One of the most subtle yet interesting details in The Last of Us Part II‘s E3 2018 demo was how enemy NPCs referred to each other by name, and according to developer Naughty Dog, this wasn’t just a one-time smoke-and-mirrors deal to make the demo more impressive.
Part II‘s antagonistic cult are called the Seraphites, and in a recent Q&A, lead game designer Ricky Cambier broke down the unity that brought the cult together.
“We look at how different communities survive, what motivates them, what drives them,” Cambier said. “You see in our own world how religious groups unite over certain things, so you see this group is united over some religious themes. You can see by how they talk, how they dress, there’s some unity amongst that.”
One of the traits that makes the cult so threatening is the members’ ability to communicate to hunt down the player, syncing up and sharing information to spread awareness of the player’s presence. Cambier elaborated on this communication, which involves recognizing fellow members and calling each other by name.
“There are religious undertones to how they talk, but also in how they communicate using these whistles,” he said. “There are these subtleties in there of how they talk to each other and how they relay information to each other. Also, they’re people surviving. They know each other.”
“There’s some new tech here that we’re exploring where AI know each other’s names. They’re used in certain moments. You see in [the trailer], one of them is called Ethan. When they meet up, they recognize each other.”
This dynamic recognition was one of the demo’s many impressive feats that had fans questioning if it was truly in-game. The demo’s most unbelievable quality was the seamlessness of the character animations, but, as one professional animator broke down in a recent video, it is very possible that the game will play just like what we saw.
The Last of Us Part II still does not have a release date for its PS4-exclusive launch.
Source: VG 24/7