Despite the final product having no ostensive semblance with Bloodborne, Naughty Dog claims that The Last of Us Part II was inspired by the FromSoftware game.
As revealed in the Grounded II: Making The Last of Us Part II documentary, Anthony Newman, co-game director of TLOU2, explained how Bloodborne was the muse of the developing title.
For the first four or five months, the game was kind of an open world inspired by Bloodborne. And it was purely melee focused, like it was all hand-to-hand combat.
Lead Game Designer Emilia Schatz added that while the idea of melee combat would have been Bloodborne’s strong influence on the developing sequel title, there’s also the “layout structure,” too.
Bloodborne had sort of an open space that kept getting bigger and bigger as you explored. I really like that feeling that you get of mastery over the world. It starts to become kind of almost a character in the game itself. And so that was also something we were looking at.
The intent was clearly to deviate from the original to produce a fresh experience among the fan base. However, the development of the game would instead eventually shift to something close. That is a game with a clear emphasis on the narrative, linear, and with diversity in weaponry.
“We started out making it as different as humanly possible from the first game as we could, and then kind of dialing it back. The open-world thing didn’t work with the story we were trying to tell,” according to Newman.