After the recent leaks of the details of the multiplayer component of The Last of Us, everyone has been looking for more concrete information. Eurogamer's Jeffrey Matulef got in touch with the game's Multiplayer Designer Erin Daly to explain the game's multiplayer component in depth.
The multiplayer in The Last of Us will be much more stealth-oriented than we're used to from multiplayer games. "The competitive multiplayer space is very dominated by these kind of run-and-gun very action-oriented games, and we were really trying to achieve a kind of slower paced, more tactical feel to the game," Daly explained.
The main source of the tension in multiplayer matches is the emphasis on stealth and scavenging for resources. Instead of making a dash to get to the rocket launcher or frag grenades, the developers want players to gather ingredients for makeshift weapons like molotov cocktails, smoke bombs and shivs. All of this is done through the same menu system that is present in the single player campaign where you can craft objects on the fly without any annoying menu navigation.
The game has a very unique multiplayer component
Again, emphasis is placed on the game's survival aspect because of limited supplies. Going in guns-blazing is probably not the best idea in the game's multiplayer. Instead, players are encouraged to sneak around and find enemies without telegraphing their own positions. Much of this comes down to tactics.
The game has a "listen mode", which is akin to the detective mode from the Batman: Arkham games. It allows you to see through walls, and the developers handwave this by stating that it is done through echolocation. There's also a tagging system where you can mark an enemy for the rest of your team to see.
The game has its own progression system where as you level up, you'll get access to new customisation options and survival skills. One such survival skill allows you to mark enemies from behind walls, while others let you know if you've been marked. A high level skill can stop anyone from marking you.
Another part of The Last of Us' multiplayer component is a clan-based metagame where you have to manage some characters over the course of 12 weeks. Players begin with a clan of five people chosen from one of two clans—the Hunters and the Fireflies. As you succeed in the multiplayer, your clan grows. However, with this comes new responsibilities; more people in the clan means more food and shelter is required, and more illnesses have to be treated.
Increasing some specific ability of any clan member means you have to pick a mission where you can use the right skills. For example, if you want to teach a clan member some medical abilities, you can play a mission where you have to get a certain number of revives.
Makeshift weapons are a huge focus in matches
In the main multiplayer game, pulling off any action, such as getting a kill, a revive or even marking an enemy, rewards you with "parts". These parts can be used to buy new weapons, upgrades and armour during each round. Unspent parts are converted into resources at the end of each round, which in turn can be used to manage your clan.
After 12 weeks, if your clan is in good standing, you will get customisation unlocks like new hats, badges and gestures. Rewards for the metagame are only cosmetic upgrades.
Like any other multiplayer game, The Last of Us will have a loadout system with four preset loadouts to start with. These presets won't be customisable, however, but you can make your own customisable loadout once you level up enough to get a particular weapon that you may have wanted.
The Last of Us will feature only two multiplayer game modes—Supply Raid and Survivor. Supply Raid lets you respawn, but in Survivor, death is more lasting. However, you can be revived before you die, much like in Gears of War.
According to Daly, having only two multiplayer game modes was "a conscious choice."
"We really focused on depth over breadth. The thinking was really to provide a lot of different layers of tactical choice into the game, as opposed to providing a huge variety of different game modes," he says. "We'd rather have a great game experience with only a couple different modes than an average experience across a wider variety of modes."