‘I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to finally be able to say that Ellie and Joel are back for another intense, harrowing, and emotional adventure.’ – creative director, Neil Druckmann
It’s been rumoured since the success of the first game, but The Last of Us 2 (known as Part II) has finally been announced during the Playstation Experience (PSX) keynote. While the necessity of a second game has been debated over the last few years, the trailer does provide an immense amount of curiosity to keep the naysayers at bay.
Ellie is much older than in the original game. She now looks to be in her late teens and possibly even in her early twenties, begging the question of how much time has actually passed between the two games. She is also seen playing guitar, a practise that Joel had promised to teach her once their quest to find the Fireflies was over. She seems to have taken to it as proficiently as she did when shooting a gun for the first time.
Our previous protagonist, Joel, also makes an appearance during the trailer but this is only brief. He walks through a house with several bodies strewn about the place before finding his way into the room where Ellie is playing guitar, asking what she is doing. The focus is very clearly on Ellie, which is one way of Naughty Dog emphasising that Ellie is the playable character this time around (other than Druckmann saying it himself).
The trailer leaves us with so many questions. Who is Ellie planning to kill? Does she know about Joel’s lie at the end of the first game? What has happened to them both during this time-skip? Druckmann has stated that as the game is in early stages of development, it will be a while until we’re able to see something closer to a finished project, but they were all too excited to wait any longer to give us a sneak preview.
A few things to take note from the trailer: nature appears to have completely taken over structures by this point, indicating that humanity still has not bounced back from the Cordyceps infection, but there are no infected in the trailer itself. The Fireflies are still around, as shown by their logo spray painted on a road sign. Perhaps this is who Ellie is referring to? Ellie has lost the childlike wonder that she once had, which is now replaced with a much more hardened and seasoned expression, like that of Joel’s. She has a tattoo on her right forearm, and just so happens to be playing guitar next to the window that appears in the menu screen of the first game. Where are they? What is the significance of this house? Only time will tell.
Druckmann, and both Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Troy Baker (Joel), took to Twitter to announce the exciting news within minutes of one another. Seems as though they were all extremely eager to let the world know of this game’s existence, and the world appears to be glad for it. I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll all be keeping our eyes peeled wide open waiting for updates on The Last of Us Part II and the ‘epic journey’ that the game will take us on in the coming months.
EDIT: An interesting theory that I have seen on Reddit is that Ellie’s declaration is targeted at the Fireflies, who have since tracked down her and Joel after the events of the first game and killed Joel in response to his cold blooded murder of Marlene. Joel, as he appears in Part II will be an image that is haunting Ellie, urging her to turn back because this path will get her killed. As the first game was about a father coming to terms with the loss of a daughter, the second game will focus on a daughter losing her father. Interesting food for thought, no?