Ellie and Joel return in The Last of Us Part II, explores “hate”

Every once in a while, a game comes along to vigorously shake us all by the collar. Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us defied zombie genre fatigue to deliver a masterful blend of storytelling and gameplay, with characters we’ve grown to care about and an ending that leaves us guessing, hopeful or otherwise. That guesswork is now officially over.

Closing the PlayStation Experience 2016 keynote was the debut trailer for The Last of Us Part II, a sequel to those turbulent events. Ellie is now 19 years old, a tattoo decorating her right arm and vengeance smoldering in her heart.  Have a gander:

Seriously, the animation work on that guitar is fantastic.

Hours after the reveal, writer and director Neil Druckmann is joined by voice actors Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Troy Baker (Joel) for a heartfelt discussion panel.

“If the first game was [about] the love between these two characters and how we build that through story, music, interaction, gameplay and mechanics, this story is the counter of that,” begins Druckmann.

“This story is about hate, and how we use all those same things to make the player feel that, through Ellie this time. The first game you play as Joel, in this game you’re playing as Ellie.”

Later on, Druckmann cautiously confirms that Ellie will play differently than Joel, that some mechanics are evolutions while others are reinventions.

He also addresses why there even is a sequel in the first place, given the open-ended conclusion:

“So much thought went into this and I know there’s a lot of people that feel this trepidation about coming back to these characters and revisiting what that ending means and worrying whether that’s going to spoil the first game.

“You have to understand we feel all those things as well. No one loves these characters more than we do and we would not do this if we didn’t feel like we had the right idea. The ‘Part II’ is really doubling down on that to say we believe in this so much. We’re not trying to avoid it.

“All I ask is that fans of the first one put faith in us and trust us. We’re going to do right by you.”

The forty minute panel goes on to explore what it’s like for Johnson and Baker to reprise their roles, what Naughty Dog can do with current-gen character models, as well as what the new theme by returning composer Gustavo Santaolalla sounds like – the clip is accompanied by some new concept art.

In any case, this is one panel you wouldn’t want to miss.

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Ade Putra

Ade thinks there's nothing quite like a good game and a snug headcrab. He grew up with HIDEO KOJIMA's Metal Gear Solid, lives for RPGs, and is waiting for light guns to make their comeback.