Forgetting for a second that a sequel may not even be necessary, The Last of Us 2 (or Part II, if we’re being pedantic) has quickly cemented itself as the most anticipated release on the gaming calendar.
Little is know about it except for a whole lot of speculation and wishful thinking, especially as we’ve only had a brief look at the game so far. Although it was only a few minutes long, the reveal trailer did enough to make gamers stock up on bricks and religiously pick apart every frame.
Here’s everything we know so far.
What is the Last of Us 2’s release date? There is no confirmed release date for The Last of Us 2. It was actually due to be revealed at E3 2017, so it sounds like a lot of work is still to be done.
According to Neil Druckmann last year:
“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. We’re going to let the trailer speak for itself, but expect more information about The Last of Us Part II in the coming months.”
Try late 2019 for a conservative release window, though we may see it in 2020 as one last hurrah for the PlayStation 4.
Where can I play The Last of Us 2? Naughty Dog and Sony have been enjoying a love-in for over two decades, so it will be coming exclusively to the PS4. It’s not been confirmed, but you can guess that it will be optimised for PS4 Pro with HDR and 4K support.
What genre does The Last of Us 2 belong to? As much as we may want to see a much darker version of Crash Team Racing, The Last of Us 2 feels like it will stick to the linear survival roots of its predecessor. If it ain’t broke, there’s no no need to force in an open world.
“Five years later… An intense, harrowing and emotional adventure awaits – Ellie and Joel return for an epic journey in the sequel to the critically acclaimed game by Naughty Dog.”
The Last of Us 2 Rumours
The internet has already arrived at a few conclusions that are hard to ignore. If you want to avoid potential spoilers, look away now.
– Joel is dead and the hate that’s driving Ellie is brought on by his death. His arrival in the house in the trailer has an ethereal, strange feel to it, particularly as he comes in from blinding white light. You don’t control Joel in The Last of Us 2, either. – Ellie is pregnant and her guitar is there to conceal it. Bit of a reach, this one. – The muscly woman in the PGW trailer is Ellie’s mom, which makes sense. – The cult from the PGW are after Ellie in the most recent trailer.
The Last of Us 2 Quick Facts
– The game will take place five years after the original, making Ellie nineteen years old. – Neil Druckmann, creative director and writer of the original, will be making a return. However, Bruce Straley, who co-wrote the original, will not. – Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson will return as Joel and Ellie respectively. – Ashley Johnson actually has a good singing voice, so she had to learn how to sing badly for the reveal trailer. – It’s all about hate, according to Druckmann: “If the first game was really about the love between these two characters, this story is the counter of that. This story is about hate, through Ellie this time. The first game you play as Joel, this game you play as Ellie.” – The song Ellie sings is Through the Valley by Shawn James. – The game was actually “confirmed” by Naughty Dog long before its reveal, thanks to this poster. – Halley Wegryn Gross has joined the writing team, previously known for her work on Westworld. – More Westworld: series actor Shannon Woodward has joined the cast. – Ashley Johnson recently started moc-cap on the game proper. – Despite rumours, TLOU 2 was a no-show at E3 2017 or 2018. – A new poster was shown for Outbreak Day 2018, which seems to suggest an appearance from Joel sometime soon. – Judging from the PGW trailer, a lot of the action will take place in Seattle. – Gustavo Santaolalla is returning to pen the score.
Are we excited for The Last of Us 2?
Yup. We’ve already covered what we want to see from it and I personally have to be restrained to stop dissertations being written. The Last of Us is a favourite for a lot of us at Cultured Vultures, so even if a sequel wasn’t really necessary, it’s always worth dipping back into the world of Joel and Ellie. As long as it sticks to some of the stuff the original game did and did well, it should be great.
The Last of Us 2: 5 Things We Want To See
1. An evolution of the plot beyond simple survival
The Last of Us picked us up at the very start, twirled us around in an emotional hurricane of a story for 20 hours (depending on how hardcore you are) and dropped us right at the end feeling very upset about the fact that it was all over. In no way am I saying that they need to improve on this. What does need to happen, though, is that the story is developed into something new.
The Last of Us has a plot that, in its basic state, can be referred to as “the quest”. Joel and Ellie set out to accomplish the goal of getting Ellie back to the Fireflies. If The Last of Us 2 drops us into another quest storyline, I think it could be in danger of receiving those accusations of being too close to the first one. A natural development for the game could be that we move past trying to survive and into the realms of trying to grow. Trying to bring back parts of the old world and expand again.
An overcoming the monster plotline would also be a natural fit. Having an enemy to defeat would move away from the simple survival aspect. In any case, whatever they decide to do, it will need to be just as engaging and amazing as the first one, but I think we can be pretty safe in the knowledge that the story will not let us down.
2. A broader post-apocalypse America
Post-pandemic America was quite a sight to behold. It could be beautiful and peaceful in one moment, and then harsh and terrifying in the next. Giraffes and clickers, right?
We got to see and explore pretty much all of it, which means that the Last of Us 2 is probably going to need to freshen up these environments or set us somewhere else. Developing the world is a big part of a sequel and we’ve been very much in Joel and Ellie’s bubble up to this point. Seeing what has happened in other places would add flesh to the bones of our story. I’d love to see a different country at some part of the game if not for all of it and with that would come all the perks of new environments to explore and gawk at in wonder and horror.
3. New characters worth caring about
I thought Bill was badass as hell when he rolled up with his huge knife and booby traps. I wanted him to hang around for longer even though he was a bit of an asshole. Now in the gap between the two games, Joel and Ellie would have clearly been through some things. Once we’ve found out about all of that what else is there going to be for the characters? Some of my favourite segments of the game were when you were hanging out with a third character like Tess, Bill or Henry.
A strong third character would definitely be an asset to the game, especially if Naughty Dog is planning on making this series last longer. Alternatively coming across more characters like these three and working with them would be great even if it were temporary. The game doesn’t need a third wheel but I’d love to see more stories and more interesting and charismatic people, like Bill. Bring Bill back please.
4. More kinds of Infected
I’ve always hesitated to call The Last of Us a zombie game because I don’t think that’s the main allure of it. Yes, there are zombies or ‘infected’, but no, the game isn’t all about them. In a world completely overrun by runners and clickers, the most interesting drama unfolds between the humans. It’s the whole rebels vs. government thing but beyond the wall is something worse, yet largely ignored unless you go out there.
Having said all that, seeing more of the infected is a possibility. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be in the game more but a larger variety would make for more interesting encounters and puzzles in the game. You’ve got the runners and clickers, which are the most common, and then the bloaters and stalkers that are more rare. I have no idea what they could throw in amongst those but another two types of infected with different strengths and weaknesses would add more variety and an unpredictable nature to later stages of the game.
5. Gameplay tweaks and puzzle changes
There were a few things gameplay wise that bugged me. When you were trying to stealth around, your mates at the time would generally either take cover with you or run around in front of the humans and infected, usually without consequence. The shooting mechanics were a bit dodgy even if you decreased the weapon sway (that or I am just useless at shooting) and the puzzles became a little tedious. It was all about moving ladders or planks to get to a certain area. More variety in the puzzles would be great, as well as improved AI for your friends.
I was also very jealous of Bill’s knife. Throughout the whole section with him I had knife envy. Perhaps a permanent melee weapon that was repairable might be cool? I also think that some deeper RPG elements would add to the game. More upgrades for Joel/Ellie and the weapons could be added as well as more items for crafting. This would offer more options in approaching puzzles and conflict to go with the greater variety of puzzles and conflicts. Gameplay improvements will always help make a sequel better and would be a great place to start. I’m not worried, though; these are the guys who made Uncharted 4.