Neil Druckmann says Last of Us Part II "might be more divisive" in a "very exciting way"

By Heidi Nicholas,
Naughty Dog has introduced a new video series, which will run over the next few weeks and give a "closer look" at The Last of Us Part II. The series kicks off today with "Inside the Story". If you're trying to avoid reading too much about the game before you play it, it might be best not to watch the video, as the Naughty Dog team lightly touch on early plot points.

Director Neil Druckmann says Naughty Dog hoped to “create a story that makes a commentary about the cycle of violence" and the "different consequences of one's actions". Commenting on their aims with the sequel, Druckmann says the "test" for them was whether they could "come up with a story that can... stand on its own and be meaningful" with "the same kind of feeling" as the Naughty Dog team had when they "came upon the story for the first one", but which was also "additive", so that "if you played both, then you get... a bigger narrative".

Narrative lead Halley Gross, meanwhile, says the studio "really cared about... honouring Ellie and Joel specifically", taking into account their "journey as characters" and what the "honest next steps" and "truest moves" might be for them. According to Kurt Margenau, co-game director, the sequel "expands" on seemingly everything: the "relationship between Ellie and Joel", the other relationships Ellie has, and the "greater world" of the game. "The core" of the game, Druckmann says, "is about these really intimate intense relationships". He adds that the sequel might "be more divisive than the first game" in a "very exciting way", in terms of "where players stand" on the various "interesting philosophical questions" they have to consider, adding that even within the studio, they've had "a lot of philosophical arguments about some of the events" in the game.

The Last of Us Part II is set 25 years after the outbreak, when Ellie is 19, and sees her move from Jackson, a "somewhat tranquil town in this really messed up reality", to the "warring factions" of Seattle after a violent event changes her perspective. "Just living is no longer enough", Druckmann says. "She wants retribution, and you as a player are going to want retribution for what these people have done."
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!