Ever since The Last of Us: Part 2 was announced, rumors have been running wild that Joel, the protagonist from the first game, is dead. These rumors and theories seem supported by the game's presence at E3 2018, where Joel is nowhere to be seen, and Ellie is given the main focus. While we still don't know if Joel is dead or not, we do know that he will not be a playable character in The Last of Us: Part 2.
This is according to Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us: Part 2, who revealed as much during a closed doors session at E3. Druckmann simply stated, "Ellie is the only playable character in the game."
This revelation will no doubt add fuel to the rumors that Joel is dead. Of course, it's possible that Druckmann is intentionally misleading fans and Joel will indeed be playable in the final product, perhaps during a small section of the game like we saw with Ellie in the original Last of Us.
It's unclear when Naughty Dog made the decision to make Ellie the sole playable character in The Last of Us: Part 2, but it's possible that this has been the plan all along. Ellie has been featured heavily in the game's marketing since its initial announcement, with Joel almost nowhere to be seen. Of course, we've known for awhile now that Ellie would be the main protagonist in the game, but her being the only playable character is still somewhat surprising.
While Ellie is the only playable character in The Last of Us: Part 2's story, it's likely that other characters will be playable in the game's multiplayer mode. We still aren't quite sure what to expect from The Last of Us: Part 2's multiplayer component, but one has to imagine that it will be similar to what was presented in the first game, meaning traditional deathmatch-style game modes with added social features.
Details on The Last of Us: Part 2's multiplayer and clarification on Joel's fate should come to light as we near the long-awaited game's release date.
The Last of Us: Part 2 is in development for PlayStation 4.