Everything We’ve Learned About The Last of Us

Crafting and Upgrades

  • A big part of The Last of Us is scavenging through various environments for different materials, most of which are useful for crafting new weapons and items.
  • You’ll find recipes through the course of the game that will give you different crafting abilities. In the preview we saw, Joel had the ability to craft stealth-kill shivs, upgraded melee weapons, health kits and molotov cocktails.
  • What you craft from your materials will be a matter of strategic thinking. For example, blades and duct tape can be used to make shivs or melee weapons, but you’ll often find that your materials are limited, so you’ll have to choose one or the other. Choosing between the items represents a strategic choice between stealth capabilities and louder combat.
  • You’ll discover new crafting capabilities through a variety of means. Minkoff mentioned finding recipes in notes and books, as well as discovering new weapons or items which Joel can reverse-engineer to create on his own.
  • You’ll also find components that can be fashioned into weapons upgrades. For example, after finding a rifle, you may find the components to build a scope, which you could then attach to the weapon.
  • Additional upgrades also will be available for a number of other pieces of your gear — for example, you might find cloth that can be used to add holsters to your gear so that you can carry more weapons. Other recipes you discover may create more efficient craftables, like molotovs with a greater damage radius or health kits that restore more life.
  • According to Minkoff, there are several menus that we haven’t seen, including one concerning the upgrade system.


  • We know only a little about how players will interact with Ellie, except that she will be fully AI-controlled throughout the game and that how she interacts with Joel throughout the journey will change over time.
  • The primary directive for Naughty Dog in creating Ellie was to keep her from being a burden to players. To that end, she should often be able to take care of herself.
  • Minkoff explained that Ellie will be a benefit to players both in combat and out of it. She’ll carry her own weapon and be able to fight off infected, but she’ll also aid Joel in a number of ways that have not been revealed yet.
  • Through the course of the game, Joel will be able to teach Ellie a number of skills that will compliment his own in battle. She’ll become indispensable through the course of the game, Minkoff said. Expect her at least to be able to help Joel when he’s in trouble, as well as hand him ammo in emergencies and more.
  • Ellie also will be able to help outside of combat, as well. Expect her to find salvage materials that Joel might miss, for example.
  • Naughty Dog’s aim is for players’ relationship with Ellie to parallel Joel’s arc through the course of the game. By putting you through lots of situations with Ellie in which she helps out, the hope is that you’ll create an emotional bond with her.

Obviously, there’s still a lot about The Last of Us that we don’t know and that Naughty Dog hasn’t yet revealed. The focus of the storytelling is on Joel and Ellie and their relationship as they travel across the country, and there’s a heavy emphasis on survival horror and stealth tropes, from what we’ve seen. Much more beyond that is still up in the air.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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1 Comment on Everything We’ve Learned About The Last of Us


On February 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

Dude, awesome article. The game sounds heavily scripted. But.. even if it’s full with fungus spores.. feels like fresh air.