The Last of Us 2: Sequel Should Follow New Characters

1 min

It is a foregone conclusion that developer Naughty Dog will soon create The Last of Us 2, a sequel to the highly acclaimed video game Last of Us. At this point, The Last of Us 2 is probably the worst kept secret in video gaming. The Last of Us is a very special game that features both excellent gameplay and a five-star, cinematic storyline. Audiences fell in love and formed a strong bond with the main characters, Ellie and Joel. The Last of Us tells an emotional, heart-wrenching story that takes place in a cruel, unforgiving post-apocalyptic world. So, the question is: where does The Last of Us 2 pick things up? Will it continue the story of Ellie and Joel? Honestly, I hope that The Last of Us is the last story in the franchise that features the two protagonists.

The end of the game plays like a conclusive and final end for the story of Joel and Ellie. In fact, The Last of Us writer and creative director, Neil Druckmann, essentially wrote an epilogue for the characters. There was a live show called The Last of Us: One Night Live. Polygon reports that actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson reprised their characters from the game for a live piece of performance art. The sequence was an epilogue that picked up after the end of the game.

According to Druckmann, this sequence was done as a way for the staff to say goodbye to the characters. It was a fitting conclusion and end for the Joel and Ellie characters. The developers had spent several years working on the game and characters, and Druckmann designed a scene to give Ellie and Joel a sendoff. So, if Druckmann and much of the same team at Naughty Dog are working on a new game, why would they want to renege on their goodbye to the characters? Not to mention the fact that the game left the characters in a place where the actions of Joel were ambiguous; but at least Ellie and Joel were alive. The world has still gone to hell, but players took some solace in the knowledge that their favorite characters made it through.

The Last of Us 2 should conceivably introduce new characters. A sequel could very well explore other parts of The Last of Us world, and it could showcase how the plague affected other countries in the world and other survivors. The story does not really have to be limited to Ellie and Joel, especially since the ending for Ellie and Joel for The Last of Us came off as remarkably final. Ultimately, the decision will come down to the creative team at Naughty Dog.

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  1. Completely disagree. Zombie/post-apocalyptic games are quite literally a dime-a-dozen. Hundreds of games have toyed with the 'end of humanity' concept, as it provides quite literally a blank canvas upon which game developers can illustrate a wide-variety of stories. As a 'blank canvas', while post-apocalyptic worlds can provide the backdrop for a multitude of characters (both human and non-human), in terms of their uniqueness, in of and by themselves, there is very little that sets the world of, for example, Metrodux apart from the world of The Last of Us. What made The Last of Us such an engrossing game was its two lead characters. If Naughty Dog can be CERTAIN that they will be able to recapture Joel and Ellie's uniqueness with new characters, then I suppose that is up to them. But in adopting this strategy, they run the very real risk of their newer characters failing to live up to the standards set by their predecessors. Simply moving the geographical setting from the US to Europe, as you suggest, would not be sufficient. I've seen others suggest the sequel acting as a sort of prequel to the events of the first game (following the events of Marlene or another member of the Fireflies). Again, this is a risky strategy, as it reduces the 2nd full game to a story-filling capacity and elevates the first game as a point of comparison. While this is somewhat unavoidable, carrying with the characters of Joel and Ellie means the 2nd game will at least not have its STORY compared to the first game, as they will be unique yet at the same time interdependent narratives. It will also avoid the pitfalls of accusations of copying – couldn't you just see fans complaining that Naughty Dog had simply repeated aspects of the first game but with new characters?

    Overall, the story of The Last of Us is so intimately tied to the fate of Joel and Ellie that to me they ARE the game (the zombie apocalypse being an important, but nonetheless generic element). And with regards your point that the developers provided a final ending, I have to disagree again. There are still unanswered question simmering beneath the surface between Joel and Ellie, and you would suppose that the Fireflies, while depleted, are still aware of Ellie's existence and willing to plough resources into tracking her down. Might they do a deal with the government to add power and force to their pursuit? It's plausible that Joel's younger brother Tommy could have a significant part to play should the story pick up with the two, or even just one of the, main characters. I can also see potential value in having the big reveal of Joel's lie about the Fireflies driving a schism between himself and Ellie, and the story incorporating this into the construction of a broken and angry Ellie. Whichever way you look at it, as long as the 2 characters are still alive, there is vast potential for Naughty Dog in constructing the 2nd game's story around them. Indeed, Joel and Ellie have almost become iconic (notice how all merchandise seems to feature both of them, when compared to say, Resident Evil, which can pick and choose between a host of generic leads and tends to lead with the horror of the virus). To make out it will be as easy to do away with them as you make out here is naive to the extreme.

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