does seem as though it could be on the way at some point in the future.

Until then we will have to live with the knowledge that we almost got an open world The Last of Us game and hope that maybe this could come to fruition in the final instalment.

Megan Cooke
About the author
Megan Cooke
Megan is GGRecon's Evening & Weekend News Writer. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and is working towards finishing her masters in Journalism. When she isn’t writing about games she can be found reading romance novels or playing cosy games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, APICO, and Disney Dreamlight Valley.
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