With its riveting story, breathtaking graphics, and intuitive gameplay mechanics, The Last of Us is undoubtedly considered by many to be one of the top games of the last console generation. A lot of fans would even go so far as to argue that Naughty Dog’s survival-horror release is a modern classic. In fact, the ardor for Joel’s and Ellie’s plights has led to a bevy of gamers clamoring for a sequel with The Last of Us 2.
Last week, the reportage from online news outlets sent a shock wave of excitement throughout fans of the title after an accidental confirmation from developers at Naughty Dog revealed a potential sequel to be in the pipeline. The slip-up from the team of designers only built upon the speculation of another installment existing after renowned voice actor Nolan North confirmed a few months back that the studio was working on a follow-up. Now, the creative director for the first The Last of Us, Neil Druckmann, has entered the conversation about the actuality of The Last of Us 2.
In a recent interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, Druckmann elaborates on his reaction to North’s statement that The Last of Us 2 is officially a go, essentially declaring that he found the assertion to be somewhat surprising. The BAFTA-winning writer and director also teases nebulous details regarding the continuation of Joel’s and Ellie’s story with fresh ideas and characters, saying:
“I can say that was kind of a surprise for us for him to say that. I was like ‘Oh he knows more than we know [about] what we’re doing next.’ We joked about it afterwards during shoots and stuff.
“The answer is – and this is totally honest, and I’ve said this in the past – that when Bruce (Straley) and I moved over to Uncharted 4, we were brainstorming ideas for The Last of Us 2 with new characters; ideas for TLOU 2 with Joel and Ellie; ideas for a sci-fi game; ideas for a fantasy game, and building prototypes for each one of those ideas. And just as we were getting close to settling or narrowing that list down, we were asked to work on Uncharted 4.”
In keeping with Druckmann’s accounts above, it’s common knowledge now for most fans that The Last of Us 2 was put on hold in order for Naughty Dog to focus its efforts on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. However, the creative director goes on to explain that a small team of developers continued to incubate concepts for TLOU 2 until everyone in the company had to eventually shift their concentration entirely toward the Nathan Drake series. Regarding the matter, Druckmann says:
“You know, there’s a part of me that’s really looking forward to going back to those things, but I have no cycles left in my mind even to be thinking about that right now! So, I guess [North] was kind of right in that we were working on stuff, but we don’t know what we’re doing next and we won’t know until probably a few months after we finish Uncharted 4.”
With Druckmann intimating a desire to continue development on The Last of Us 2, the probability of its creation is very high. Of course, in order to generate hype for the product, he can neither confirm nor deny it becoming a reality at this point, especially since it only exists on paper. Plus, due to the initial title’s popularity, as well as fans’ intense demand for another entry, there’s really no reason for Naughty Dog to refrain from making TLOU 2 after Uncharted 4‘s release on PS4 next year.
And in reference to Druckmann’s mention of prior plans for a science fiction title, surely the director isn’t putting off The Last of Us 2 in favor of holding out hope that Valve would actually relinquish the Half-Life license to Naughty Dog to develop Half-Life 3. That tweet of his had to have been a joke, right? If he wasn’t kidding, and that’s the case for us not getting another chapter in Joel’s and Ellie’s tale, then we may be waiting an eternity, as trying to get HL3 made seems to have become a Sisyphean task.
Production for The Last of Us 2 is currently on hiatus, but since the developers at Naughty Dog are still alluding to the fact that preliminary ideas, concepts, and prototypes exist, then it’s safe to assume fans will eventually see the game come to fruition in the future.