The Last of Us Part II director Neil Druckmann claims Naughty Dog considered making the violence against dogs optional in the game. In addition, the studio almost gave Ellie a dog companion too. At one stage, they planned on implementing a setting where players could turn off the violence against dogs.
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In an interview with GameInformer, director Neil Druckmann said they went against this original setting as it would go against what the story is about. I don’t see how killing dogs ties into the story in any way. However, Neil decided that it would be better if players could just “play through” their discomfort.
The Last of Us Part II includes a lot of dogs. They catch a scent of you and chase you down forcing you to kill them in any means possible. Be it driving a sledgehammer into its skull or stabbing it multiple times in the head. The deaths are gruesome. I am sure a dog treat would have turned them onto your side… kidding.
Another feature that did not make the game was an inclusion of a dog companion for Ellie. The dog would reportedly have the ability to bring Ellie items that she could not reach herself. However, Naughty Dog decided to give the dog to an NPC instead to make the game even more violent.
I personally hate dogs as companions in video games. They are clumsy, you always need to pet them and most of the time they die in a dramatically-predictable plot twist. However, given The Last of Us Part II includes an array of robust accessibility options, surely Naughty Dog could have just put in an option to turn off the dogs. I mean, they are not real but those kills would make any animal lover uncomfortable. In a world with mad zombies and angry people, at least let the animals live in peace, right?