The Last Of Us, Enemy Feedback Through Ludic Sound Design


This post will look into the creation of monster sounds in the video game The Last Of Us, and how these sounds can provide ludic feedback, enabling players to adapt their tactics, dependant on the specific sounds they hear.  The Last Of Us has enemies ranging from human factions to infected monsters, each with a distinctive sound; the sound specifics is what enables ludic feedback to the player.  Ludic audio is the term used when game audio can provide information to the player. Furthermore, this information should aid towards a players mastery of the game (Stevens and Raybould, 2016).  The enemies that are of interest in this post are the various monster types.  

Stage 1 - Runners - 06:46

Runners have recently been infected making them sound more human than the other types of infected.  They also have a sense of morality and will not always attack.  They have poor eyesight due to the fungus attacking their head.

Players can tell when a runner is near as it sounds like they are arguing with themselves, fighting or resisting the infection. 

Example 2 - 01:18

Stage 2 - Stalkers - 00:54

Stalkers are a cross between a runner and a clicker.  This gives the enemy a unique sound, slightly human with a unique click. They are a dangerous enemy as they can be as fast as human characters, while also having some sonar abilities.  This sound keeps players on edge and alert.      

Stage 3 - Clickers - 00:04

Clickers are unique in that they use sonar to locate enemies.  Most times interacting with clickers can be avoided if the player uses stealth tactics, and remains still as the clicker screeches.  Moving while the clicker screeches is a sure way to be spotted as they will notice you via their sonar abilities. 

Example 2 - Clicker Audio Effect

Making Of The Clicker Sound - 07:35

The clicker sound is actually made by voice actors, details in the video link below.

Stage 4 - Bloaters 

Bloaters are huge, and very difficult to eliminate.  The sound that the bloaters make reflects their size, in that it’s much lower in pitch.  When players hear this sound they may decide to avoid going in that direction altogether due to the enemy difficulty level.  


The sound effects are eerie and well layered.  The monster sounds, in particular, let players know which type of enemies to expect.  This use of sound design provides ludic feedback, allowing players to adjust their tactics without the need of visual cues, which can clutter the screen.   



Dansg08. (2013). The Last Of Us - The Movie (Marathon Edition). [online video] 18/06/2013. Available at <> [Accessed 06/02/2017].

Forbes / Carol Pinchefsky (2013) A Hands-On Demo Of 'The Last Of Us'  [online] Available at <> [Accessed 05/02/2017].

Hakoom. (2013). The Last Of Us Clicker Sound. [online video] 2013. Available at <> [Accessed 09/062013].

Soundworks Collection (2013) The Sound And Music of The Last of Us [online] Available at <> [Accessed 05/02/2017].

SoundWorks Collection (2016). SoundWorks Collection - The Sound and Music of The Last of Us. [online video] 14/06/2016. Available at <> [Accessed 05/02/2017].

Stevens, S.R., and Raybould, D.R. (2016) Game Audio Implementation A Practical Guide Using The Unreal Engine . Book edn. UK: Focal Press.

The Last Of Us Wiki (2014) The Infected [online] Available at <> [Accessed 06/02/2017].