The Last of Us 2 almost let you remove violence against dogs

The Last of Us 2 is incredibly and unavoidably violent. But for every dozen Clickers, WLF soldiers, and Seraphites you maim, you’re probably going to stab or blow up a few dogs as well. That might not sit well with some as many have a soft spot for those furry, four-legged companions. Knowing this, Creative Director Neil Druckmann discussed that someone on the team suggested that they add an option to turn off violence against canines, but, much like the actual dogs in the game, it was shot down.

Druckmann revealed this in a recent interview with Game Informer. When prompted about the game’s overall violence and the discussion around it, he brought up how different people have different thresholds for what they consider violent. But, after debates within the team, they ultimately decided that their taste is what dictated what made it into the game.

The Last of Us 2 almost let you remove violence against dogs

However, The Last of Us 2 was universally lauded for its accessibility features that let players decide how they wanted to play the game. And since violence against dogs is generally upsetting to many people, someone had proposed that they let players disable that (along with gore in general) in the long list of accessibility options. Druckmann said he couldn’t do that and described how that would go against the game’s themes.

“It might be past their comfort level but it’s not like they can’t play through that,” he said. “And ultimately, the game can’t shy away from the violence these characters are committing. We kind of have to lean into that because that is what the story is about. We could easily add a gore feature where you turn it off and there’s no blood when you shoot people — no dismemberment — but at some point, you start losing what this thing is and start shying too much away from the feeling that we’re after, which is, sometimes, discomfort.”

That’s not the only dog-related feature that got cut as Druckmann also spoke later in the interview about how the team prototyped a dog for Ellie that would go under fences and fetch items. That mechanic didn’t go very far according to Druckmann and then they ended up giving the dog to Mel instead.