Who Would Star In A Last Of Us Sequel? Creators Won't Rule Anyone Out

The Last of Us may have ended; the credits may have rolled. But this is a video game! Of course it's not over. SPOILERS FOLLOW for The Last of Us.

The game's ending was so strong and, well, final that I don't really feel like it needs a sequel. And no sequel has been announced. But we're definitely going to get more stories from this world, if only in the form of the single-player downloadable content we know is coming.

Yesterday I had a long chat with TLOU creative director Neil Druckmann and game director Bruce Straley about, well, everything related to The Last of Us. Among the things we talked about were their plans for the announced singleplayer DLC, and the likelihood of Joel and Ellie returning for future stories.

I asked about a quote from an interview Druckmann gave to the PlayStation blog in which he said:

I think the world is ripe for more stories, but as far as the journey Joel and Ellie goes on [sic] it ends with this game. We were very conscious that we didn’t want to leave this story dangling. If we never do a sequel we’re OK with it, because we told the story we needed to tell.

That quote has been taken to mean that Joel and Ellie won't feature in any possible sequel at all, though my own reading was always more loose. After all, their journey did end, but it'd seems awfully unlikely that any sequel wouldn't feature Joel and Ellie in some capacity.

"I can clarify that quote, because I've seen it misquoted," Druckmann told me yesterday. "I said this journey for Joel and Ellie is complete. In a spoiler sense, I was referring to the journey with the Fireflies and what they're after with the cure and all that. We're not continuing that.

"But 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. 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."

Druckmann: "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. I can tell you there are people in the studio that would love to come back to these characters."

As for the DLC, that's much more set, though neither Druckmann nor Straley would share many details. "We're creating from scratch," said Druckmann. "Some people out there, they're asking, they're implying that we've cut things from the single-player campaign. That's not true. I wish that were the case, because we could just take it easy right now, polish something that was cut instead of [figuring out] how do we do this, how does it fit into the story. And we're taking the same approach as we did before, how do we do something that's meaningful, that is going to tell you something interesting about these characters, something new about this world. And add to the bigger part of the narrative."

"I think that's the big thing, what Neil just said," said Straley. "We're not just doing it to fill some fluff need to get DLC or something. We're actually doing it to tell more about the characters. We're gonna reveal more about the characters and about the world."

Druckmann says that they're making this DLC in part as a sort of test. "Usually between games we've just put out multiplayer DLC and we're like, that's a long time for fans to go, for us to go, without putting more narrative stuff out there. So it's like, well, let's see how we do! It's a challenge to ourselves, we want to show we can put really meaningful singleplayer DLC out there."

I'm looking forward to seeing what Naughty Dog, a company known for their single-player games but not their singleplayer DLC, does with the smaller, episodic DLC format. I've always thought that downloadable content gives game-makers opportunities to take risks and tell more interesting, specific stories than the larger games they accompany. (Think BioShock 2: Minerva's Den or Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker.) Given how risky and often unconventional the main story of The Last of Us already is, any DLC should at the very least be interesting.

I'll have much more on Kotaku from my conversation with Druckmann and Straley over the next few days. Stay tuned.


    The world of The Last of Us is interesting, I think we could have all new characters and settings and still find worthy stories to tell.

    Marlene mentioned Ellie's parents from time to time too, even the name of her mother. Could be an interesting way to link the stories together.

    Last edited 27/06/13 9:05 pm

    How about a small time clicker just trying to find her way through a big town world.

    And when she meets Mr. Bloater, you'll believe that love can bloom under all adversity.

      That was the most twisted thing I've read all week.

    The game world and lore is beautiful, I'm sure they could think up some more stories to tell for new characters.
    With the amount of times Marlene insisted that no matter what Joel went through, he had no idea what she had gone through, it makes me think that this new DLC will tell her story; perhaps the trials of the fireflies, or a parallel story telling their side of the events.. :P

    Last edited 27/06/13 9:44 pm

      Actually, another thought just occurred to me: (mild spoilers)

      When you jump off the bridge after narrowly escaping the Humvee, you find a washed-up boat with a note in it detailing the happenings of this guy named "Ish". You learn - through further notes as you progress - that he had been out to sea whilst the world had gone to shit, but eventually had to return for lack of supplies. He holed up in the Sewers, and created quite the hideout; eventually he ventured out into the Suburbs to look for supplies and encountered a family ("Kyle", "Susan", and a group of children) whom he was surprised 'didn't want to shoot him'.

      He grew to trust them, and took them into the Sewers (since looters were rather prolific in the suburbs). If you look around down there there's all kinds of leftovers and notes telling stories; you find Kyle's body along with those of the children he was with locked in a room, with a note explaining that he had no way to escape and would 'make it quick' if he had to.

      A note in the suburbs tells you that Ish escaped with Susan (and a few children, I think) and that he didn't know what to say to her having lost them; she wanted to go back in for the bodies.

      I didn't find any more notes related to Ish or his company after that... I'm assuming since the infected in the sewers are mostly clickers or greatly decayed corpses that it happened well before the events of the game, especially since the looting in the suburbs was supposed to have happened much earlier too.
      Perhaps it's implied that they died, or perhaps their story is yet to be told? Has anyone else found more than I have?

      So that's another possibility for TLOU DLC anyway :P telling Ish's story. :)

        I thought exactly the same thing; what happened to Ish?

        I didn't find any more than that on that particular side story either. But that's a brilliant idea. Would love to know more about it. Could definitely work for dlc

    I just finished The Last Of Us today, and I loved every minute of it. Can Naughty Dog tell a story or what?

    As soon as the credits stopped rolling I started a NG+ to finish off the collectibles, shiv doors etc.

    It would be great if they did another game and told a different story with different main characters.

    Or even
    Tell the story of Joel's fight for survival in the 20 year period between his daughter dying and meeting Ellie, and how he meets Tess, and Tommy joining the fireflies etc.

    Definitely looking forward to this single player DLC, got my season pass already. Come on, give us a date Naughty Dog, I got an itch that needs scratchin'.

    The Last of Us story takes place 20 years after the 'outbreak', many things happen those 20 years so there could be many stories to play for example what was it like in the early years of the outbreak or how the world changed through those 20 years. The sequels can be about Joel or anyone I don't really mind but after finishing The Last of Us twice I just wanted more.

    I hope they don't do new characters for a sequel. I would be less excited, knowing I'd have to get used to new personalities.

    As for DLC, I hope you get to play as the US President in 2013 dealing with the pandemic. It's a perfect opportunity to inform the audience how the pandemic is hitting the rest of the world, as well as giving us a look at the extent US government's knowledge on the infected.

    Forget the article having spoilers... The freaking title does. Cheers.

      How? I finished the game last night and can't see anything remotely spoilery in the title?

    How about Tommy DLC

    I'm okay with seeing more stories using the setting, but I hope they don't revisit Joel and Ellie at all, even if it's just a small mention. I loved where the game ended, and I like what happened after being left up to my own imagination, and any sequel that featured them would spoil that.

    If there is a sequel, I want to play as Ellie. I loved the part where you got to play as her. She's such an interesting character, well thought out and with deep personality.

    Last edited 28/06/13 12:27 am

      quite possibly the best character interaction in any game ive ever played. the acting of joel and ellie was top notch. never has a game been so emotional and made me really care about the characters.

    I was quite happy with where the story ended with Joel and Ellie. I'd actually prefer it if any possible sequel were to follow some new protagonists with Joel and Ellie featuring as a cameo. It's a vast world they've created and so making room for new characters will be very easy.

    Am I the only one who thinks Bill was cool?

      Nope, I liked him too. Some DLC on his story would be great.

      On a side note the voice actor for Bill was also Dan Dority in Deadwood. As soon as I heard his voice I knew it was him.

    I don't want them to touch the story they have created for Ellie and Joel's quest. It is perfect just the way it is.
    If they were to make more games set in the world, telling Joel's story from his 20 years during would be a great start. It is implied that he has
    Tried to kill himself, worked with Bill and given up something pretty big in the past, ran with a hunter crew, met up with Tess and spent some time as a smuggler, rejected his brother etc.
    There's quite a bit there already that was alluded to during the story.
    As for Ellie
    We only know a very small part of what has gone on in her past, I don't think playing out her past first hand would work for a few reasons, age for one, we can just get away with having her do what she does because of the age and also, it is implied that this is the first time she has had to do anything like what the events of TLoU required of her.
    Something set in Ellie's future however could probably work but for me it would need to be a meaningful addition to the world.

      the 4 issue comic series is set 1 year before the events of the game. ive got the first 2 but havent read them yet.

    i'm sick of not being able to read stories about the last of us! i really need to knuckle down and finish this damn game.

      i was like that too. was so worried it'd get spoiled somehow so i hauled ass to finish it quick.

    Look a good thing! Lets make another one!

    fucking hell.

    I think if they made a sequel, it should be a few years later, when Ellie is 16, and you get to be Ellie most of the time. Maybe Ellie could meet up with a new friend, or Joel could start dying, leaving Ellie only with Tommy and his wife at Jackson. Maybe Ellie could go back to where Joel lived to learn more about his past and Sarah, or join the military or the Fireflies. Maybe her father is alive, and she could search for him around the country. I felt that the ending of The Last of Us was good, but it made me feel empty, I wanted to know more. And a DLC with Ish, Tess, Tommy, Bill, or Henry would be fine by me. There were so many stories in the game that just made me want to know more about the world of The Last of Us and the characters it brings with it.

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