E3 2018: ‘The Last of Us Part II’ –What We Knew Before, What We Learned After, and Overall Thoughts

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Ladies and gentlemen, that day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived. PlayStation has revealed more information about The Last of Us: Part II. Fans have been waiting for the sequel to one of Naughty Dog’s most successful games since the trailer was shown at PSX in 2016. Many fan-theories and speculations have been made regarding this game, but we were finally given concrete information during the Sony Press Conference at E3 2018. I’ll dive in to what was revealed at the PlayStation conference and panel after they aired, but let’s take a look at what we knew about this release before today.

BTW, this will include spoilers for the first game. You’ve been warned.

What We Knew Already

1. The Story Will Still Focus on Ellie and Joel – This wasn’t always the case, since it was confirmed that both Neil Druckmann, the TLOU1’s writer and creative director of both parts 1 and 2 – as well as VP of Naughty Dog – wanted the sequel to focus on other characters. I’m so glad they decided to continue their story.

2. The Story Will Be About Hate – When we last saw our two protagonists, Joel had lied to Ellie about what went down at the Fireflies’ HQ. Throughout the story, they developed a sort of father and surrogate daughter relationship, causing Joel to lie to her out of love. He didn’t want Ellie to die and would rather her live than find the possible cure. Which leads us to the second game. If Ellie hasn’t fallen for Joel’s blatant lie it could spark up resentment that she has towards him. If none of this happens, then Eliie’s hate could be directed at The Fireflies. In the trailer she says she wants to “kill every last one of them”. Along with this, a popular theory has sprung up that the Fireflies want revenge against Joel for having killed Marlene and taken Ellie away. If they succeed with their plan and kill Joel, Ellie would want revenge.

3. The Game Will Let Fans Play as Ellie – Druckmann revealed that Part II will be Ellie’s story, meaning she will be the main character that fans get to play. It makes sense, since Joel was the central star of the first game. Ellie was a playable character during the main story arc and through the DLC “Left Behind”, but this definitely has me excited. She’s one of the most authentic characters in a game I’ve ever seen, which only makes me want to play as her character more.

4. New Characters and Gruesome Acts – A cut-scene was shown at a Paris Games Week (PGW) last October, which introduced new characters. Taking their focus off of Ellie and Joel, the cut-scene shows some sort of cult dragging one of its members and stringing her up a tree. There’s a quick interruption of another cult member dragging a woman (who is clearly not a part of the cult) and “clipping her wings”. These new characters that will be introduce allow fans to see the world of The Last of Us and what it’s turned in to.

5. It Will Take Place in Seattle – Confirmed at PSX 2017, the setting of Seattle differs from the original game, which started off in Boston and ran across the U.S. to as far as Salt Lake City, Utah. Last time we saw Joel and Ellie they were back in Jackson County, Wyoming with Joel’s brother Tommy and his settlement. No information was revealed as to how long they stayed their or if they even left.

6. The Game Takes Place 5 Years After the First – This makes Ellie to be around 19-years old. While not much has been said about this, she’s become a young woman who spent her whole life in this post-apocalyptic world. She’s spent all this time being a fighter and she has to be ready to get her revenge.

7. New Co-Writer – After Bruce Stanley stepped away from the project, Naughty Dog hired a new writer for the sequel. Many of you Westworld fans might be happy to hear that they brought on Halley Gross, who was a writer for that show’s first season. Getting a writer from such a highly-praised show to work on a game like this only adds to how amazing this game will be and how much hype this game has developed.

I may have in fact missed a few things, but a lot of it seems to be speculation. So, let’s move on to what was released during the conference.

What We Learned at E3

Ladies and gentlemen, we got a new trailer with game-play! It looks so amazing! If you haven’t watched, or if you want to watch it again and feel even more hyped. You can watch the E3 trailer below:

Doesn’t Ellie look amazing? Let’s just dive into what this trailer revealed before I ramble on about Ellie and Dina.

1. The Story Picks Up In Jackson County – This wasn’t revealed until after the Sony conference at one of the panels, but yes, the game continues where we last saw our two central characters. This isn’t where the game starts, but we get to see what happened in Jackson County. Ellie and the two new characters introduced (Jesse and Dina) are part of a patrol team, which is lead by Jesse.

2. Where The Hell is Joel? – While he doesn’t seen in the trailer and gameplay, we get a name drop during the conversation between Ellie and Jesse. He tells Ellie that her “old man” has been telling him to do a better job leading the patrol. Hoping we get to see more of Joel soon. The story won’t be the same without him.

3. Ellie and Dina – This caused a lot, and I mean A LOT, of controversy among fans. For whatever reason, there are fans who didn’t believe that Ellie would be gay, even after seeing her kiss her best friend Riley as they were both getting ready to die in the DLC “Left Behind”. That’s fine, they’re entitled to their own interpretation of that scene but the majority of fans already figured out that Ellie had feelings for Riley, which lead to the kiss. Fast forward to yesterday, we see Dina and Ellie kiss while slow dancing, Fans were livid, claiming that “this is another game that’s forcing social justice and political correctness down our throats.” I won’t get into my own beliefs, but I’m so happy that Naughty Dog is taking this huge step and allowing a person in the LGBTQ+ community to be the central lead in a game. And it makes sense from a story perspective. If something were to happen to Dina or any one else that Ellie cared about, it would make sense that Ellie would want revenge against those responsible and “kill every last one of them” — which I referenced above. Quick note – Shannon Woodward is the actress voicing and doing the motion capture work for Dina. Woodward is best known for her work in the American sitcom “Raising Hope” and currently stars in “Westworld” as Elsie Hughes.

4. New Skills, Crafting, and Other Features – During the trailer, we saw that Ellie crafting an explosive arrow (which reminded me a lot of the new Tomb Raider mechanics), dodge melee attacks, hide in grass areas and under cars, maneuver through small spaces, and pick up ammo from dead enemies. The panelists also said that Ellie would be able to craft new weapons and other tools that she will have to use along her journey. These new functions bring a fresh experience that fans of the game will surely love.

5.  New Types of Infected and Cult Followers – Druckmann revealed at the panel today that there will be new kinds of infected that players will have to face. He also said that the people in the game-play that Ellie was fighting and the people from the PGW who were torturing the woman are part of a cult. Not much else was said on the topic leaving fans to wonder whether they are the ones who invaded their home in Jackson County.

6. No Release Date…Yet – Fans wanted one thing more than anything: a release date. Druckmann said, “We are going to disappoint people, but don’t have a release date yet. We’ll have a release date once we are sure we have a game that’s completely finished.” While fans like myself wanted a release date, what was revealed is amazing.

Final Thoughts

Yes, there were many details revealed, but at the same time I feel like they could have done more. I’m upset about not having a set release date yet, but I do understand that they wanted to make sure the game they release is something that all fans can enjoy. It also makes sense that Naughty Dog is keeping their cards close to their chest and reluctant to reveal major details, but I would’ve loved to learn more the mechanics, weapons, abilities, and may be a few more things about the story itself. But more than anything, I hope that we won’t have to wait until 2020 for a new game.

The Last of Us Part 2 is the sequel to Naughty Dog’s massive hit video game The Last of Us. We are covering all things E3 this week so make sure you check out other articles posted on the website!