The Last of Us 2 has been out for a few weeks now, but thanks to the writing, and that ending, it's going to stay with players for much longer than that. During a recent interview, co-writer Halley Gross shared a story about how the Naughty Dog hive mind came together to make the characters we know and love.
Gross describes herself and Neil Druckmann as the "gut check" for a lot of character development, but the quality and depth of the cast is ultimately a product of the entire studio's hard work and focus. "There's stuff in [the game] that was not in the outline – was not in the character development – that I think we couldn't have lived without," says Gross, who notes that this extends to even the smallest of details, such as the way certain characters wear their hair or distinctive scarring they may carry that suggests something of their lives getting swept up in the tsunami of hatred.
That was especially true of the character of Lev, Abby's brave companion in the later parts of the game.
"If you look at Lev with his little shaved head, he's got cut marks all along his head because he was trying to do it himself. And, you know, he was nervous and messed up a bunch and tells so much story, just in those little wounds on his head when we first meet him, you know, and that wasn't that was something that came from them. That was so beautiful and rich and detailed."
For more behind the scenes details on how the team came together to tell new stories about complicated characters, check out this interview.