I was a huge fan of The Last of Us. I love how Naughty Dog incorporated a beautifully constructed storyline that made you feel like you’re deep within the struggle and hardship of Joel and Ellie as they attempted to find a cure for the disease that devastated the planet and mutated civilisation into deadly, acid-vomiting, exploding, clicking zombies. I can’t praise the game enough for its masterful execution, and it is truly one of the greatest emotional AAA gaming experiences out there. If you haven’t played it yet, don’t worry, there are no spoilers here. But, play it. Just do it.
So with the surprise announcement of its release at PSX at the end of last year, accompanied by a simple but hard-hitting trailer, fans of the game are very eager to continue their journey. But will the game live up to the stratospheric expectations that are building? Will it be everything you imagine? Will there be more flannelette fashion? Here’s what we know so far.
While Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann hinted that a sequel would maybe involve new characters and not Joel and Ellie in a Reddit AMA two years ago ((https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1ykno8/hi_were_neil_druckmann_creative_director_and/), the trailer confirms that Joel and Ellie’s story will indeed continue. Naughty Dog acknowledge that one of the reasons the game became so popular is the connection the two had with each other and the chemistry of the friendship felt real, even making players physically sense that bond. The original voice actors (Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker) for the duo are also reprising their roles, which is excellent as it’s hard imagining anyone else doing the characters justice.
Hopefully they’ve finally come across a Weed-Wacker or something
The story seems like it takes up some years later following the events of the original game, as Ellie has grown into a young woman (nineteen years of age according to Druckmann). In the trailer she is playing a soft-sounding melody on a guitar with a corpse lying blood-soaked at her feet. She appears angry, vengeful, and has obviously become much more emotionally numb to the inhumanity that pervades the world. She’s adapted to her horrific environment and her personality will be very different to her younger self, and we’re all excited to see just how much. According to Druckmann the game will prominently feature the theme of hate and Ellie is the vehicle through which we will experience that theme.
I said maybeeeeeeeeeee
Ellie will be the primary playable character (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-12-03-ellie-is-the-lead-character-in-the-last-of-us-part-2), and there is information claiming Joel’s character will be unplayable (unlike the original game where you controlled both at different times during the story). There’s also speculation of Ellie not always being accompanied by Joel ((http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Last-Us-2-What-We-Know-So-Far-133437.html)) which adds a tasty dash of mystery as to why they wouldn’t be paired up as they were when we saw them last. Considering Naughty Dog’s track record of killing it in the storyline department we can only imagine how captivating it could be, even though out of the two creative directors, Neil Druckmann and Bruce Stanley, only Druckmann will continue with the sequel.
So when are we expected to see The Last of Us Part II on our shelves? Well, not for a long time. Naughty Dog stated at its announcement that it was in extremely early development at the time and the company’s main focus at that present moment was the DLC for Uncharted 4. Once that’s finished and ready to roll (no solid release date has yet been given) we can assume they will be shovelling much more time and energy into this anticipated bit of entertainment. But brilliance takes time, so we shouldn’t expect to see it until at least December 2018.
Naughty Dog make incredible games and if there’s one game that can both generate and deliver on huge amounts of hype, it’s No Man’s Sky this one. We’ll keep you posted with any tidbits that come our way as we wait patiently for this bad boy to drop.