The Last of Us Part 2 will have "the most complex, nuanced character in a video game" according to a Naughty Dog team member. Following how beloved the story and characters were to The Last of Us, the sequel to 2013's critically acclaimed PS3 game has a lot of narrative ambitions to live up to.
Sony's PS4 exclusive sequel has been in the works for years now and it has now been delayed to Spring 2020. The Last of Us Part 2 will now release on May 29, 2020. That's almost exactly seven years after the original Last of Us was released on June 14, 2013.
Naughty Dog Narrative Lead and Co-Writer Halley Gross spoke about Ellie and crafting the characters of The Last of Us Part 2 in an interview withPlayStation Official Magazine.
"Every day I’m working, I get the opportunity to work with designers, and animators, and sound guys and character artists, and we’re all working toward a vision about how do you make the most complex, nuanced character in a videogame?" Gross said. Later she referred to Ellie directly saying "obviously Ellie experiences this deep trauma, it has an impact on her that’s going to affect how she engages with the world. That’s going to affect her tone as we sort of descend through that. That being said, Ellie is driven by love. It’s love that sends her on this mission for justice. It’s love that she feels for Joel, for Dina – these moments that buoy her."
But the treatment of Ellie and female characters in TLOU has been a point of contention leading up to the game's release. Gross addressed this in the interview saying that the genre comes with certain expectations and tone.
"Part of writing is, very unfortunately, torturing your characters, putting them in hard situations, and testing their values and testing their drive. So while we love Ellie, and we’re really excited to see her grow up, we’re certainly not going to coddle her."
If there was ever a candidate for a game to really explore in this way, Ellie is an obvious choice. Selling Ellie as a complex, believable character will be aided by both Naughty Dog's best-in-class motion capture and an already dedicated fanbase that have already invested hours into this character and world.
The Last of Us 2 is out on May 29, 2020, exclusively on PS4.