The quote on the side was recently written in an article by Chandler Wood, writing for Playstation Lifestyle, about the idea of Naughty Dog creating The Last of Us 2. He makes a great argument that many of us have been advocating for months about the idea of The Last of Us getting a sequel. Naughty Dog's most recent title doesn't feel like a franchise in the way that Uncharted does, and nor do its characters feel like franchise-able people.
The extraordinary thing about The Last of Us, is how Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann created some of the most authentic characters we've ever seen in Video Games. And that's not just a statement that refers to Joel and Ellie. They demonstrated their abilities in bringing life to characters we only briefly interacted with. The way in which they did so was so impressive, that it'd be a real shame if they limited their abilities by returning with the same characters in The Last of Us 2.
Chandler Wood wasn't saying he didn't want The Last of Us 2 to happen, he just didn't want it to be a straight sequel, but rather something completely fresh within the same world.
The Last of Us 2 - Why Joel & Ellie Shouldn't Star in Naughty Dog's Sequel
It's rare that you receive such a perfect package in the gaming industry as we did with The Last of Us. The story arc that was created for Joel and Ellie was extremely well structured, so much so that everything Neil Druckmann and his team wanted to explore with their relationship was finished once Ellie uttered "Okay." Let's take a look at the structure of The Last of Us for a second.
We meet Joel and his daughter, Sarah, in a moment so well written that we instantly come to realise their love for one another and we care. Sarah waited up on the couch for her dad to return from work in order to give him his birthday present. It's simple and affective. The jokes they exchange are enough to make us care for both of the characters, so much so that 15 minutes later the loss of Sarah feels so profoundly upsetting. We see Joel completely break down in that scene - a father who witnesses the loss of his most beloved person.
Throughout the rest of the game, Joel is forced to come to terms with the loss of his daughter through his deepening relationship with Ellie. His ultimately selfish decision to keep her alive is an indication of his inability to endure the same degree of pain he did on the day he lost her. The story comes full circle. We see exactly what Neil Druckmann wanted to explore: how far we're prepared to go for one another.
To tell the story of their continued survival would just feel like an ancillary subplot, potentially undermining the well designed emotional evolution that took us through multiple aspects of Joel’s grieving process to the ultimate conclusion of the game. Endings are written as endings for a reason.
I couldn't agree more. The Last of Us focuses on Joel's development, and through The Last of Us: Left Behind, we got to see a bit more of Ellie. In my mind, we're done with these two characters. A prequel is completely unnecessary - there's a reason Naughty Dog skipped forward 20 years. We understand that Joel performed some heinous acts to stay alive and a prequel would only negatively impact on the power of the original game.
But that's not to say that I don't want The Last of Us 2. Naughty Dog have developed a fascinating world, one which has endless potential. We saw how powerful Bill's relationship with his friend was; how close Henry and Sam were with one another; how powerful Tess was before her death. The team at Naughty Dog can create so many equally beautiful characters to rival Joel and Ellie. The Last of Us 2 needs to draw from their strengths and give them an opportunity to explore new relationships.
Nolan North Confirms The Last of Us 2
Everyone is discussing the idea of The Last of Us 2 at the moment after Nolan North, the voice of Nathan Drake in Uncharted, revealed that the team at Naughty Dog were already working on ideas for the sequel. They've yet to confirm anything - they're busy with the amazing Uncharted 4 - but judging by the success of the game, we can expect a sequel to come. I wonder whether they're a bit annoyed with Nolan North for revealing this information...
In any case, we'd love to hear what you think about The Last of Us and the idea of The Last of Us 2. Do you think a sequel with Joel and Ellie would affect the power of the original game? Will it feel stretched? Or could Naughty Dog find a way to make it work? Let us know what you think in the comments below!