Many reviewers, critics, and fans hailed The Last of Us as ‘perfect’ or about as close to perfect as a game may be able to get. Whether you agree with the use of the adjective or not, there’s no denying that The Last of Us is a special game, earning the title of the most awarded video game of all time. Developer Naughty Dog successfully gave players a riveting story, an immensely detailed world, and a cast of characters they found themselves truly caring deeply about.
With rumors circulating from Nolan North supposedly ‘confirming’ that a sequel to the game is happening , it’s the perfect time to speculate what direction another iteration of The Last of Us could go. Fans have often debated whether the game needs or warrants a sequel, but if such a game does come upon us, where do we want it to go? Major spoilers are inbound!
Pick up right where the original left off
The final act of the original game finds Joel and Ellie arriving in Salt Lake City, only to be captured by Fireflies who aim to perform surgery on Ellie in hopes of her being the key for a vaccine for the infected (as Ellie is immune) by removing her brain, which would ultimately lead to her death. However, Joel escapes with Ellie before the surgery can begin, kills Marlene when she tries to stop them, and flees the city with Ellie. The real kicker here is when Joel tells Ellie how it went down. He says to her that the Fireflies found others who were immune like her and no longer need her to find a cure. Ellie asks Joel if he swears he’s telling the truth – and he does just that.
The sequel could pick up from that exact moment and screenshot, and follow where Joel and Ellie go from here. The relationship that blossomed between the two was one of the most special parts of The Last of Us, and continuing to see where they go next, or how their relationship changes from this point on would be an interesting way to pursue how these final events at the end of the original influence the pair. Does Ellie find out Joel lied right to her face? (If people continue getting infected, she most likely will). Or how far will Joel go to protect Ellie and make sure she never really does discover the truth? Do the other Fireflies find her? Will Joel regret letting other people die by saving Ellie?
Explore when the infection began
Naughty Dog may consider actually visiting the time period between the prologue to the game, when Joel loses his daughter, Sarah, and the 20 years that passes after the initial spread of the infection. Joel is a character that probably has dealt with a lot more than he ever truly lets on, as he only begins to open up to Ellie as the story progresses in the main game. The opportunity to explore the story of a younger Joel and truly dive into his backstory could contain poignant moments, as well as include intimate details through backstory with Tommy, Bill and Tess. The original plot doesn’t delve far into the history between Joel and these characters, and there could be a lot to explore there that players would certainly enjoy.
Follow two completely different characters
Perhaps the best way to avoid receiving too many comparisons to the the original would be to stray as far from it as possible by not making Joel and Ellie the main characters. Other parts of the country, other situations, and other characters being doomed by the infection would allow Naughty Dog to tell a whole other tale, while still retaining the incredible world that they created in the original game.
Where do you want to see The Last of Us go from here? Let us know if you think it’s headed in one of these three directions, or if theis doomed and dark world will be going for something completely different.