The Last of Us 2 debuted new gameplay this week, with Naughty Dog and Sony holding a special media event for press to get extended hands-on time with the sequel to the studio's 2013 dystopian masterpiece.
A clear theme has surfaced across the slate of reactions to the latest footage, however, and it relates to a brand new gameplay feature for The Last of Us 2: enemy guard dogs can sniff out Ellie's scent and hunt her down.
Those who got to play the game, including GamesRadar's Rachel Weber, describe the harrowing experience of having to kill these mutts in hand-to-hand combat purely to survive, but Naughty Dog has now confirmed that Ellie can avoid the... uh, naughty dogs altogether.
A PlayStation Blog post detailing the new Last of Us 2 demo action states that "getting jumped by a dog is not only nerve-racking and dangerous, it presents players with the moral choice of whether they flee or take it out [and] Naughty Dog confirms that you don’t have to kill these animals to progress."
The game's co-writer Halley Gross, in an interview with GamesRadar+, also elaborated on how this new enemy type plays into The Last of Us 2's ruminations on violence, justice, and morality: "How much is my love for Tommy going to make me willing to engage with these dogs? Is there a way for me to avoid it? Do I have to make this hard call?"
It turns out that all dogs don't have to go to heaven, after all. In related news, Naughty Dog has also offered some clarity on the decision to remove its Factions multiplayer mode from The Last of Us 2, which is apparently now being spun off into its own separate experience.
For more, check out everything revealed in Last of Us 2's Outbreak Day info drop, or watch below for our hands-on gameplay preview of the sequel.