The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror game.
It was developed by Naughty Dog and released for the PS3 in 2013. A year later, a remastered edition was released for the PS4. The world depicted was that of a post-apocalyptic United States. It gave us a heart-pounding and -warming story of two characters, Joel and Ellie. The game was and still is amazing.
Originally, I had only watched this game in a Let’s Play. And even after seeing that, I was ready for the sequel. In preparation for this article, I went ahead and played the Last of Us Remastered Edition for myself. My opinion has not changed. I know there are a number of fans that nearly dread the idea of a sequel, as it could ruin the original.
Still, I believe there is a way for a sequel to be done for this amazing game. The idea and apocalypse-like world of Last of Us was great on its own, even if most of the game’s love is for the characters it gave us. The original Last of Us explored multiple cities and states; there are still many others that a sequel could be set in to explore.
Warning: Major Spoilers ahead for Last of Us and Left Behind DLC!
The obvious and least hindering way for a sequel would be a non-direct one. Create one or two new focus characters on their own mission and quest to survive. A thought I had was even starting it out as a whole family as they try to survive, potentially losing their original shelter and forced to find a new safe haven. As I mentioned, there are many cities and states that could be used. Depending on the timeline, it could even provide a small crossover of running into or seeing the results of some of the action sequences in the original Last of Us. It could even show what became of the Joel, Ellie and/or the Fireflies after the events of the main game.
But I would much rather see a direct sequel.
Let me explain why I feel there could or even should be a direct sequel. The ending to The Last of Us is left with a lie. Joel takes Ellie and drives away from the Fireflies base, not before killing Marleen. They travel back to Tommy’s settlement. Joel explains to Ellie that there are many others like her, but the Fireflies had no breakthroughs for a cure and had stopped looking for one. At the very end, Ellie asks Joel to swear that he’s telling the truth, and he does.
We know he’s lying. He had snatched Ellie away before the procedure to get the cure could be done. A procedure that would have created a cure, but killed Ellie. I believe Ellie does trust Joel. Their relationship grew to a point where they were like family to one another despite not sharing blood. I highly doubt that lie would just end there. At some point, I see Ellie learning that truth. Already her need for Joel to swear to his version of the story makes it seem like she’s been having her own set of doubts.
This direct sequel would be interesting to have mildly structured like the Left Behind prequel story. The Left Behind story had shifts in time. You played as Ellie from the “present” where she was in search of medical supplies to save Joel from his nearly fatal injury. Then, the game flashed back to the time before Ellie was bit and played through the moments leading to her being bit. Basically, it explained the story of what Ellie told Joel about how she became infected.
This style of switching was something I enjoyed and kept the pace from getting too stagnant, as the flashbacks are mostly calm and easy compared to the more present time where Ellie is fighting for both her own life and Joel’s. And it is something I would like to see come about in a sequel.
How I see this being used is through the start of the sequel; Ellie will now be a grown woman. She is close to the age that Joel was in the first game, potentially on a mission of her own. Joel will have passed, perhaps even a few years before the start of this game.
The flashback would be used to showcase the times in between where the first game ended and where this one began. The flashing back would not be so much one singular plot line; rather it would pepper the significant moments of Ellie and Joel’s lives. And while earlier on, at the start of the game, the knowledge that Joel is gone is there. The story of how that happened would be a mystery. How did their relationship change when Ellie learned of his lie? Add any number of roller coaster shifts that could force their trust to waiver or force them to come even more together despite their new issues. Were Fireflies involved? How does living in the settlement change things? What people do they meet in the settlement that have an impact on them? There are many paths that could be explored.
In the first game, we saw Joel and Ellie push through loss and learn to trust one another and care for one another. But when that trust gets lost, how can it be regained? A trial that would prove harder than any attack from infected or bandits. To cap this all off – the title. I know the title of this article is ‘The Last of Us 2’, but that was mostly so people would know what game I was talking about. My personal title suggestion would be ‘The End of Us’.