Whatever standards you hold video games to, The Last of Us is unquestionably one of the best ever made. Naughty Dog has proven itself to be one of the most influential, inspiring and technologically innovative developers in the history of the industry. And Uncharted 4 only helped further that legacy. But what's to become of life after Nathan Drake?
The Last of Us 2: Everything We Know
Though Naughty Dog has yet to announce what their follow up to Uncharted 4 will be, a lot of signs seem to point towards a return to the apocalyptic setting that introduced us to Joel and Ellie. Here's everything we know about The Last of Us 2.
The Last of Us 2 News, Rumors & Leaks
- Directors of The Last of Us Planning A Sequel
On numerous occasions, directors Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley clarified how their workload changed once The Last of Us was released. In fact, the two were off brainstorming ideas for how they could further develop the IP.
"[W]hen Bruce (Straley) and I moved over to Uncharted 4, we were brainstorming ideas for The Last Of Us 2 with new characters; ideas for TLOU 2 with Joel and Ellie; ideas for a sci-fi game; ideas for a fantasy game, and building prototypes for each one of those ideas. And just as we were getting close to settling or narrowing that list down, we were asked to work on Uncharted 4.
So yeah, all work on The Last of Us 2 was set aside. Not much news there. But I mean, how could it move forward without the game's creators? However, one actor seemed to know more than everyone.
- Nolan North Confirms 'The Last Of Us 2'?
Nolan North, the voice of Nathan Drake in Uncharted and David in The Last of Us, attended Metrocon: Anime Convention in Tampa, Florida on Jun 29 in 2015. While there, he held a Q&A session to chat about his work as an actor. But that famous voice of his let something slip.
North was asked about the future of The Last of Us franchise by a fan and whether he'd be returning at some point for a sequel. He replied,
"For now, last one. I know [Naughty Dog is] doing a 'Last Of Us 2,' but my character in 'Last Of Us' kind of had an untimely demise."
This obviously sent a wave excitement through the gaming community. Nolan North leaks The Last of Us 2 announcement? Not really. Neil Druckmann had already clarified that he wasn't working on anything aside from Uncharted 4.
- Neil Druckmann Responds
In an interview with PlayStation magazine, Druckmann was asked about North's comments on The Last of Us 2. He had this to say:
"So, I guess he (North) was kind of right in that we were working on stuff, but we don't know what we're doing next and we won't know until probably a few months after we finish Uncharted 4."
Following these comments, North clarified his earlier statement, saying that he simply assumed that Naughty Dog were working on a sequel because of how well the first game sold. He likened himself to just another excited fan with no insider knowledge, he was simply excited by the rumors. No serious news yet again.
- "The First The Last of Us"?
The next time we received additional news on The Last of Us 2 was in September of last year, during an Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection livestream. Uncharted series writer Josh Scherr let something slip while talking to fans around the world when referencing the art of his co-worker: "All of the Uncharted games and the first The Last Of Us." Josh Scherr leaks the announcement?!?! Yet again, nope.
His co-worker Eric Baldwin, a facial animator at Naughty Dog, immediately recognized his error and attempted to backpedal, but Josh couldn't seem to come up with anything else to say. "Uh, did I say 'the first The Last Of Us'? The first The Last Of Us. Uh, The Last Of Us! The first Last Of Us." You can revel in his verbal fumbling by heading over to Naughty Dog's Twitch Channel and skipping to 21:13. Do they know something we don't?
- Adult Ellie in Uncharted 4?
While the picture doesn't give anything away, there is certainly a spoilerific explanation for where it's located. So if you've yet to finish Uncharted 4, don't remove the spoiler barrier!
At the end of Uncharted 4, we're introduced to the daughter of Nathan Drake. We actually get to play as her! We start off playing Crash Bandicoot in her bedroom and then have the freedom to wander about her room and the house. But if you take a look at her wall, there's a poster that looks pretty familiar. The font is exactly like that of The Last of Us's title and we appear to be looking at a pregnant Ellie (there's no way she put on that much weight during the apocalypse).
So what do we think? Does this poster indicate the future for The Last of Us franchise? Could we be playing as a pregnant Ellie who's forced to take care of a baby of her own? These are all rumors and slip ups as opposed to announcements and leaks, so what's really going on?
- The Last of Us 2 at PlayStation Experience 2016
On November 28 in 2016, a NeoGAF user by the name of shinobi602 released an image of The Last of Us 2 with the word "Confirmed" underneath it, stating that the highly anticipated Naughty Dog sequel was set to make an appearance at 2016's PlayStation Experience. Shinobi quickly removed the post, but thankfully not before it was screen-grabbed by the guys over on ThisGenGaming.
The NeoGAF user has a reputation for leaks, offering up info on Skyrim: Special Edition and God of War 4 prior to their reveals. A reliable source in some ways, but the PlayStation Experience will hold the answer on whether The Last of Us 2 will indeed be confirmed at the event.
The Last of Us 2 Release Date
All we know about Neil Druckmann's and Naughty Dog's development cycle is that they weren't going to be ready to plan another game until the completion of Uncharted 4. However, seeing as the game came out in May, has there been enough time for the team to start developing a new game? We certainly hope so. Aside from pure speculation, there's been no news on a release date for The Last of Us 2.
Though if it's anything to go by, The Last of Us and Uncharted 4 were released almost exactly 3 years apart. 2019, anyone?
The Last of Us 2 Trailers
With no release date in sight, there have been no trailers or even images of The Last of Us 2. Sad times, people.
The Last of Us 2 Fan Art
The world of The Last of Us is vibrant and rich. Fans have paid homage to the work of Naughty Dog's artists in numerous ways. But one of the most popular is to imagine how the IP could grow with some delicious fan art. What could The Last of Us 2 look like? What could its characters look like? Where would it be set? Let's take a look at a few of the ways artists have approached the idea.
First up we have Sackboy_305, who created two pieces in a similar vein to how ND's artists envisioned Uncharted 4.
Another fan caused quite a stir after he released a fan art image of an older Ellie seated with a guitar, surrounded by armed men. Many presumed it was leaked art for the actual game, but that sadly wasn't the case. However, it did catch Druckmann's attention:
"Still braver and wiser beyond her years," Druckmann says, presumably about the slightly older version of Ellie we see in the image. "Marek Okon's fanart is incredible -- I'd play it."
The Last of Us Movie Updates
"Stuck in development hell," would be a good way to describe the process of attempting to bring The Last of Us to the silver screen. While a script was drawn up, Naughty Dog were kind of involved, and the idea seemed to be making progress at one point, things seemed to fall apart at some point last year. Neil Druckmann gave an update in April, stating that:
I know I said in an interview a while back we had a table read, got the script to a good place and it kind of entered development hell like these things tend to do. There hasn’t been any work done on it in over a year and a half.
There were plenty of rumors surrounding who was to be in the The Last of Us movie, too, with countless fans believing that Maisie Williams was on board as Ellie. In late 2014, the actress said that she was basically down for the role, but was aware of the growing age difference between herself (now in her 20s) and that of Ellie (who is supposed to be 14).
“They want me to do it, and I want to do it,” she said at the time. “But there’s no script, no director, and no anything else. [And] if they make it in 30 years, they can’t have a 40-year-old Ellie.”
The Last of Us 2: Fan Theories On Where It Could Go
Fans have hypothesized over where exactly the next game could take us and who exactly will feature in it. Neil Druckmann said that a sequel without Joel and Ellie was just as likely as one with the two at the helm. But everyone has their own opinion on where the game should go. Which one would you like to see?
- Direct sequel - One of the obvious ways that Naughty Dog could expand on the universe is simply pick up where they left off. Some fans would even like to see the game take off from exactly the same point where the last one faded to black. However, the chances of seeing an older Ellie and Joel seems a lot more plausible than a game that simply picks things up where Druckmann and Straley left them.
- New characters - Another direction the developers could take their IP would be to introduce us to some new characters within the same universe. Perhaps they could have a run-in with one of the characters from the first title, but in theory this direction would feature completely new peeps in a new part of the country.
- Familiar faces - Another direction fans have thought about would be to have Naughty Dog create a game around one of the other characters in The Last of Us. For example, we could follow Marlene and how she became the leader of the Fireflies. What character would you like to see more of?
- New country - Another direction the game could take, inspired by this series of photos a ND artist released, is completely pack things up and move out of the country all together. After all, this epidemic is world wide. Imagine playing a Last of Us game in France, Germany or Italy! Or ALL of them. Imagine moving around with a load of other characters around Europe, all of which are somehow tied together. There's so much potential for The Last of Us 2!!!
So many awesome fan theories for The Last of Us 2! But for me, I'd love to see Naughty Dog introduce a set of new characters in a completely new location. The story of Joel and Ellie is complete in my mind, any further development with these characters seems unnecessary and threatens to undermine the perfect balance they've already established. But what do you think? Have you got any The Last of Us 2 fan theories of your own?
What do you want from The Last of Us 2?
Check out the official The Last of Us music video below!