Neil Druckmann reveals one part of the first game you may not expect influenced its sequel in a big way.
WARNING: This article is going to directly address spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2. If you haven’t finished the game and/or are trying to avoid spoilers at all costs, this article will talk about said spoilers openly.
While there’s been no official word on sales just yet, it’s looking like The Last of Us Part 2 is going to break a lot of records and be a rousing success. Much like the first game, it’s also sure to be discussed and referenced for years to come. For those who have finished Part 2, you know the events of the first title shape its story in huge ways, but maybe its biggest twist came from a place you may not expect.
One of the biggest surprises of The Last of Us Part 2 is that the game switches halfway through to a new character, Abby, and you see events unfold through her eyes for most of the second half. If you managed to stay spoiler-free among the many leaks, that was probably shocking. What’s maybe even more surprising is that in an interview at Indiewire with Writer/Director Neil Druckmann, he revealed the idea came from a very small section of the original The Last of Us.
In the first game, for a very brief section, you switch over to play as Ellie. As Druckman explains, he found the move to be surprisingly effective going from the rugged and typical Joel to the more vulnerable and much different character that was Ellie. That began the germ of the idea that would evolve into the dual narrative in Part 2, one that would see the two women on mirror paths to one another.
“With the first game, the exciting thing was role-reversal: You’re playing as this archetypal hero for a while and then at a certain point we flip it and you play as Ellie. Seeing how well that worked was so much of the inspiration here, and when we decided to make a game about empathy we knew we had to double down on that feeling — to structure the entire thing around getting you to connect [with unexpected characters]. You’re already connected to Ellie and Joel from The Last of Us, so we put them through a very tragic event, give you one look at a quest for revenge, and then shift to Abby in order to tell a mirror story of redemption that follows the person who — by killing Joel and avenging her father — has already accomplished what Ellie is trying to do, and is struggling to come to grips with it. We were trying to find those parallels you’re talking about, and to do so in a way where it’s not on the nose but it’s still showing you how these characters — under different circumstances — could’ve been friends.”
The Last of Us Part 2 is available now only on PlayStation 4. You can read our full review through here.