If there’s one thing we can learn from the Twitter account Can You Pet the Dog? and its 400,000-plus followers, it’s that people really want to pet dogs in video games.
And that’s why it’s weird that GameStop seems to be so excited about dog violence in The Last of Us Part 2. I can’t say this is a part of the game I’m looking forward to. People on Twitter, where a grisly description of the feature was circulating, are upset, too. We’ve known for a while that dog violence is in the game — Naughty Dog co-game director Anthony Newman told Polygon last year that it’s a sort of “regrettable violence,” a hard decision for players to make. And honestly, fine. Naughty Dog has a vibe going.
But GameStop’s description feels like locked onto the word “dogs” and just went with it. People like dogs, right?? What about puzzles? This game’s got it all!
Here’s what GameStop chose to include in a product description for TLOU2 on its website:
Dogs - One of the most noticeable new features of the game is the inclusion of dogs. These dogs are in the game to follow your scent and will attack you as soon as they have sniffed you out. The game doesn’t pull any punches or “stray” from the idea that while you’re playing as Ellie in a struggle to survive, killing dogs is necessary. You’ll also have to deal with the fact though that each dog has an owner, which will call out the dog’s name and cry in absolute horror when they discover their lifeless furry best friend. You’ve been warned.
Puzzles - Within the game there are a litany of puzzles that need to be solved in order to continue forward while incurring minimal damage. These puzzles are in the form of booby traps that you, as Ellie, need to lay to kill your attackers in the most efficient way possible. Finding the best way to lure your attackers into narrow doorways and ignite them with Molotov cocktails is just one of the many puzzles you’ll need to solve to continue moving in the right direction.
Dedicated dodge button - The creators of the game wanted to gameplay to feel as real as possible. They designed a dedicated dodge button to help you stay stealthy and low to the ground, just like you would in a real-life scenario. You can also crouch and crawl as an effective way to stay unseen and unheard. These tactics will only take you so far though, as your attackers can also hunt you down via your scent. So, while ducking, diving, dodging and crawling will keep you alive longer, you ultimately need to kill your attackers quickly and quietly in order to survive.
this promotional email i just got about the last of us 2 was a choice.... pic.twitter.com/LhQS8nQutf— Villager Rights Activist (@deathcab4booty) May 7, 2020
Not only is GameStop making this a “feature” of the game, but it decided to make a pun, too: “‘stray’ from the idea” ... get it?
Naughty Dog communications director Arne Meyer clarified on Twitter that the developer didn’t “write or assist” in writing the product description for GameStop. Either way, Naughty Dog has previously said that you don’t have to kill dogs or other animals to progress in The Last of Us Part 2. Sony called it a “moral choice of whether they flee or take it out,” in a PlayStation Blog post.
“Narratively, they’re interesting because I think what’s kind of at the core of The Last of Us experience is this kind of regrettable violence,” co-game director Anthony Newman told Polygon last year. “Being forced into these regrettable situations with these attack dogs only heightens that feeling.”
The Last of Us Part Two is out on June 19 for PlayStation 4.
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