The Last of Us 2 is a technical marvel, but would you believe that the hardest part was making the damn doors? You will after reading this Twitter thread.
Kurt Margenau, who was co-director on The Last of Us 2, opened up with an extensive explanation of why the everyday architectural detail was actual hell for nearly every department of Naughty Dog. Margenau comes equipped with specifics and anecdotes from The Last of Us 2's development, though many of these issues and their solutions could apply to games of all kinds.
Don’t know what everyone’s up in arms about. We added doors in combat to TLOU2, took like a day. Just gotta have good talent I gues... LOL JK IT WAS THE THING THAT TOOK THE LONGEST TO GET RIGHT WHAT WERE WE THINKING 1/100 https://t.co/oUmdRFmiGJMarch 9, 2021
In real life, a door is a big hinged rectangle with some handles. In The Last of Us 2, a door is an object of misery that can be opened, closed, or locked, they can block your path sometimes but not all the time, they can exist in a liminal space where you still need to interact with things on the other side of the door. You've probably had some frustrating experiences with hinky video games doors in the past, but since Naughty Dog is Naughty Dog, it pledged to take all that potential frustration upon itself and grapple with the Door Menace until only one of them was left standing.
Skip to 6:45 in this video from principal animator Maksym Zhuravlov for a quick look at just some of the many ways Ellie can open and move through closed doors - or not open them, if they're locked.
On top of that, did you ever notice doors usually stay open in The Last of Us 2, but they slowly swing shut when you're fighting? That's so they can function as both visual reminders of where you've already explored and as automatic cover from enemies in combat. Did you ever notice all of the doors in the game are double-hinged? That's so they always open away from you without breaking your stride.
"There pretty much wasn’t a department not affected by adding doors in combat. Buddies, melee systems, everything," Margenau added. "Fuck doors."
This thread followed just after Naughty Dog opened up on all kinds of detailed The Last of Us 2's effects and optimizations.