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Naughty Dog declares 'Last of Us Part II' will be their 'most ambitious game'

May 27 (UPI) -- Developer Naughty Dog declared that The Last of Us Part II will be the studio's "largest, most ambitious game," during a live stream Wednesday.

The presentation, part of PlayStation's State of Play series, detailed the setting, gameplay and story of the follow-up to 2013's The Last of Us.

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Creative director and vice president of Naughty Dog, Neil Druckmann, said the story takes place several years after the original game in which protagonists Ellie and Joel have settled in a thriving community of pandemic survivors in Jackson, Wyo.

Despite temporarily finding peace, Ellie, now 19 years old, sets out in search of retribution and justice, following a traumatic event as detailed in a recently released cinematic trailer.

The journey will take Ellie throughout parts of the Pacific Northwest not previously featured in the series, including a former quarantine zone in Seattle that Druckmann said features some of the developer's largest and most detailed environments.

"Our goal was to make these environments not only beautiful but feel as grounded and authentic to the cities they're based on as possible," he said.

In order to traverse these environments, The Last of Us II features new mechanics such as using ropes to scale vertical terrain or swing over obstacles, horseback riding to travel great distances and boats to manuever flooded streets.

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Throughout her journey, Ellie will encounter the Washington Liberation Front and the Seraphites -- a pair of warring factions in the area -- as well as infected humans mutated by the pandemic that affected the world known as "The Infected."

The Washington Liberation Front patrol the area with guard dogs capable of detecting Ellie's scent, while the Seraphites are religious zealots identified by their self-inflicted scars that use stealth and silent weapons such as bows and arrows.

The various forms of Infected from the original game return in the sequel, including the recently infected Runners -- which have become more numerous and aggressive -- the blind Clickers and the stealthy Stalkers. The game will also feature new varieties such as large, armored enemies covered in pustules, known as Chandlers, and other "terrifying and lethal" new enemies Druckmann said will be revealed while playing the game.

Ellie can utilize stealth to avoid these enemies, or wait as multiple groups are pitted against each other, as well as running away by breaking glass or traveling in tight spaces.

When combat cannot be avoided, Ellie can use weapons that can be modified and upgraded by scavanging parts from the environment, take advantage of her superior agility to quickly dodge and counter, stunning enemies with well-placed shots or thrown items or use them as a shield.

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Various companions will also accompany Ellie at different points of her journey to help her traverse parts of the map and assist in combat.

The Last of Us Part II is set to be released for the PlayStation 4 on June 19.

A limited-edition PlayStation 4 Pro console themed around The Last of Us Part II will be released alongside the game. The console and accompanying controller feature series star Ellie's signature fern tattoo.

PlayStation's last State of Play presentation focused on the exploration and combat of upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive title Ghost of Tsushima.

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