Today, during the PlayStation Experience 2016 showcase, Sony has announced The Last of Us 2. Officially titled The Last of Us Part II, the game is confirmed to be in development at the Naughty Dog studio, and the first trailer gives audiences a glimpse of what’s in store for Ellie and Joel in the sequel to 2013’s game of the year.
A release date announcement for The Last of Us Part II is likely a ways off, as explained by Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann. “It’s still early days for the project—the game’s release is a ways off—but we couldn’t wait any longer to give you a glimpse of what’s to come,” he noted in a post published on the official PlayStation Blog.
Druckmann continues, saying the prospect of a sequel has always been on the table but it hasn’t been easy for the team to come up with a narrative that would live up to the original’s.
“Like many of you, we have a deep love for the world of The Last of Us and its characters, and while a sequel may have seemed like a foregone conclusion, that wasn’t the case. We knew that it needed to be a story worth telling and, perhaps more importantly, a story worthy of Joel and Ellie. After spending years on different ideas (and almost giving up), we finally uncovered a story that felt special—a story that evolved into an epic journey.”
The narrative of the two games are complimentary, with the theme of the first game being “love” as the sequel tackles “hate.” In a panel at PSX, Druckmann explains the “Part II” designation is reflective of the games’ overarching storyline. Although the sequel has its own thematic elements and tale to tell, it’s part of a larger story players can experience across both games.
It would seem years of survival have taken their toll on both Ellie and Joel. The first trailer for The Last of Us Part II features Ellie sitting on a bed, shaking off tremors. Her hands and face are flecked with blood both fresh and dried. She plays the guitar and sings Shawn James’ “Through the Valley.” It’s implied she has fought and killed at least a couple people before reaching this state of momentary peace.
Joel makes his appearance just after she softly sings, “I can’t walk on the path of the right, because I’m wrong.”
“What are you doing kiddo?” he asks her. “Are you really going to go through with this?”
“I’m gonna find and I’m gonna kill every last one of them,” she replies with firm conviction.
Gamers get to play as this 19-year-old Ellie in the sequel. Druckmann confirms she is the lead character this time around, and she plays differently from Joel. That’s about all that has been revealed regarding gameplay, as he notes, “Some things are evolutions, some things are revolutions, but there will be a gameplay reveal down the road.”
The trailer also features new music from composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who wrote the music for the first game as well. A new rendition of the original theme song from The Last of Us plays at the trailer’s end, preceded by new music from the sequel at the start. You can see the trailer and hear the new music in the video below. The complete PSX panel can be viewed on the official PlayStation YouTube channel.
Now that The Last of Us Part II has been confirmed, what do you think? Are you excited to play as Ellie? Is “hatred” a fitting theme for the sequel? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Sony Interactive Entertainment America/Naughty Dog]