The Last of Us Remastered launches next week in North America. We’ll be revealing some upcoming DLC and streaming a basic introduction to the multiplayer mode, Factions, live later this week over on our Twitch channel. We plan to show off the new features for PS4 as well as give our primer for those not familiar with the mode on Thursday, July 24th at 11:30 AM Pacific and 5:30 PM Pacific.
If you can’t watch the Twitch stream, we asked Erin Daly, Lead Multiplayer Designer, and Quentin Cobb, Game Designer, a couple of questions about Factions multiplayer mode in the game. If you’re new to the world of Factions, this is a great primer. If you’re a hardened survivor with a clan that never diminishes, read on to hear about some exciting developments we were able to make in The Last of Us Remastered.
Q: Why is the multiplayer mode called Factions?
Quentin Cobb: We wanted the online multiplayer to focus on the larger story of the player representing a faction (Fireflies or Hunters) and rebuilding their own clan in that faction. This grounds the online matches in a world where each player is fighting for the survival of their clan and therefore gives each match more weight and importance.
Erin Daly: The name Factions came from what we call the “metagame.” Instead of just earning XP and ranking up like most multiplayer games, when you start multiplayer you are put in charge of a small group of survivors trying to stay alive and grow their numbers. To make progress you must ally yourself with one of the major factions from the single player game — the Hunters, a rag-tag group of brutal killers, or the Fireflies, a more well-equipped resistance group that is still trying to find a cure for the infection.
As you progress, events will occur that put your survivors at risk and require you to complete missions during your multiplayer matches to keep them alive. You must survive for 12 weeks with either the Hunters or Fireflies to beat the metagame.
Q: What was the inspiration for Factions multiplayer?
Quentin Cobb: The inspiration really came from the combat encounters of the single-player campaign. We wanted to mirror the slow pace and high lethality of those encounters while keeping a very similar crafting and scavenging system. We did this by making every weapon very lethal, placing crafting items inside of item caches located in strategic parts of the map, having the player appear on the radar while sprinting, and keeping ammo very scarce.
This would lead to the players sneaking around the map, trying to get to item caches and picking the moment to attack very carefully and making their shots count. We also added a down state which would allow players to revive teammates. All of these factors put an emphasis on stealth and teamwork which many shooters don’t achieve. This created a very unique experience which we feel makes our multiplayer special.
Erin Daly: As Quentin mentioned the inspiration really came from trying to capture the slower pace, stealth, lethality, and consequence of combat in single player, something that is really challenging to do in a live multiplayer environment. In most multiplayer shooters these days players sprint around at high speeds and spray bullets at anything that moves. To capture the feeling of combat in single player we had to slow the game down a lot, while still keeping the controls and player movement feeling responsive.
By making the game fairly lethal, but giving players a higher level of awareness of their enemies, we were able to create some very tactical combat, especially when combined with the variety of craftable items like molotovs, nail bombs, and smoke bombs. In general, players playing overly aggressively will usually find themselves at a disadvantage in The Last of Us. In the end it’s a game where your tactical decision-making matters more than your aiming reflexes.
We also needed to add some of our own unique elements to multiplayer that didn’t exist in single player. For this we built a new loadout system with a variety of survival skills, added some new guns, and added an in-game store where players can use parts they earn in combat to purchase additional ammo, weapon upgrades, and armor. Combined with the crafting system it offers a lot of on-the-fly tactical choices. Another big addition was the revive system — when players take enough damage they go into a down state and can crawl around slowly while bleeding out. With only four players on each team it means every life matters and sticking with your team and keeping them alive is a very big part of the game. It also adds a lot of consequence to death, something we also wanted to capture from single player. Taking out one enemy is a big deal, as is losing one of your own team.
We’ve read a lot of feedback from players that they feel the MP game captured the feel of single player very well, which is something we’re really happy with.
Erin Daly: We have around 9,000 concurrent players at peak and the community has been very active. The community gives us a lot of feedback on our forums that we use to help balance and tweak Factions.
Q: Any cool or funny community stories from people playing Factions?
Quentin Cobb: I would say the “Batman Shiv” is a cool story. People like to drop down from above an enemy and quickly turn around and shiv an enemy. This has become a very stylish way to shiv someone and I wish we could have gotten in some kind of stat to track when a player successfully pulls off a “Batman Shiv” to award them extra points!
Q: What are the new features for Factions in The Last of Us Remastered?
Erin Daly: Well, first off we are running the game at 1080p and targeting 60 fps. The power of PS4 and some of our talented engineers were able to significantly improve the load times.
Quentin Cobb: On the gameplay side we made some important tweaks. The DLC map Trophies now require five downs or executions and deaths don’t matter. We added eighteen new tips for new players.
If you’re a new player you’ll start with 9 loadout points instead of 8. You’ll reach the max of 13 loadout points sooner as a result. All fifteen of our maps are in each playlist so the player pool will be consolidated. This means faster matchmaking and that you will have a greater variety of maps in each playlist! There’s a lot of great new stuff.
Q: What’s your absolute favorite new feature in Factions in the Remastered edition?
Quentin Cobb: Playing with the higher fps is by far my favorite feature. This improves gameplay dramatically and makes shooting much more precise. I find that gameplay in general is much more responsive and accurate.
Erin Daly: Yeah, agreed. Playing Factions running with higher fps is awesome. Everything feels much tighter and more precise, especially when it comes to gunplay. Players are really going to like it.
Q: What are you looking forward to most in the Remastered version?
Quentin Cobb: I’m looking forward to playing Interrogation (my favorite game type) on all the new maps and recording and streaming my matches!
Erin Daly: Yeah, I’m excited to see what our community records and shares. We’ve seen some amazing content and look forward to watching what else get put out there.
Q: I love getting Trophies. Will I be able to collect any new Trophies in the Remastered edition for Factions?
Quentin Cobb: Remastered will include all DLC Trophies along with the original game Trophies. No new Trophies were added but 8 of them were changed to be easier to earn.
Q: Will my The Last of Us Season Pass DLC content carry over?
Erin Daly: Yes, any weapons, survival skills, head items you have purchased on PS3 will carry over. You just need to go into your download list on PS4 and re-download them.
Q: Will we be seeing anymore DLC for Factions?
Erin Daly: Remember those head items some of our more eagle eye forums members caught a glimpse of? We made it work and those will be coming out.
Quentin Cobb: Well… yes, we’re also currently hard at work finishing up some cool new DLC for Factions. We’ll talk about it more after The Last of Us Remastered launches on July 29th.