The Last of Us Part II has a couple new trophies that indicate the impending arrival of both Grounded mode and a permadeath option, both of which should make the game exponentially harder.
Grounded mode first appeared in 2013’s The Last of Us as a heightened difficulty level made available post-release. Although Naughty Dog hasn’t explained what Grounded mode will look like in the sequel, it’s probably safe to expect a few of the same challenges from the first game, like sparse supplies, the lack of a HUD and listen mode, and increased enemy damage, to make a return.
That might sound hard enough, but if the new trophies are correct, The Last of Us Part II will also receive a permadeath option at some point. Again, we don’t have any information on what permadeath will entail, but if it’s like other games, taking one too many potshots from a sniper or letting a Clicker get too close will mean the end of your game. Combine that with Grounded (if they’re in fact separate things) and you’re going to have a tough time guiding Ellie and Abby through Seattle.
The Last of Us Part II is already a pretty tough game—well, for me at least—but I’m sure there’s more than a few people out there who are just salivating over using these options for their next playthrough. All I’m saying is: where’s my extra easy mode where Ellie, Dina, Abby, and Lev get to live happy lives?
Update: August 11, 2020, 11:25 am: In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Naughty Dog systems designer Matthew Gallant explained that the sequel’s Grounded mode “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.”
The new permadeath mode can be applied to the whole game or just in a “per-chapter or per-act” basis.
Both modes will be added to the game via a patch on August 13, which will also bring new gameplay modifiers as well as graphical and audio filters to the game.