I loved The Last of Us. Hands down, it was one of the best – if not the best game on PlayStation 3.

I loved it again when the remastered version came out on PlayStation 4. And even though it’s been a while since I’ve played it, or even really thought about playing it, I still love The Last of Us. It’ll be one of those great games that will be exalted through the passage of time; the Pac-Man of 2013. It’s not going anywhere – it’s probably the most important title in video game history of its generation.

And yet, even with all that said, I can’t seem to get excited about its sequel. Is The Last of Us Part 2 really necessary?

The Last of Us felt complete. It felt written in a bubble; an entire story with a beginning, middle and an end told in a vacuum. Naughty Dog eked a bit more life out of it with the addition of the Left Behind DLC, but as a side story of sorts to The Last of Us, it worked. But a sequel? Yes, Joel and Ellie are still alive, they’re still surviving and doing their thing – but is there a real story that needs to be told there?

I feel like the closing moments of The Last of Us gave us everything we need to know about Joel and Ellie’s future. Joel chooses to save Ellie’s life over the possibility of saving the entirety of mankind, and in an effort to protect her, lies to her about what happened. Ellie would have willingly sacrificed herself, but Joel couldn’t bear to to lose the one person he’s grown to care about. Although it’s left fairly ambiguous, I’ve always felt like Ellie knew the truth. But she doesn’t kick up a fuss about it; she accepts Joel’s protection and love. They’re a family. And together they go off into the great unknown.

It’s not a traditional Disney happily-ever-after ending. We know, in the world that Ellie and Joel live in, there are no true happy endings, but they’re both alive, and together, which is as happy as we could ever have hoped for. Many more troubles and dangers await them, wherever they end up going, but they’re not troubles that need to be told or played out in the form of a sequel. I feel like The Last of Us Part 2 is going to be treading old ground; siphoning any last morsel of unique storytelling simply for the sake of a sequel. We’ve experienced the pair’s tumultuous journey of coming together and forming a bond. Let’s not push that bond to the limits. Their life carries on, but we don’t need to bear witness to it.

The Last of Us was brilliant because of its storytelling, and its storytelling alone. Sure, its gameplay wasn’t terrible – it was fully serviceable – but it was the story and its characters that kept us hooked, not the repetitive cover shooting sections, or the tedious stealth levels where we sneaked past Clickers. In terms of gameplay, it didn’t really do anything that dozens of other games hadn’t already done. We went through the motions of playing just so we could see the relationship of Joel and Ellie unfold; so we could watch through gritted teeth as they survived ordeal after ordeal.

A sequel though, needs to be much more than that. We’ve already experienced Joel and Ellie’s relationship fully. As an established family, having been together for several years now, there’s no bond to see blossoming over time. Trust is already there, and these characters are already fully-formed individuals whom we know well. Thanks to the passage of time we’ll of course have to reacquaint ourselves with them; learn what’s changed over the last few years since we last saw them – but is that enough to make a foundation of a game?

I feel like Naughty Dog never had any intention of continuing the story of The Last of Us; the sequel is very likely to be nothing but a response to the overwhelming love the game has received. I don’t doubt the company’s ability to craft a worthwhile game – hell, its got quite the track record – but I can’t help but think The Last of Us Part 2 is going to be disappointing compared to its predecessor.

Maybe I’ll be proved wrong. I hope I am proved wrong. But Ellie and Joel’s story should have ended where the first game left them.

  • victimblue

    yes we need one…who wrote this stupid article anyway?

    • Limit Break

      Someone who got your click, dude. Who wrote this stupid question ?

      • J.j. Barrington

        Someone who’s wondering why the article was necessary.

        • Limit Break

          Well, now you have your answer.

          • J.j. Barrington

            You asked the question I answered. But since things like adblock exist, and ad revenue is why clickbait articles exist, and clickbait writers can’t be ignorant of that by now, the original question needs revisiting.

          • Limit Break

            It doesn’t. It really doesn’t. I’ve got me some weed to attend to.

          • DarthDiggler

            @jjbarrington:disqus

            I find it surprising that internet ad companies like doubleclick, etc. Still use a central server to host their ads. IMHO they were asking for this.

            It would make more sense for GameSpew to host their own ads that way if you trying to block ads on GameSpew you may end up blocking all images on GameSpew.

          • J.j. Barrington

            I guess it’s good they’re not that smart yet.

  • Limit Break

    The first one was semi-boring. This can be JUST boring and effectively become what it was meant to be, so I guess YES !

    • DarthDiggler

      @limit_break:disqus

      The first one was semi-boring.

      With all due respect, are you 10 years old? Not being cute but it doesn’t sound like you can appreciate mature story telling.

      Do you understand a thing about pacing and character development?

      What was brilliant about The Last of Us was the way it took you away from the action long enough to give the characters room to breath. That philosophy was brought to Uncharted 4 as well but not quite as well executed IMHO (didn’t mar the experience overall though).

      Also much of that ‘down time’ help to create suspense as you knew something was going to happen. Which resulted in emotional parity between the players and the characters on screen. The slow moments made the heavier moments that much more intense.

      The Last of Us is not Duke Nukem.

      • Limit Break

        I am 24 and got more then enough of your “mature story telling”.
        Mature doesn’t have to be this boring shit. Shitty fucking QTEs, braindead combat, constant glitches and a few small towns in America worth of people killed. Boring, maniacle, unlikable, tear-jerker of a game with unsatisfying ending to boot.

    • Joseph D DeMatteis

      Duuuuuude…………….seriously?

      • Limit Break

        What do you think ?

  • Edonus

    First let me say……. I couldn’t believe something like this was written about a Ps4 game. These doubt pushing article are normally reserved for Xbox One games……. So for that WOW…”times are a changing”
    But
    When I saw the title I was ready to attack…… The Last Of Us was a stellar game. How could someone not want a sequel. But I read the article and its actually a well posed question. We do know the world characters and their dynamics. The story was the main draw to the game and it was told well. So do we really need to revisit this world again?

    I say **YES**. When you make a cohesive world with solid characters and interesting plot you should go back. You don’t have to tell the same story…. if they do it would be a waste. If the new game is about Elle taking some new kid under her wing on a journey…. Fail. If it is about the continuing relationship of Joel and Ellie….. Fail. If they show us more of the world and new dynamics like maybe the clickers are dying of but there are new factions of people (maybe with a different strain of the disease) pushing for control of the world. Something like that could be epic.

    So again I say yes.

  • Sweetbrandigirl2004

    Quote I feel like the closing moments of The Last of Us gave us everything we need to know about Joel and Ellie’s future. Unquote Well I and a few other million people DON’T feel like we know everything we need or want to known about Joel or Ellie.

    • DarthDiggler

      @brandi_parker:disqus

      BTW you can use the blockquote HTML tag to pull of quotes with gusto on Disqus.

      <blockquote>[TEXT TO BE QUOTED HERE]</blockquote>
      To use your post as an example…

      I feel like the closing moments of The Last of Us gave us
      everything we need to know about Joel and Ellie’s future.

      Well I
      and a few other million people DON’T feel like we know everything we
      need or want to known about Joel or Ellie.

  • J.j. Barrington

    NEED? No. We don’t NEED any video games. Ever.

    But that’s not the question that anybody should be asking, in the first place. Do we WANT a sequel?

    • DarthDiggler

      @jjbarrington:disqus

      The world needs a sequel to HAZE. 🙂

  • Brad Marcus Kirchhoff

    Well they keep making Halo games so why not? If they can keep that pos series going then they can make a series out of any game.

    • DarthDiggler

      @bradmarcuskirchhoff:disqus

      Well to be fair Halo: Combat Evolved felt like more of a start of a franchise than The Last of Us which was a very intimate story. So I can understand where the author is coming from.

  • Simon Morris

    Hey Kim,

    I can kinda understand your hesitation and nervousness that TLOU2 will retread old ground and not have anything new to add… But then again you don’t know whether that was always the original ending Naughty Dog had in mind or if they had any extended or sequel in mind when they wrote the original.
    Perhaps you should (considering this is the same writing team) consider showing a little faith and give them the benefit of the doubt.
    I immediately thought on finishing the first game, how Ellie would react if or when she ever learned the truth – so the sequel leads on from there.

  • DarthDiggler

    @Kim

    As long as Naughty Dog treats The Last of Us 2 with as much care as they did for Last of Us 1 I don’t see why a few more sequels couldn’t work.

    • Joseph D DeMatteis

      Exactly!

  • The VeGene

    How was there an ending? The virus is still a thing. The Fireflies are still a thing. In fact, it had the opposite of closure because it even ended on a lie. So I am not too entirely certain where this vacuum ending is.

  • Joseph D DeMatteis

    I am really happy they are making this game. I have faith in Naughty Dog to handle the franchise and characters with the care they deserve. The ending of the first game made me want to see what has become of these characters later down the timeline. I expect the storytelling and game play to be top notch.

  • “or the tedious stealth levels where we sneaked past Clickers.”

    Just one thing: Those sections were so much more intense than in other games, because you actually cared about the characters. Everybody have to understand, that in TLoU, gameplay is bonded with the story, thats why it is so masterful. You care, that’s the ultimate difference…

    I don’t like that they make a sequel, because i think the story was completed, but i hope they have found a story worth for a sequel, i still don’t believe it, i think it will be too similar, same scenarios over and over again, but we will see.

  • David

    I think we do need A The Last Of Us 2. Yes, the ending told us a lot about Joel and Ellie future. But, that future was and is tenuous, and it could lead to another story.

    The ending of TLOU is essentially Joel stealing Allies freedom and the future of mankind because he was too broken by his daughters death to be able to let Ellie die. He then lies to her about it.

    When the truth comes out, Ellie is gonna feel betrayed. She runs from Joel to fulfil from Destiny, to find whay scientists she can who can help her save mankind. Joel doesn’t like that, not one bit. He made a mistake, he was careless. He let Ellie out of his sight, left her unprotected, he needs to get her back, and never let her go again.

    So Ellie is being pursued by the most dangerous man in the post apocalypse, who wants to capture her and keep her save. Whether she wants it or not. Joel’s fatherly bond just skews to it’s natural conclusion – an obsessive, possessive and dangerous stalker. At the culmination, Ellie is forced to recognise there’s nothing left of the man who she cared for and kill him, before walking calmly to her death.