The recently revealed pre-alpha footage of The Last of Us Part II reveals an original design for Shamblers, one of the game’s most terrifying zombies. Though basically the same and equally terrifying, the original design had an additional, bizarre trait – an exploding backside. You can see this unusual and somewhat funny design trait in the pre-alpha footage below:
As reported by CBR, Matthew Gallant, a developer who worked on The Last of Us Part II at Naughty Dog, shared a gif that confirms that the heavy stage-four infected zombies initially featured explosive butts. The pre-alpha footage depicts Ellie, the game’s central character, dispatching several Shambler zombies, which release clouds of toxic gas from the bulbous sacks attached to their bottoms. Whether it’s an actual poisonous gas or Cordyceps fungi spores, it’s quite evident that players would also have to deal with pretty nasty cases of zombies passing gas.
Those familiar with The Last of Us Part II gameplay will undoubtedly recognize the Shamblers’ final design behind those exploding glutei maximi. Unfortunately, Matthew Gallant did not provide any elaboration as to why the initial design was changed, but it’s entirely possible that the creative team behind the game realized the design’s comedic nature, which detracted from the zombie’s fear factor. Admittedly, seeing this version of Shamblers in-game would be hilarious. Fortunately for the fans of the game, the final version is much more frightening.
For the uninitiated, the Shamblers were introduced as the new enemy in The Last of Us Part II. They’re one of the game’s most formidable enemies, which require large amounts of damage to kill and are capable of sending players to their most recent checkpoints in just a few hits. These horrifying, walking pustule-clusters spray gaseous acid when they get near the player and take massive damage before dying. Besides being hard to kill, Shamblers make the gameplay also hard by spraying gaseous acid from various pustules on their body, making player’s navigation more dangerous.
For those who still haven’t picked up the controller and played The Last of Us Part II because of Shamblers, or any other terrifying enemies, they’re missing a worthwhile gaming experience. The Last of Us Part II received universal acclaim from critics upon its release in 2020. Despite its polarizing narrative, the game was praised for its improved gameplay, graphics, cast performances, audio, and music. Many called it a masterpiece worthy of its predecessor, The Last of Us from 2013, which is receiving a PlayStation 5 remake sometime in 2022.
Truthfully, both The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II have exceeded any expectation Naughty Dog might’ve had prior to their release. This undeniably warrants a sequel to the franchise’s narrative, which already has a written outline. Unfortunately, Naughty Dog confirmed that Part III isn’t in any developmental stage right now and that it’s even unclear whether the studio plans to make another game in The Last of Us series.