Have you ever played a video game that feels like it’s not just challenging you to beat it, but also confronting you with undoing storytelling choices? “The Last of Us Part II” is one such game that doesn’t shy away from stirring emotions, throwing curveballs at its players with unexpected character deaths and moral quandaries that can stay with you long after you’ve set down the controller.
Recently, the gaming community has been buzzing about the remastered version of the renowned sequel. Included in the release are commentaries that shed light on the creative process behind the game. Surprisingly, director Neil Druckmann revealed that the game’s conclusion, as impactful as it was, almost took a darker turn.
According to Druckmann, the game’s script initially envisioned a more tragic outcome for some of the pivotal figures in the story. “Originally, Yara and Lev didn’t make it off the Island,” he commented, suggesting an even grimmer reality for Abby, who would’ve been found all alone later in the game. Furthermore, in this darker alternate reality, Ellie was set to end Abby’s life, drastically altering the narrative’s trajectory.
Halley Gross, the co-writer for “The Last of Us Part II,” weighed in on this original ending, contemplating the profound impact it would’ve had on the game’s protagonist, Ellie. Gross pondered on preserving the sliver of humanity that Ellie still clung to after her harrowing experiences—believing that executing Abby would’ve stripped her of it completely. It seems that leaving Ellie with just “3% of the humanity” from her younger days was critical, as it leaves a glimmer of hope for her to find herself again.
Ultimately, the game that reached fans offered a finish that was laced with redemption rather than retribution. The final confrontation between Ellie and Abby, instead of ending in death, closes with forgiveness. This decision leaves the story open-ended, with a faint beacon of hope that Ellie might recuperate some part of her former self, echoing how Abby finds a way back to life.
The tantalizing whispers of “The Last of Us Part III” stir the air with speculation and fan theories. If Naughty Dog had solidified that initial, darker ending, any dreams of exploring further adventures with Abby and Lev, or witnessing another chapter in Ellie’s journey, would be void, for there would be no questions left unanswered, no loose threads to follow.
The Last of Us franchise has a knack for storytelling that challenges our perceptions, and it’s clear that the developers at Naughty Dog aren’t afraid to explore the darkest corners of their narrative universe. As the rumors about the next installment circulate, one can’t help but wonder what paths the characters will walk next and how their choices will continue to test the human spirit.