What is Factions?
Factions is an online game mode introduced by Naughty Dog with the release of The Last of Us in 2013. There are 3 different game modes in which teams of 4 players face against one another, posing as either a Hunter or Firefly, including Supply Raid, Survivors and Interrogation. Each game mode features various objectives. Supply Raid is your standard Team Deathmatch in which each team has 20 lives. Survivors is more like a first to 4 “Search and Destroy” type game mode players may be familiar with from titles such as Call of Duty. Interrogation is more of a unique mode in which players must interrogate downed enemies, and once enough enemies are interrogated, the map reveals a safe of supplies the opposing team must protect.
Factions is also accompanied with a meta game in which players provide supplies obtained from matches towards their camp. The more successful the player’s score is from matches, the more supplies provided. This increases the size of the player’s camp which in return unlocks customisables and loadout points. Naughty Dog also provides a list of challenges for players to choose between matches which increase or decreases camp population based on how successful they were with said challenge. Though the meta game becomes dull fairly soon, the gameplay itself is excellent and is indicated in its loyal fan base who play competitively to this day. Unfortunately due to upcoming projects at the time, mainly Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog was unable to provide consistent updates to their very addictive title. After some research, I decided to compile some suggestions for The Last of Us Part II: Factions.
The first and probably the more popular idea would be to include game modes featuring the Infected. The Cordyceps Brain Infection has doomed society in The Last of Us, setting the scene for some memorably tense moments that are featured throughout the story. Remember the first time you heard a damn Clicker? How about the chapter with the awful hotel basement scene that haunts me to this day? Transferring over the Infected into Factions would be brilliant, and could be implemented in various ways, the least being a classic zombies mode we see in titles such as Call of Duty. It’s a mode we capture a glimpse of in the chapter Ellie fights off a pack of the Infected with David (oh how I wish he died right there).
Another possibility that excites me would be to have the Infected released into the map at certain points during a game of Survivors. Picture two teams creeping around a dark map while the Infected lurk around corners. Imagine witnessing a Clicker rip an enemy you’ve spotted apart! How about the satisfaction of luring a bloater into an enemy spawn via bricks and bottles? There are many possibilities the talented team at Naughty Dog could explore.
2. Maps & Dynamic Weather
Currently there are 17 maps in Factions that players may remember from the story mode (Bill’s Town being my favourite). Among the fair variety of maps, some of them feature subtle changes in weather, particularly noticeable in Lakeside where at certain points the map becomes foggy and quite windy, affecting sight but also hearing. A factor that could make matches more interesting is more aggressive changes in the environment of maps that could affect combat between two teams. This could cause some frustrations, as competitive play being affected due to factors other than a certain skill level could understandably irritate players.
But important themes in The Last of Us revolve around nature and survival. Sometimes fear isn’t just based around Hunters or the Infected but more so food, supplies or even shelter from tough living circumstances. I like the idea of preferring to creep indoors due to heavy rain affecting aim sights, as opposed attempting to spot enemies outdoors. Other than “see enemy, kill enemy”, the consideration of environmental factors could bring a different edge to the already tense gameplay.
I’d also love to see how the virus has affected other parts of the world, assuming it’s reached a majority of other countries. Major cities around the world such as Paris, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo and London with a post-apocalyptic twist would be interesting to explore.
3. Melee & Combat
There are a fair variety of weapons currently in Factions, ranging from standard pistols to crossbows and surprisingly, flamethrowers! Unfortunately as is with all competitive shooters, some balancing issue are noticeable, particularly with the (damn) shotguns. An area of Factions that could be explored (taking inspiration from the story mode) is scarcity of firearms and ammo. Factions features some melee items, including a 2×4 and a machete that could be modded, but doesn’t really delve into how creative survivors could be with scarce supplies. When it comes down to fisticuffs, players can only throw punches. So no blocking, chocking out or trying to use someone hurt as a hostage, the latter points being a mechanic that already exists in the story mode.
A game mode with more emphasis on melee and a new approach to combat could enhance the feeling of how brutal this world has become. Some loading screens between games do show a lead pipe as a usable item, which is an item that is absent from Factions. This suggests that maybe some ideas were scrapped before release. So here’s to hoping that melee combat is an area of the game that will be further explored for the upcoming title.
Here’s where Factions lacks the most. Don’t get me wrong, some items such as the clown mask and samurai helmet are awesome! But there isn’t much about our characters that we can customise, considering the only items we can alter are hats, masks and armour. Also, an irritating side of Factions is the fact that players spawn with a random character every game. There also doesn’t seem to be any exclusive items for choosing to play as a Hunter or Firefly (apart from appearing in-game with their colours). As cliché as it sounds, you don’t necessarily feel connected to who you’re playing with or as. This is an area of Factions that fans feel as though there could be great improvements. If Uncharted 4’s online customisables are any indication, it appears that there will be solid upgrades in this section of Factions.
5. Custom Matches
Sometimes you just want to just kick back and have a post-apocalyptic playground to goof around in with friends. No, just me?
Factions has a private match mode that provides Supply Raid, Survivors and Interrogation as options but nothing more. The idea of having a highly customisable private/custom match could be pretty fun, but may also encourage more competitive play among clans. Certain weapons being available, time/life limits for each team and maybe, just maybe a low gravity mode (I know i’m pushing it) could be a great addition to Factions.
Well, these were some of my favourite suggestions for The Last of Us Part II: Factions. Are there any areas you’d like to see improved? Do you have any creative ideas for game modes? Be sure to share your ideas and drop a comment below!