Blocktober: Level Design of a Flooded Level in The Last of Us Part II

Arnaldo Licea shared a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most complex levels in the game.

To celebrate this year's Blocktober, Level Designer at Naughty Dog Arnaldo Licea shared a behind-the-scenes look at how the team designed one of the parts of The Last of Us Part II – the flooded city part and the mall design in particular.

The designer needed to build a combat encounter that would serve as a showcase of swim combat and a playable motorized vehicle, elements that hadn't be used in the series before.

Licea wrote that the whole design process began with searching references via Google Maps. "I began where pretty much every level designer on the project begins: looking at Google Maps. We knew for certain that we wanted to start the level from the theater, which we knew which one we wanted to reference, and wanted to end in the aquarium, also inspired by a real-world location."

The designer also noted that they had to take frustration into account when working on the level – they wanted the scene to be clear and readable. "It was also really important to be consistent about the metrics," wrote Licea. "For example, all ledges you can climb from water are 0.25m above the surface and the platform wall always extends below the surface to indicate a potential climbing platform. Anything between 0.25m and 0.75m would be too ambiguous for climbing."

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