What I Want From The Last Of Us 2

PLEASE NOTE: THIS WAS WRITTEN BEFORE CONFIRMATION OF THE SEQUEL AT PSX 2016.

Warning: the following article contains spoilers for The Last of Us and its DLC, Left Behind.

Please note that this article is purely speculative and based solely on information available to the public and/or theories that I have come up with.

Rumours about a sequel to The Last of Us – as is their nature – have been swirling almost since it was first released. Until we knew that Naughty Dog would be embarking on the fourth (and probably their last) instalment in the Uncharted franchise, it wasn’t a crazy theory that their next game would be the sequel. Even though we now know that it isn’t, a sequel still seems more than likely. The first in the series achieved a formidable 95 on Metacritic, numerous game of the year awards and over 8 million copies sold – in other words it was an incredible success. As Naughty Dog’s community strategist Arne Meyer said in an interview with videogamer.com, not doing a sequel "would be a disservice to ourselves and our fans."

However, as Neil Druckmann stated last year, I wouldn’t want to return to the world of The Last of Us without Naught Dog feeling that they can’t ”tell people a story that's really worth telling, and that's not repeating itself”.

With that in mind, what would make the best sequel; a simple continuation of the story from that ending or perhaps a completely new set of characters? I’ve had a few ideas.  

10(+) Years Later

Something I loved about the ending of The Last of Us was the image of Joel carrying Ellie out of the hospital in his arms: an obvious reference to the beginning when Joel carried his injured daughter – Sarah – away from a soldier ready to shoot them. This serves to show how Ellie – albeit slowly – almost replaces Sarah for Joel by the end of the game. Whether this makes an impression on you or not, it’s still a cool image and something that I think could be extrapolated from the first game, and placed in the second.

Keep that in mind.

In this 10-years-later world, Joel is visibly older and finding it harder to survive with supplies and ammo increasingly sparse. This idea in itself is fascinating – what weapons do survivors have to use in order to kill their enemy: do completely new ways of fighting have to be created? In addition to that, Ellie is now (obviously) an adult. This could create a new dynamic between the two characters (possibly one in the spirit of that of Joel and Tess’), and that relationship-shift could easily be a main focus of the beginning of the game.
Notice I say beginning. 


Part of this idea is that, early on, Joel gets very badly injured. The aforementioned carrying-in-the-arms resurfaces here, with Ellie carrying Joel to safety (or as safe as a place can be in this universe) while they’re being shot at. This is where things could get interesting. Here Joel tells Ellie about what really happened with the Fireflies. (Cue a possible “I know” moment.)  He then dies.

After this, the game could just continue with Ellie trying to come to terms with life without Joel or – perhaps – another jump into the future where she becomes a Lara Croft-esque heroine and tries to cure the world once and for all. Maybe at the end she realises that the only way to really do that is by sacrificing herself.

10(+) Years Earlier

We see Joel and Tess meeting for the first time, and watch as their dynamic unfolds and the situation that they appear in at the beginning of the first game becomes real. This could possibly lead to a romantic connection between them (which was almost implied before). This could be the whole premise for the game, or maybe Joel simply telling Ellie how he and Tess met after the end of the first game.


What would be awesome here is if this lead directly into the start of the first game (after the part with Sarah) so that we could replay that first section, possibly up until we meet Ellie.
If it went down the route of Joel telling the story to Ellie, it would be interesting if, afterwards, they returned to Tommy’s dam. Here Tommy could tell Ellie the story of how he and Joel fell apart and how this links into that of Joel and Tess. If this happened, small hints could be placed as to Joel being someone who bends the truth to suit him, which could then lead to Ellie confronting him about what really happened with the Fireflies; this change in dynamic could be explored further in the game.

All New

Something else which could be very cool is telling a brand new story; no relation to Joel and Ellie at all, simply another excellent Naughty Dog story. Whether this is set earlier or later in the timeline of events would depend largely on what the story was going to tell. It would be nice to see how other parts of the world were affected; particularly somewhere with a notable difference to America, like a hotter or colder climate and how this affects the behaviour of the infected.

While this would be cool it could be hard not to re-tread old ground and make people long for Joel and Ellie to be back. The journey we went on with those characters means that leaving them behind for someone new would be incredibly hard.

Fireflies

Something that was set up really well, yet not much explored in the first game, was the story of the Fireflies. Who started the organisation? Was their purpose simply to find a cure, or was there an ulterior motive? This could also tie into the events of the first game.
If it did, they could become the real bad-guys. Much like in season two of The Walking Dead game, instead of the walkers, Clem was up against predominantly human enemies. This could be used in the same way against Joel and Ellie, but we – the player – see it mostly from the side of the Fireflies and how they plan to retrieve Ellie.


Again, this could lead to Joel being forced into telling her what really happened – and this is what I think will definitely be addressed in a new game, if Joel and Ellie feature.

That’s what I think could happen, but what about you? Let me know what you want from The Last of Us 2! 

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