Joel and Ellie made it out alive, but did they really escape danger?
The original launch of The Last of Us was a refreshing departure for Naughty Dog. As much as we love Nathan Drake, seeing Uncharted's level of polish, deep storytelling, and rich character development in an entirely different world is richly satisfying.
So naturally, we're expecting big things out of the Last of Us sequel. The Last of Us II is on its way for the PlayStation 4, and if you haven't kept up until now, then we're here to get you up to speed.
What's the story so far? Spoilers for part I ahead
As the name implies, this is a sequel to Naughty Dog's 2013 PlayStation 3 exclusive. That game was eventually remastered for the PlayStation 4. The Last of Us is an adventure game that features stealth and shooting mechanics at the core of its gameplay.
There's also a survival horror element to it, with much of the player's path being blocked by ghastly looking things called Clickers. These beings are actually humans who have been infected with a deadly strain of the cordyceps viral strain, a virus which makes them cannibalistic and mutates their bodies.
Players control Joel (voiced by Troy Baker), whose life was turned upside down when military soldiers came and shot his daughter at the onset of the outbreak. Joel had to live decades with the pain until a girl named Ellie (Ashley Johnson) was thrust into his life by a survival group known as the Fireflies. They tasked Joel with helping to smuggle Ellie from within a quarantined zone to their hideout.
Reason being? Ellie is actually infected, but instead of turning in three days like most of the other folks, she has been symptom-free for three weeks. They believe the cure to the virus lies within her, and they want to perform lethal surgery on her to find it. Joel is unwilling to let Ellie die, however, as he has grown attached to her - perhaps because she helps fill the void left in his heart by his daughter's death.
Long story short, they eventually escape, and that's where The Last Of Us II will pick up. In actuality, about five years have passed between the events of the original game and the sequel.
What's happening in Part II?
Not much is known about the events that will unfold in The Last of Us Part II at this time, though we do know that Ellie and Joel are returning, with players controlling the former this time around. It's also said to have an overarching theme of hate in stark contrast to the first game's emphasis on love. Hint: Ellie is pretty grown up (19 years old), and she's the one who's pissed off now.
We also know it'll be a much darker game in tone, and that it'll double down on the whole cannibalism angle. The two trailers we've gotten about the game so far have been unrevealing in regards to the story, but considering there are still hordes of infected threatening the unnamed characters we can at least assume that a cure was never found.
Joining Joel and Ellie are a bundle of new characters, too. Victoria Grace is playing Yara, Ian Alexander will play Lev, and there will be a guest appearance from Emily Swallow as Emily. Laura Bailey is also confirmed to have a significant role in the story with a yet-to-be-named character. And at least part of the game is taking place in Seattle, Naughty Dog confirmed.
Naughty Dog hasn't yet revealed much about The Last of Us Part II's gameplay. We can at least expect similarities to the first title, which featured a third-person shooter base with stealth and survival elements. Players can shoot, of course, but there's also a crafting system for making tools, weapons, and consumables that you'll need throughout the game.
You can also expect cooperative mechanics that'll require the teamwork of both Joel and Ellie, puzzles that'll need to be solved before you can move through an area, and more. We're also sure that a multiplayer component will be returning for the sequel.
When can you play it?
Unfortunately, a release date for The Last of Us Part II has yet to be set. Sony will likely reveal more information at E3 2018. It's possible the game could launch later this year or in early 2019, with recent murmurings suggesting Naughty Dog was as far as 60% into its development in December 2017. Don't get your hopes up, however, because mum is still the word.
We'll be updating this page with new details about The Last of Us Part II as they come in. Be sure to check back often for the latest!