Naughty Dog: “There Are People in the Studio That Would Love to Come Back to These Characters”
So. What does having one of the most widely beloved and critically acclaimed games of this generation get you? “A sequel,” screamed every publisher on the face of the planet loud enough to sunder it.
That’d be the traditional school of thought. Like Hollywood, the gaming industry no longer puts their chips behind one-off, difficult to market affairs. Every time a new IP is born, publishers typically bank on it becoming an overnight franchise. But The Last of Us isn’t your typical IP. I saw something incredibly special and engrossing in the game and, more than apparently, I’m not alone. It’s a unique title with an ephemeral quality I sincerely doubt a sequel could replicate.
But does developer Naughty Dog feel the same? The game’s creative director and scribe, Neil Druckmann really doesn’t mind if a follow up never gets off the ground. “We were very conscious that we didn’t want to leave this story dangling,” said Druckmann to PlayStation blog. “If we never do a sequel, we’re okay with it because we told the story we needed to tell.”
Fair enough. A masterpiece usually doesn’t finish with “To Be Continued…” (unless we’re talking about Back to the Future, but I shouldn’t even have to spout such universally known facts). Speaking to Kotaku, however, The Last of Us sounds more like a misnomer than anything, with Druckmann stressing that this one journey – referring to the central plot set up in this game – is complete for Joel and Ellie, yet the rest of his team isn’t against further Cordyceps-tactular misadventures.
“…As far as whether we come back to Joel and Ellie or not, or whether we come back to the world or not, that’s all up in the air,” said the writer. “I can tell you there are people in the studio that would love to come back to these characters, but the only way we would do it would be if we had something new, something meaningful to say. Because the last thing we would want to do is repeat ourselves.”
I found the end of Joel and Ellie’s narrative deeply satisfying, but truth be told – and this is a lightweight spoiler – the finale does leave a wide enough door open for a continuation. Does it need it? Hell, no. Would I be against revisiting two of the most roundly developed and engaging characters in video game history? Hell, no.
Until The Next to Last of Us is a reality, fans of the instant classic are able to look forward to single-player DLC focusing on a side-story that Naughty Dog assures us will reveal more about the characters and the post-apocalyptic world they struggle to stay alive in.