The Last of Us 2: Popular Fan Theory Squashed by Image?

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Naughty Dog has kept its cards close to its chest in regards to story details for The Last of Us: Part 2, which has prompted fans to speculate on what they can expect from the upcoming game. One of the more popular topics that have made the rounds among the community is that Joel is in fact dead, and he exists as nothing more than a figment of Ellie's imagination. However, thanks to a new image from Ellie's voice actor Ashley Johnson, it appears that the popular fan theory may remain as nothing more than just a theory.

Johnson recently posted up a new photo of herself with fellow The Last of Us 2: Part 2 voice actor Troy Baker, who portrays Joel, participating in a motion-capture session for the upcoming game, suggesting that Joel may actually still be alive and throwing some cold water on the "Joel is dead" theory. While this new photo doesn't officially confirm or deny whether Joel is alive, it does suggest that the character will play a prominent role in the game, though given Naughty Dog's tendency to keep details under wraps, fans won't be finding out what that role is until the game is released or close to release.

Joel's role in The Last of Us: Part 2 remains shrouded in mystery for now, but what we do know is that the upcoming game will see the series be pushed into a new creative direction. In addition to having Ellie as the main character and the adding of a Westworld writer and actress to the team, it appears that the game may feature new gameplay mechanics, such as horseback combat.

Beyond the story and gameplay, director Neil Druckmann recently stated that Horizon: Zero Dawn's stunning graphics have inspired Naughty Dog to set a new bar in terms of visuals, so fans can certainly expect The Last of Us: Part 2 to look amazing when it hits the shelves. Having said that, it may be quite some time before fans will get a glimpse at what the studio has been working on as no official release date has been confirmed yet.

Whether Joel is alive or dead in The Last of Us: Part 2 remains to be seen, but with development of the game seemingly well underway, perhaps new details and hints beyond social media teases will be unveiled later this year.

The Last of Us: Part 2 is currently in development for PlayStation 4.

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