The Last of Us Part II update adds Grounded difficulty, Permadeath mode, and more

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The Last of Us Part II update adds Grounded difficulty, Permadeath mode, and more

Available later this week.

Hello everyone! We hope you’ve been well, staying safe, and enjoying The Last of Us Part II. We’ve loved seeing all of you share your experience playing the game, whether it’s by posting your thoughts and impressions on social media, sending us your fan art, or capturing your favorite moments in masterfully choreographed gameplay videos. However, that’s not all that’s been keeping us busy. We’ve been preparing a new update* for The Last of Us Part II, which introduces new features, gameplay modes, Trophies, and more — including the much-requested return of Grounded difficulty. Best of all, it arrives August 13, so let’s get straight into what the Grounded update includes.

Grounded difficulty returns, plus new Permadeath mode

For veteran The Last of Us fans, Grounded difficulty represents the ultimate test of skill. This difficulty raises the stakes by not only making enemies deadlier and ammo, upgrade, and crafting materials incredibly scarce, but also removing invaluable tools for survival, such as disabling Listen mode, deactivating elements of the HUD, and more**. Beginning with the update, Grounded will become one of the base difficulty options available when starting the story, so you won’t need to have beaten the game once already to access it. 

As an additional layer of challenge, we’re also introducing a brand new Permadeath mode***. With this custom mode enabled, there are no second chances — you must complete the entire game without dying or start over from the beginning. However, if taking on the whole game is too daunting, you can choose to enable Permadeath mode with checkpoints on a per-chapter or per-act basis. In other words, if you die at the end of Day One, you’ll have to play the entire day over again.

You’ll also be rewarded for your efforts. The Grounded update introduces two new Trophies: one for completing the game with any Permadeath mode enabled and another for beating it on Grounded difficulty. Don’t worry, though, neither of these Trophies will be required in order to earn the Platinum. 

New graphics, audio, and gameplay modifiers

Have you ever wondered what The Last of Us Part II would look like as a cel-shaded adventure or if it was made in the retro 8-bit era? How about if it was a black and white noir thriller or sepia-toned classic? With this week’s update, we’re adding nearly 30 new graphics rendering modes, as well as several new audio modifiers that allow you to change the look and feel of the game.

The Last Of Us Part II The Last of Us Part II The Last of Us Part II

We’re also debuting new unlockable gameplay modifiers, like One Shot or Touch of Death that enable one-hit kills or Infinite Ammo, Infinite Crafting, or Infinite Listen Mode Range to add a new twist to gameplay:

  • Mirror World
  • Mirror on Death
  • Slow Motion
  • Bullet Speed mode
  • Infinite Ammo
  • Infinite Crafting
  • Infinite Melee Durability
  • Infinite Listen mode Range
  • One Shot
  • Touch of Death
  • 8-bit Audio
  • 4-bit Audio
  • Helium Audio
  • Xenon Audio

All of these modifiers can be accessed via the Extras menu and unlocked after completing the game.

New options and improvements

Alongside these new modes, we’re excited to introduce a number of frequently requested improvements to the game, including the option to disable Listen Mode, adjust Film Grain levels, additional display options, improvements to accessibility features, and more. For our friends in the speedrunning community, we’re also adding the ability to see playtime up to the second in the saves menu, making it easier to track and verify your runs. Here’s a quick overview of the new features that will be added with the Grounded update:

  • Saves now display playtime up to the second
  • Film Grain Adjustment option
  • Disable Listen Mode option
  • Motion Sensor Function Aiming option
  • Arc Throw HUD Display option
  • Aiming Acceleration Scale option
  • Aiming Ramp Power Scale option
  • Accessibility improvements to Ground Zero encounter, collectible tracking, Enhanced Listen Mode for collectibles, and rope gameplay

We hope you enjoy everything coming to The Last of Us Part II with the Grounded update and we can’t wait for all of your awesome gameplay videos and live streams as you take on Grounded difficulty and Permadeath mode. Be sure to keep sharing them with us by following and tagging Naughty Dog on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

*Available via patch 1.05. Internet connection and an account for PlayStation Network required.
**In-game pre-order bonuses and some options and gameplay modifiers are disabled during Grounded difficulty gameplay.
***Some options and gameplay modifiers are disabled during Permadeath mode.

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  • Thank you Naughty Dog! ❤️

    • With motion aiming the game tends to become near perfect. If they add graphical enhancements on PS5 with Native 4K 60 FPS better graphics and RT + plus haptics and trigger resistance for weapons like bows and shotguns and then MP this will be 100% perfect.

    • Omfg yes Gyroscopic Aiming! I wish more games added this feature, I can aim better than I can with a mouse and all from the comfort of my couch. Thanks Naughty Dogg

    • I was so disappointed at the lack of gyro aiming lol. There’s a massive number of people complaining about this not only here but in forums around the internet so… i feel like Naughty Dog generally listens. Hopefully they do here lol it was just a slog aiming without it.
      Gotten so used to it these days over on PC

    • +1 happy for addition of motion control aiming.

  • What about multiplayer?

    • We can only assume they’re still working on it. They decided to make it a standalone game so I imagine it’s a larger undertaking than what’s included in this update.

    • Yes multiplayer as well as alternate story ending would also be really nice!!

  • Awesome to see! If I’m playing through the game with gameplay modifiers like Infinite Ammo, will that affect my trophy progress?

    • I want an option to delete all my trophies, I’m sick of them all🤮

    • Most likely yes, however they are unlocked after your first play through, so maybe it wont effect it, although last time I checked crafting and the listen mode both have to do with two achievements. So honestly just don’t expect it.

  • Naughty Dogs graphics modes are my absolute favorite ****! Cant wait to check out that cel-shaded mode, you guys rock!

  • Thank you, Naughty Dog team! Can’t wait to tackle these new challenges. No doubt those two trophies will be the rarest in the game!

    • I doubt grounded will be 2nd rarest. Other trophies require going out of your way to look for stuff, or going online to look up locations and having to follow a guide and blehhhh. Grounded you just play and beat.

    • What? ND games collectibles are never out of the way compared to other games. Most of this games collectibles do actually stare you in the face, apart from the two unique ones.

    • They might not be super hard to find but some of them are definitely easy to miss.
      Also “any permadeath mode” means you can get it with checkpoints at the beginning of each chapter and doesn’t sound that hard, especially if it can be played on easier difficulties (which would kinda defeat the purpose of this mode though)

  • I’d prefer a whole new alternative story any day. But that’s never going to happen is it.

    Besides I’ve sold my copy. I have no incentive of playing this game ever again. Not a patch on the first game.

    • “Waaaaaah a character I liked suffered the consequences of his selfish actions, lemme whine about it!”

    • I’d love a prequel game showing Joel after his daughter died. His road to darkness would be an awesome game. Could dive into him killing innocent people as he suggested to Elie when they were ambushed by the fake wounded guy on the road, and show all the effed up things he did that traumatized Tommy, Tommy leaving for the Fireflies, and show why Bill owed Joel and how Joel came to be with Tess.

      Plus some people struggle with the fact that Joel really deserved what he got in LoU2 because they just think about how Joel treated Elie. A solid story to really round out Joel will give them some more Joel like they want, while also helping them understand all the implications in the first game and what true piece of trash he was. Wll help people come to grips with the karma of LoU2.

    • I don’t see him moaning about Joel, funnily enough.
      But storywise, this is MUCH weaker than the original games, he’s not wrong.
      Abby could have been better utilised and Ellie should have had her revenge, rather than us having to see her suffer defeat TWICE and then she loses her wife and kid?
      Kick in the nuts to fans really.

    • all I hear form this kids reply…. REEEEE SWEET ANITA REEEEE.

    • Oh well, they got your money. I guess its better than being one of the morons that ruined the game for themselves at the end of April by looking up the spoilers and then whining about the “crappy story” since. At least you played it the way you were meant to…………………… right lol?

  • Amazing <3

    For the inevitable ps5 version please please please add gyro aiming! You can set the controller so you can hold it upside down in LoU2 but cant enable gyro lol

  • Nice update, just need change of clothing options and this game will be near enough perfect for me.

    • Yes I would love to be able to use Ellies last of us 1. But dont do the same as uncharted 1, 2 and 3 where you could play as Chooe and still hear Nolan Norths voice do it like Uncharted 4.

  • Great! “Motion Sensor Function Aiming option” much appreciated as well as “Slow Motion”, cant wait for Digital Foundry to show us 60 fps footage of Tlou 2 :D

  • @CaptPierce

    Its just not what happened to one character. It was the actual writing and choices the characters were making.

    This game needed Branching options for the player to decide. You know, simular in what The Witcher 3 had, plus misleading advertising, its wrong 🙄

    • showing the actual scenes would have spoiled the game. those scenes were altered.

    • Branching storylines for the seocnd part would have been an awesome edition, they could have even done an Until Dawn and done their own take of the “butterfly effect”.

    • MCU films have scenes shot in them that never make it to the final cut. Getting pissy because you didn’t get the story you thought of in your head is not legitimate criticism.

    • Films do that to sell more DvD’s since they include a ‘deleted scenes’ section on the most part.
      ALL films do that.
      Games very rarely don’t, and rarer still do we get ‘director’s cuts’ – although Deadly Premonitions was pretty good – they didn’t delete scenes in this game, they modified them in trailers not to give the storyline away, a big difference.

      And Storylines are ALWAYS open to criticism as they are a form of art. All art is up for interpretation and expectation. That’s what the job of reviewers of films and novels is, is to critique/applaud/criticize the story. If you can’t criticize when you feel ot could have been done better, what’s the point?

    • @ CaptPierce – Lol what a nonsense comparison y’all fools in love with TLoU 2 really don’t understand why the game is a disgrace but can’t blame y’all…only true TLoU fans understand.


    • The MP is supposed to be ambitious. They have probably been working on it since shortly after launch of the game. This patch was a much smaller work load and of course was completed sooner.

    • Prolly gonna be a free-to-play PS5 standalone thing, thats my guess

    • They’ve said before that the MP had become too big during development and would be it’s own seperate release with it’s own trophies.
      It’s why Part II was SP only.

    • No way it’s free. $40 on PS4/PS5, August 2021. My guess.

    • Definitely not free, it was supposed to be part of the main game afterall (or so they said).

  • Speed run will be a lot more interesting with those graphic modes and modifiers. Nice 👍

    • A cel-shaded one sound pretty trippy actually. Considering the speed most cel-shaded games operate at compared to combat/story driven games like TLoU.

  • Awesome work Naughty Dog! You guys really outdid yourselves on this one!

  • Great, but I hate how these updates always get seperate trophies that put your platinum process lower than 100%… I get they offer extra incentive but can you at least put those trophies into a seperate section or not make them count in the overall process?

  • This is nice and all…but where is the multi-player? Although I didn’t Ike the campaign as much as the 1st one, the mechanics are amazing!!! Such improvements to combat and interactions, should definitely already have a multi-player to make this game solid. Otherwise, I’ve already completed the story…a story I refuse to repeat because of new difficulty modes or shades.

  • Pretty cool update, I really do love the graphic options. Thanks naughty dog.

  • Where are the skins???!!! That added a lot to replayability. I thought it was an artistic decision because how serious is the story but if you are gonna give me the Helium audio or the 8 bit mode there is no excuse. Give me skins!!! Loved the game!! I already played like three times. I will play in grounded but i want the skins for it!!!

  • saw a preview of the filter and love the “tell tale” look. Also the helium audio, hilarious. Now where’s online multiplayer 🙏

  • As someone who has played through the game twice to get the platinum, I don’t think I can bring myself to play the game again… but credit where credit is due, this is a FANTASTIC update and yet again raises the bar for what a post-launch QoL patch can be. Great job ND! TLoU Part II is probably my favorite game of all time. Really is a master class in so many parts of game design and storytelling.

    Looking forward to MP in the future!

  • Y’all Permadeath is gonna be amazeballs!!

  • Can we get story-interwoven permadeath…?

  • Cool update, lots of content… But can we get dead zone and response curve settings in the next update?? … I would like my sensitivity to feel similar to the other games I play especially if this game is going to get a multiplayer later on

  • I was extremely pleased with the courage to display different aspects of current day life, and the future as well! I’m looking forward to the grounded challenge, as well as all the new treats that will be available! Sincerely, Ron Klein

  • Looking forward to play it a third time (or more).

    Excited to try out the new modes. On a side note… I’ve always wondered how a ND game would look like in more anime art akin to Studio Ghibli films or Ghost in the shell (the original anime movie) style… Would that be even be possible in the engine the developers have created? I’d bet it would look

    Anyway, preparing for another go at this game over the weekend.

  • I really appreciate Naughty Dogs hard work and attention to detail. I love how your games make you think and feel. Your studio always seem to create something special and unique to gaming, thank you so much for your dedication and passion.


  • Permadeath, pass
    I avoid roguelites for this reason, not a fun mode AT ALL. Especially with how crap the second half of the game is.

  • How about some of the bug fixes? I have been experiencing some visual glitches on my survivor run…. the most notable one being that the straps around the melee weapons on the side of the backpack seem to dissapear much often. It can however be fixed by exiting to the menu screen but is brought back when restarting checkpoint…which is something i tend to do a lot on survivor difficulty. Nothing major but in a game where everything looks perfect its very off.

  • these are all great folks….. but bring on the multi-player mode!!!!! There’s so many solid maps in the story that would be bad ass

  • Very cool and awesome update loved the game. But I really want a story DLC for TLOU2 kinda like Left Behind I hope Naughty Dog does that at some point maybe one were you follow Tommy’s journey through Seattle.

    • I think Naughtydog should concentrate on a new IP now. Hopefully we don’t receive any misleading trailers in future of any of there upcoming games.

    • I hope they do an ME3 style new ending, Ellies ending was ****.

  • I normally sell my games on to Cex but I intentionally held off selling TLOU II as I knew some extra content would be arriving imminently. I love the idea of the two extra trophies for the new difficulty modes but, if you do add multiplayer down the line, please don’t add any multiplayer trophies.

  • @mustplaygames

    Terminator 2:Judgement Day pre-release trailers and TV spots were a prime example on misleading the public, but was all above board and legal. Them early trailers made everyone think Arnie was the Bad Guy, without alternating any footage or scenes.

    T2 Pre-Release trailers 👍

    TLOU2 Pre-Release trailers👎

  • I uninstalled this game after having beaten it twice because the gameplay modifiers weren’t in the game. TIME TO REINSTALL

  • Permadeath to the game itself when?…just let this crap die.

    Ha at least y’all are doing your job by adding the extras that were on UC4 already and adding grounded,guess y’all had to work a lil to add permadeath.

    It’s funny cuz even in the extras this excuse of a game sucks compared to TLoU 1…no extra clothes or backpacks to use,no tags lol.

  • Does anyone know what time the update is scheduled to be released

  • Craig Mazin the Creator Of Chernobyl mini series for HBO has stated there adding a new Jaw dropping scene that was deleted from the first game for the HBO TV series 😁

    As for Part 2. I hope HBO change the story altogether and make it there own.

  • Hey, just curious, if I play through on Grounded+ will I still get the new grounded difficulty trophy? Or does it need to be normal grounded

    Thanks :)

    • There’s no such thing as Grounded+ per sè, but I’d imagine you can start it on an chapter select, the only way to know is to find out if it’s blocked when it goes live.

  • I love this game and the update is incredible! Thank you naughty dog! And it would probably never happen but I’d love a co-op story on this game just so some of my friends could get a chance to experience this master piece.

    • I mean, they could just play or themselves?
      Couch co-op isn’t really a thing in gaming anymore, unless it’s a sport title.

  • This sounds amazing can not wait to try permadeath, i loved the first one then this one came out and it was just perfect. Love the story and everything. Keep up the good work, love every game from Naughty Dog…

  • @Solacecreed

    The article is on Eurogamer. Craig Mazin the Creator of Chernobyl is going to add a Jaw dropping scene that was deleted in the first game for the HBO series. It was in fact Neil Druckmanns idea.

  • First off, I like watching my movies from start to finish. Just like listening to my music albums.

    Kept reading about the grounded mode, so of course I go out and purchase the game ready to play it, thinking I could just buy the grounded (hardcore) mode like I did on the first game. 😩😩😩 But I have to play through it first 🤦🏾‍♂️. Then play again in grounded. Disappointment lol

  • Lol! Trying to make a game less rubbish; too late for that. Neil Druckmann you have burnt ya bridges with me, I will never ever buy or play a game that you made, your a narcissist prick that thinks he’s Jesus. Each to their own, if others want to play this over rated piece of junk then go right ahead cause I can’t stop ya.

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  • Going off subject a little, it would be a pretty cool feature if Ellie could pick up a phone in the game and an actual phone number could be dialled. The receiver of the call (In the real world) could hear some dialogue like ‘Hello, can you hear me?…….. Hello!….” or even like some secret game message that can only be heard over the phone and not through the game.

  • guys pls help!
    I finished TLOU2 grounded + all chapters except “Prologue” at the very beginning. am I able to get “grounded mode” trophy without going through whole game again?

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