After years of contemplation, Neil Druckmann finally has a common thread for The Last of Us Part III, he says. Game studio Naughty Dog indicates that it is probably the last game we will experience with Ellie and Joel. It will take a while before it arrives. Naughty Dog is currently working on a whole new IP. Gives us some time to think about what we hope for from The Last of Us Part 3.
Neil Druckmann has a concept
Note: This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us Parts 1 and 2, so if you haven’t played them yet and want to play them, you might want to save this article for later. The Last of Us Part III has of course been hyped by fans for a long time, but we are now hearing something more concrete about it from the studio for the first time. Very nice, but at the same time the big speculation really begins. Druckmann has lifted a glimpse of the veil. For example, he says in a documentary: “The first game had such a clear concept of the unconditional love a parent feels for their child. When we came up with the idea of pursuing justice at all costs, justice for those you love, in the second game, we felt like there was a clear concept and a line with the first game: love. If we can never do it again, this is a nice ending. The last bite of the apple, the story is done.”
“The great thing about working at Naughty Dog is that we don’t have to do that,” he added. “It’s always like, ‘We’d love to do another Last of Us, but if you guys feel like you’re passionate about something else, then we’ll support that other thing.’ It’s a privileged position to be in, I never take that for granted. I just thought about it, ‘is there a concept?’ And in recent years I haven’t been able to find that concept. But recently that has changed and I don’t have a story, but I do have a concept that for me is just as exciting as 1, just as exciting as 2, stands alone and yet an ongoing line has for all three. So it feels like there’s probably another chapter to this story.”
Would Ellie die?
Okay, let’s zoom in on the fact that he says there is a common thread: it started with unconditional love between parent and child, it continued with justice for the people you love… Will the third part be about saying goodbye? who do you love? Of course, we’ve already had a big farewell in the franchise, so it doesn’t seem obvious (and also very hopeless to end there). But it should be clear: it has to do with love. No money, no war, but love. What kind of love, that is the big question. However, it is very clearly stated that there is only one chapter, so that implies that it is really finished after that…
We’re just going to say it: would Ellie die? Many people are afraid of it. On the other hand, it could be nicely worked out. You see her life flash before her, hopefully while she is very old, Dina and the child by her side, wouldn’t that be wonderful? There are people who wish it wasn’t about Ellie, but that is what this game franchise is about. Or would that be so intense: should it be about Dina, for example, because Ellie is no longer there in this horror world full of Cordyceps? And why is Ellie no longer there, perhaps to help science with its ‘antidote’?
The Last of Us Part III
However, the world will probably soon be able to be helped and it won’t be such an unpleasant place anymore, or will it…? Plus, Ellie probably fought way too hard and that would be ‘giving in’. Doesn’t she, as our heroine, deserve a more dignified ending? There is a good chance that she will do something with her immunity anyway: after all, there is not much left to build on. Moreover, the end of part two also gave us that feeling that the third part – if that were to come – is the part in which Ellie finally gets the goodness she deserves. And the Fireflies probably play an important role in that. That’s where it started, shouldn’t it end there too?
As iconic as TLOU is, many gamers do not want a third installment. They think that the quality cannot continue the same and are happy with the ending of The Last of Us Part II, which itself also had a round ending. Not a very bad thought, but they will have to move away from that in the years to come. And Joel, should he come back? For example, if it becomes a prequel and not a sequel, then Joel can certainly return. Otherwise it quickly takes the form of a voice in Ellie’s head or all kinds of flashbacks or dreams. We hope as a voice, so that it does not become too vague and too ‘living in the past’. A prequel also doesn’t seem entirely appropriate, because we’re not quite done with Ellie yet, and especially not with those Cordyceps.
Hordes of Cordyceps
We therefore hope that the third game might also borrow something from the popular HBO Max series, which, for example, introduced the idea that the infected were in some kind of network via Cordyceps fungi and that the fungi let infected people know where people are, after which they coming at them in hordes. Neil Druckmann has already said that he would like that in the game, so we expect to see hordes of creeps coming our way in part three. Hordes of horror and a strong story, please. With Ellie? With Ellie.