As was pre-empted by the trophies, it was confirmed by Naughty Dog that The Last of Us Part II will be getting a huge update on August 13 that will add Grounded Difficulty, Permadeath Mode, and a host of new features and modes.
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Naughty Dog confirms the update, describing Grounded Difficulty as the ultimate test by “making enemies deadlier and ammo, upgrade, and crafting materials incredibly scarce, but also removing invaluable tools for survival, such as disabling Listen mode, deactivating elements of the HUD, and more,” and you won’t need to finish the game to unlock the difficulty setting.
Permadeath mode will be a custom mode with no second chances, meaning you’ll start from the beginning if you die. You can choose to enable the mode with checkpoints on a per chapter or act basis, which will make things a little more bearable.
Both Grounded and Permadeath will give players additional trophies.
There will also be about 30 graphical along with several audio modifiers that will allow you to experience the game in a new light. Check out some of the samples below!
There will also be some gameplay modifiers, which you can access via the extras menu, such as the following:
Mirror on Death
Bullet Speed mode
Infinite Melee Durability
Infinite Listen mode Range
Touch of Death
On top of all that, a number of frequently requested improvements will also be included in the update, such as:
Saves now display playtime up to the second
Film Grain Adjustment option
Disable Listen Mode option
Motion Sensor Function Aiming option
Arc Throw HUD Display option
Aiming Acceleration Scale option
Aiming Ramp Power Scale option
Accessibility improvements to Ground Zero encounter, collectible tracking, Enhanced Listen Mode for collectibles, and rope gameplay
Will this update bring you back into the game? The Grounded update is scheduled for August 13 for The Last of Us Part II, exclusively for the PlayStation.
The Last of Us 2 received 2 new trophies, “Dig Two Graves” and “You Can’t Stop This”, teasing an update that will test your survival skills in the game.
PowerPyx, the unofficial go-to guide for everything trophy related, confirms that the next update will include Grounded difficulty and Permadeath mode to an already difficult experience.
The harder trophy among the 2 would certainly look to be completing the game on Grounded mode, which will probably be similar to the first game and will remove listen mode, the HUD, and harder enemies, among other modifiers.
Permadeath may sound intimidating, implying that you’ll have to repeat your progress upon dying, but based on the description on the trophy, you can earn it on any setting which will probably allow an easy difficulty playthrough. Maybe.
In any case, we’ll keep an eye out for official updates from Sony and Naughty Dog. In the mean time, trophy hunters should get ready for a real challenge.
After a long wait, The Last of Us Part II is finally out. To some, a masterpiece. To others, a follow up that does not do justice to the first. Whichever side of the fence you are on, one thing is for certain, you cannot deny that the latest offering is a technical triumph. From the sound design to the creative direction of the game, everything is carefully crafted by a team of talented individuals that have worked hard to bring you a supremely polished product.
One of these teams is a Philippine based studio that goes by the name of Secret 6. You may have heard of them as the studio behind the upcoming FPS game Project Xandata, but did you know that these guys (and gals) have worked on some very well known titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy? Now, another feather on their cap with The Last of Us Part II.
We got in touch with Almira San Juan, or AJ as she is called by her peers, to talk a bit about the experience of working on a project as prestigious as The Last of Us 2, is she #TeamAbby or #TeamEllie, and other questions that hopefully put her on the spot to maybe spill a few secrets…
Spoiler Warning – A part of the interview will touch on a certain section of the story that may spoil the game for those who haven’t played it yet.
OMG: Hi AJ! Thanks for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions with us. First of all, congratulations on finally launching The Last of Us Part II! I know it has been tough, but before we get to that, could you introduce yourself and let us know what projects you have worked on and are currently working on at the moment? *wink wink*
AJ: Hello, I’m AJ, a 3D Artist at Secret 6 and I’ll be speaking on behalf of our team. Secret 6 is a game dev studio located in Manila, San Francisco and Madrid. We’ve worked with some of the most recognized international game studios in producing high quality AAA assets. We also provide 2D art and game development services, and we are also currently producing our own FPS game, Project Xandata.
Our team has contributed to a lot of other productions prior to The Last of Us Part II, including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Just Cause 4, Rage and Sony’s VR game Blood and Truth. And no, we cannot disclose information on current work. Just as our studio name suggests, that’s a Secret.
OMG: It was worth a try. As the studio from the PH tasked to work on The Last of Us Part II, how did it feel that the team got tapped as a resource to work on such a prestigious project? Can you share some of the chatter and excitement within the team when you first heard of the news?
AJ: Our team felt very honored because we knew this was a highly anticipated game, not to mention the fact that we get to work with Naughty Dog again. We were excited to learn new pipelines, given that Naughty Dog will be pushing for new heights in terms of visual quality, and of course we were curious to play Part II.
OMG: It must have felt intimidating to say the least! Did you ever get to interact with any of the other Naughty Dog employees like Neil Druckmann, Anthony Newmann, Haley Gross, and others?
AJ: Since we focus mainly on art assets, our communications and connections are just with Erick and his team.
OMG: Speaking of Erick Pangilinan, who is the creative director of the project, how was it working with Erick? Did he visit regularly to check up on work and motivate the team? Was he a very hands on leader?
AJ: Erick normally visits once the game is finished and is accompanied by key Naughty Dog leads who worked with us during production. The purpose of these visits are to discuss certain production points with our team, and highlight key assets we contributed to. He also likes to meet the artists face-to-face and is known to individually commend an artist’s work. He also brings the team some game merchandise goodies, which everyone loves. Erick is very hands on and regularly communicates with us during the development of key assets, providing further insight on the artistic vision to be achieved. It’s very much his drive and attention to detail that continues to push the quality art bar that Naughty Dog games are renowned for.
OMG: Are you allowed to say which parts of the game you worked on and how long did you guys take to work on it? How tough and challenging was it, seeing as the game looks really, really good?
AJ: Our team worked mainly on the environment of the game: props, buildings, some of which you will be able to interact with in game. Our work on TLOU2 started around the end of 2016, so you can expect how much work we did in the span of nearly 4 years! It is challenging to match the benchmark Naughty Dog is expecting of us, but that’s what makes it more worth it. We get to do high quality work and learn a lot from their feedback, so it was definitely a good learning experience for the whole team.
OMG: Learning from one of the best in the industry is definitely good motivation! Working on the game is pretty tricky, since you might know details about the story beforehand. Did any of you know or have any background about the game while you were working on it? Like did you know how the story would flow or what would happen?
AJ: We were not that privy regarding the flow of the story or how chapter 2 will unfold. We don’t want spoilers ourselves until we see the whole game. We just made some guesses based on the assets we’re making, but as a whole, we want to wait till the game is released. Naughty Dog just instructs us if we were working on cinematic pieces or hero assets but generally and rightly so, the story is a very well guarded secret.
OMG: Can you share a particularly funny story that you and the rest of the team encountered during production, like maybe pushing a wrong asset into the game or something like that?
AJ: Well, we’re not really allowed to push a wrong asset into the game.
We have quite a number of funny moments though. For example, when certain artists’ assets keep on coming back for revisions and then finally gets approved, we tease the person “Naka-graduate ka na din sa wakas!”
Another one is that we have this statue prop for the theatre scene, looks a bit like an Oscar statuette but bigger. When we got the feedback from Tim Williams, one of the people who checks our work, his message reads “…and the Oscar goes to” when he sent the asset to the next person in charge.
We also had this incident when we were working on a big head prop again for the theatre scene and the theatre level then was running a little bit late. So Tim Williams said in his feedback, “I know the level is a little bit behind, but here’s your chance to get a head” in reference to the asset. It’s a small thing, but great to know that the Naughty Dog peeps have a nice sense of humor which helps brighten up our day.
And you should see the concept team when they come up with funny expressions or silly faces for the humans in the game!
OMG: Have you played the game already? What were your initial thoughts and impressions upon seeing the hard work that the team did for the game?
AJ: I’m already done playing the game! I’m actually planning another run on hard mode this time. Of course, I went asset hunting immediately during my playthrough, exploring every nook and cranny of the environment. It’s actually very exciting to see where our assets were placed, and I think that all of our efforts are worth it and I’m very grateful that we’ve been a part of this.
OMG: Speaking of asset hunting, were you allowed to place any easter eggs in the game? Like maybe a poster in the background with a Secret6 logo or something to that effect? Also, do you go around telling your friends “Hey look I was the one who did that!”?
AJ: Yes! We can’t say which ones specifically though, but it involved some caricatures of artists from our team, their pets, and a baby! And the feeling of having these immortalized in the game is priceless.
OMG: Since you’ve played the game, I have to ask… #TeamAbby or #TeamEllie? Also can you share with us your favorite scene or event in the game? The space shuttle flashback, maybe? Also, did you shed a tear or two while playing?
AJ: #TeamEllie! My favorite was the Museum chapter, a little bit of flashback when Ellie was a bit younger. Also I got to see Joel again. It was so sweet of him to bring Ellie somewhere she wished to go and she got to go there during her birthday, of all days! That scene reminded me of how of a father figure Joel is – He pushes her in the water to help her overcome her fear, he brings her to some special place during a special event in her life and he teaches her how to appreciate things during the space shuttle scene.
There are a lot of sad scenes in this game, shedding a tear does not even bring it justice. I also like that there’s an Abby campaign to the game. It puts the player to the shoes of the person on the other side of the story, helping them understand why she did what she had to do.
OMG: You’ve obviously worked on a lot of games in your career, some bigger than others. Is there any dream project you’d like to work on?
AJ: When I applied to Secret 6, during my interview, I told my boss that I’m very interested in Tomb Raider. Little did I know that Shadow of the Tomb Raider would be the first project I got to work on when I was hired, so yeah that was quite the pleasant surprise!
OMG: To any aspiring artists or even game dev hopefuls out there, what can you say to them to support their dreams of joining the industry?
AJ: Many of my teammates, including me, have played ND games throughout our college days and to us, getting to work on these titles seemed just like a dream. In that context, it’s satisfying for our dreams to become a reality and have our names appear in the credits.
The game dev industry in the Philippines is still growing and we are a tight knit community so if any aspiring artist wants to join, we can easily help each other. You can start building your portfolio at Art Station or look for inspiration there. You can also join Ten Thousand Hours on Facebook, as there are a lot of artists who post WIPs and final outputs of their works.
Most of what I’ve learned about being a 3D artist in game dev, I learned when I was already in the industry. I did a lot of self study. If anything, I wished that I had a proper mentor when I was still in college, which is why I decided to give back and be a part time faculty member at Benilde, because I want the future generation of artists to have a better shot at entering the industry. If you want to be a 3D artist and don’t know where to start, you can start your journey by being my student and hopefully, we can turn some dreams into reality.
For more information about Secret6 and the work they do, you can check out their website. Special mention to Jam Ancheta and Regina Supapo for making this happen.
The Last of Us Part II has launched to very extreme point of views. While some loved it, echoing majority of the media reviews that gave it perfect ratings, there is another group that completely loathes the game, arguing multiple points and calling out the game for having weak story, weak writing, and full of agenda.
It’s become so bad, that these people are targeting the cast and talent behind the game, sending over some hateful and shameful comments that is utterly sickening to see, and makes you wonder how human beings can do such things.
Trigger warning: some statements that you will see are hateful and uncalled for.
First, it was Laura Bailey, the voice behind Abby. The actress has been receiving a ton of messages on how they hate her so much because of what happened in the events of the game.
The director of the game Neil Druckmann is also on the receiving end of some very harsh statements, saying that while it’s ok to express thoughts about the game, there is absolutely no place for hateful and vile comments.
Naughty Dog has then officially issued a statement, condemning any form of harassment towards the team and cast of the game.
There’s no problem with not liking a game, or any form of entertainment for that matter, but it is deplorable to see how hateful some people can get over the most irrational of reasons. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and encouraged to have reasonable discussions but there is definitely no place in the world for such sickening behavior.
SightlessKombat, an accessibility consultant and content creator, shared on Twitter how he completed the game and even published a full review on a blog entitled ‘Can I Play That?’, outlining his experience with the accessibility options in the game, calling it “a testament to what can be achieved when accessibility is considered from the ground up and is extremely close to being flawless”.
What is particularly impressive is that SightlessKombat completed this feat without assistance from an individual with normal viewing capabilities, and has gone on to thank Naughty Dog for the efforts that they put into making the game as accessible as possible.
Whether or not you liked how The Last of Us 2 played out in terms of its story, you cannot deny the fact that Naughty Dog has gone through great lengths to make the game enjoyable and playable by almost everyone. We’re hoping that features such as this will be a standard in game development moving forward that will allow even our brothers and sisters with impairments or disabilities to enjoy games as much as we do.
With The Last of Us 2 done and dusted, some people might be wondering what’s next for the game. Certainly there is some sort of multiplayer that’s going to follow but in terms of DLC, it’s been clarified that Naughty Dog has no plans of doing that for the game.
During a recent spoilercast with Kinda Funny Gamescast (which you should obviously not watch if you have not played the game yet), Neil Druckmann himself has made it clear that currently, there are no plans to have DLC for The Last of Us 2, which you can catch at around the 1:51:40 mark of the video as an answer to a fan question.
“No, with Last of Us I think we had some season pass or something that said ahead of time we have some story DLC – no there’s no plans for that.”
Neil Druckmann, Vice President of Naughty Dog and Director of the game, had a few words to share about this incredible milestone:
We are so immensely grateful to the millions of fans around the world that have played The Last of Us Part II and shared their experiences with us over the last week. We set out to tell a new kind of story, one that deals with difficult themes and would challenge you in unexpected ways. Hearing how the experience has resonated with so many of you and witnessing the type of thoughtful discussions it has sparked has been so incredible. We’ve also been so inspired by your creativity — whether it’s your gorgeous Photo Mode shots, jaw-dropping gameplay GIFs, or the songs you’ve recorded using Ellie’s guitar.
The Last of Us Part II was made possible thanks to the efforts of the hundreds of talented and passionate developers here at Naughty Dog. We can imagine no greater honor than seeing that same passion mirrored by the people playing it. Thank you for helping us reach this amazing milestone.
In our review of the game, we called it a triumph and a game that must definitely be experienced whether you are a fan of the series or not.
The Last of Us Part II is out now exclusively for the PlayStation 4.
The leaks and the review bombs have done little (it seems) to stop the surge of players wanting to jump into the highly controversial sequel from Naughty Dog, at least in the UK.
Following the launch on June 19, The Last of Us 2 has become the fastest selling PS4 game in the UK, beating fellow Naughty Dog title Uncharted 4 by a mere 1%. As per a report from GamesIndustry, this number doesn’t consider digital sales yet, so it could have been so much bigger.
In comparison to the first game on the PS3, The Last of Us 2 has a 76% higher launch number, but it probably isn’t a very good comparison to make, considering the PS3 was fumbling throughout its life cycle unlike the PS4. Still, impressive numbers nonetheless.
As it stands, The Last of Us 2 holds the record of being the biggest boxed game launch in the UK since Animal Crossing: New Horizons, garnering sales of up to 40% more over its Nintendo Switch rival.
The Last of Us 2 has officially launched worldwide and messages have been pouring in, congratulating Naughty Dog on their hard work over the years. Some studios have taken it a step further, posting fantastic artwork that features a crossover of characters that is truly worth the look.
Sucker Punch, the studio behind upcoming Ghost of Tsushima, shared an artwork from one of their own artists, Edward Pun, congratulating Naughty Dog on the launch of the game.
The Ape Escape official Twitter account also shared a fantastic crossover artwork that features the lovable apes as infected with Ellie playing the guitar beside a bonfire. So cute!
Media Molucule, the studio behind Dreams Universe, shared a video created from the game that shows Ellie playing the guitar. Great work by Art Director Kareem Ettouney!
Bend Studio, creators of Days Gone, also shared in the celebration, with an artwork of Deek wanting to hitch a ride with Ellie. Can you imagine this team up?
Cory Barlog and Santa Monica Studios also shared an artwork from Luke Berliner featuring Kratos, Atreus, Joel, Ellie, and Dina, congratulating Naughty Dog on the achievement.
The Last of Us 2 is out and for some of you who have gone through parts of the game, you’ll know that Ellie does finally learn how to play the guitar. In fact, she’s quite good at it, and at some point in the game you’ll be able to strum a few chords and play a few tunes yourself.
Media website VG247 has uploaded a video on their Youtube Channel with some songs that they recreated using the guitar… mini-game (would you call it a mini-game?) in The Last of Us 2 and while some may not be 100% on point, it is quite a feat to actually do this proficiently!
Check out the video below:
They go on to recreate Californication, Black Hole Sun, Hallelujah, and much more. It’s great and it shows how well the touch pad on the DualShock is utilized by this portion of the game. What’s even more amazing is that he isn’t simply strumming out the chords, he also does intricate “plucks” along the way. If you’ve reached this guitar portion of the game, you’ll know how tough it is to do this.
One of the most well known streamers locally has also taken a stab at the guitar section of the game and she even sings a song too, making this a super collab that’s worthy of a listen.
In case you didn’t know, that’s streamer and overall awesome gamer Ashley Gosiengfiao, recreating a song from her band called Midnight Meetings. Yes, she knows how to play an actual guitar and can sing as well! In between her busy schedule, Ashley is always up for a gaming session or two and you can catch her as she streams regularly on Twitch!
A Youtuber by the name of Paolo Gregorio has also uploaded a couple of videos of his renditions, which are equally as impressive. Particularly in his video of “Harana”, a song made famous by Parokya ni Edgar, he has to switch tabs to cover the other chords of the song. Impressive! Give the man a subscribe, will ya?
Jules Danting also has his own rendition of “Ang Huling El Bimbo”, making it a collab with none other than… Ellie Buendia. Witty!
When everyone has had their practice with the guitar, well, we can all hope to be as good as Twitter User vgdunkey below, who only took a couple tries to get it right…
Have you messed around with the guitar section of the game as well? Let us know if you’ve tried recreating songs on it too!