Naughty Dog Almost Removed Infected From The Last Of Us

The Last of Us' infected play a critical role in the narrative, particularly to instill a sense of discomfort in its post-apocalyptic world. However, their presence in the gameplay experience was put in question several times during the game's lengthy development.

Game director Neil Druckmann said to International Business Times:

We had concepts of things like plants that would trap you and they were fully implemented, then a few weeks would go by and we'd say no, cut it, it's too much.

A lot of work was either removed or heavily edited, as explained by Druckmann:

We had entire cutscenes that were animated and finished, but people would come up to me and say this would be better if it was playable, and we'd end up throwing away all this work and recapturing it all. We toyed, in fact, with even cutting the infected out completely, because they were taking us into things we wanted to avoid.

Game testing is the difference between a GOTY contender like The Last of Us and games that gamers forget about. Naughty Dog has been known to focus test its games front-to-back in order to weed out anything deemed unnecessary. As exhausting as it is, it pays off.

The Last of Us' survival and horror themes are what makes it arguably the most hyped game of 2013. We've seen Naughty Dog ace its attempts at action-adventure, but this is a new challenge for the studio. To think that the infected, something that has substnatiated The Last of Us from Naughty Dog's action-adventure heritage, were almost removed is shocking. Thankfully they weren't, because this is a great opportunity for one of the best studios in gaming to show survival-horror developers what they need to do to get the genre back on-track.