In a recent interview with GamesRadar, several Naughty Dog staff members shed light on how they created the Rat King. Needless to say that if you’ve not finished The Last Of Us Part 2, there are going to be some significant spoilers ahead. You have been warned, don’t say I didn’t point it out to you right at the start. Just for good measure…
Okay, now that’s out of the way. The Rat King is a mid-game boss in The Last Of Us Part 2. You fight it as Abby in the Ground Zero of the pandemic. It’s where a bunch of Infected all sat down against one another and seemingly fused into one giant beast. Unfortunately, Naughty Dog has not gone into details about whether this enemy is present at the Ground Zero of every city. Instead, they’ve left it open to interpretation. I reckon every city has something different because of the varying conditions from area to area.
This monster of an enemy was actually motion captured with two actors. One in a giant cage, and one strapped to the other as the Super Stalker on their leg. The enemy was always in the developer’s minds. They realised in the original game that fusing two Infected would be great but had no idea how to make it work in terms of gameplay. In The Last Of Us Part 2, they gave it a purpose in the gameplay, a mid-boss, and the story.
When you meet the Rat King, you’re playing as Abby. She’s on a mission, looking for medical supplies to save one of the Scars you encounter earlier. It’s against her character, and this boss fight is supposed to signify her massive change in attitude, completing altering who she fundamentally is to become the savior of her enemy. It’s powerful stuff, and when you’re done with it, everything feels like it’s come out on the other side okay. Abby is going to get through this.
I love the Rat King because it represents a fundamental part of the game’s Infection, it can become anything. I also love it because of what it represents for Abby though. It shows her facing off against the attitude of hatred towards an entire people because of a few’s actions. In many ways, we could all learn from it. I just hope we don’t all have to fight a Rat King.