The Last of Us 2: 2017 Update and What We Know

My favorite video game ever is The Last of Us. No game has ever brought me such emotion while playing. Everything from the story to gameplay is nearly perfect. When The Last of Us Part 2 was announced, I was beyond excited. This and the new Spider-Man are my top games I am looking forward to. E3 2018 is when we will see more footage and information on this upcoming sequel. Just this weekend was PSX, Playstation’s big conference that shows off new games or information on games we know are already coming such as The Last of Us Part 2 and God of War 4. Internet personality Hannah Hart was honored to host The Last of Us Part 2 panel that had the cast and writers of the game discuss this experience and give some new information. Like any promotional Q&A, most of the questions could not be answered. Luckily, we got some information.

First off, let’s knock out what we knew before PSX. The game takes place five years later. Ellie is now 19 years old. The story will continue to be about Joel and Ellie since to Neil Druckmann, the creative director and lead writer for the game, explained that these games are not about the world or infected, it is about Joel and Ellie. The player will be playing as Ellie. The overall theme will be different as explained, “If the theme of the first game was about the love between these two characters… then this story is the counter to that: it’s about hate,” says Neil Druckmann. Nobody knows why Ellie is angry and is out to kill some people, but it is safe to assume that it can be about this mystery cult who were shown in the latest trailer for a couple of months ago. Gustavo Santaolalla will be returning to compose the sequel’s soundtrack. He did an amazing job to find the right music to fit this brutal world that these two characters are living in. Graphically and technically the game will be the most advanced game to his the PS4. Neil discussed a while back that Horizon Zero Dawn is considered to be so beautiful that he is aiming for The Last of Us Part 2 to outshine Horizon. The character models will be so advanced unlike anything before. Every couple of years a game managed to break new boundaries with character models and face recognition technology, but Naughty Dog might have everyone beat in their upcoming game. The variety of facial expressions will show the complexity of the human face. Druckmann says. “Just the way the flesh can move over the bone… we could never cut to a close-up of eyes before because we could never get the fidelity. Now we can.” As we have seen from the two trailers so far, he is right about all of that. Below is Ashley Johnson who plays as Ellie, making faces to capture a variety for the camera. You can view a whole video of this here:

Let us move onto the new information we received during PSX and the last couple of months. The panel as mentioned earlier was hosted by Hannah Hart. Along with her was Troy Baker (Joel), Ashley Johnson (Ellie), Ian Alexander (Lev), Victoria Grace (Yara), Laura Bailey (mystery women), creative director and writer Niel Druckmann, and co-writer Halley Gross, known from being a writer from the HBO show Westworld.  The show started with Troy and Ashley singing a song that had some lyrics that hint as possibilities in the story. The song they play can be viewed here:

Many theories have emerged over the last few months since the last trailer. The mystery women are assumed to being Anna, Ellie’s mom who we all assumed was dead. This would make sense for many reasons. She does look a bit like Ellie. One of the cultists does bring a knife to her stomach. This could be threatening to brutally disembowel mystery woman, or the cult knows of her pregnancy, so this is meant to be a threat to rip out her stomach. Not only killing mystery woman, but the small cell growing to become her daughter. In the song mentioned above, a mother is referenced several times. Neil was asked whether this was literal or not and gave a vague answer. It could be safe to assume this is her mother at a flashback because Neil reluctantly gave in to some vague, but important information on the influence that Halley has had. He says, “After the first day, Halley goes home and talks to her husband, and she’s like, ‘I think I got someone pregnant.’ And you’ll see what that means.” Since Ellie is a lesbian, it is safe to say that whoever gets pregnant will be heterosexual. Unless they want to go full Game of Thrones and have a character get raped, then that is possible too. Speaking of that, Niel discusses the stakes. The stakes have been raised in which he teases: “No one is safe, not even [Joel and Ellie].” He said, “like Uncharted 4, they wanted to raise the stakes for The Last of Us, Part II, but unlike Nathan Drake’s latest adventure, The Last of Us is far less lighthearted.” There will be some lighthearted moments like the first game, but the darker moments will be the primary focus. Another theory was picked up from the first trailer and got more popular after the second trailer, that the game takes place in Seattle. People picked this out based on the look of the area and more importantly, the signs in the area. How anyone managed that is beyond me, but they were right, so that is all that matters. Neil confirms that a significant portion will take place in Seattle. He was reluctant to mention any other place that might be visited in the game.

As far as characters, we have three new characters. Mystery women played by Laura Bailey was given no additional information, but the other two were given some background. Yara (Victoria Grace) and Lev (Ian Alexander) are two siblings in this apocalypse. It appears that they will be fighting alongside mystery women. It is safe to say that these three will cross paths with Joel and Ellie at some point. Fighting off the cult and infected together, it should be okay to assume they will be on the same side as Joel and Ellie when they all meet. The fireflies will make a return as Neil hinted and the symbol was found in the first trailer. It appears the main villains will be this mysterious cult, but there will be plenty of other people in the way who will be a threat to the protagonists.

Not much is known overall, but hopefully, we get a lot more next year at E3. Neil mentioned that the game is about halfway done, but at this point, the game will probably come out 2019. The game has no release date yet, but it is likely to be another year or two before the game is released. The Last of Us Part 2 will be out on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. You can view the latest trailer here:

 

Images and videos via Sony Interactive Entertainment and Naughty Dog

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3 thoughts on “The Last of Us 2: 2017 Update and What We Know”

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