My Predictions for The Last of Us II
Ghostly Premonitions for Naughty Dog's Anticipated Sequel
In May 2020, Naughy Dog is once again immersing us into the dark, dreary, and depressing world of The Last of Us. With the focus primarily on Ellie, now grown and full of rage, the highly anticipated follow-up is sure to be just as emotionally charged as the original. It is Naughty Dog, after all, a developer known for drawing raw emotion from its fanbase.
While the tone of The Last of Us II is pretty obvious from the trailers, there are still many things up in the air. Ellie’s latest adventure is going to put her up against some terrible odds, but what will unfold as she ventures further away from the safety of her encampment is largely a mystery.
That’s where my spectral premonitions come into play. Join me as I dissect some of the predictions I have for Naughty Dog’s last title for the PS4. Some may be obvious, others I’ve inferred from the track record for these types of stories. All of them I firmly believe will be present in The Last of Us II.
A Major Death
If The Last of Us proved anything, it’s that Naughty Dog isn’t afraid to devastate its players. The loss of Tess was predictable, but that didn’t soften the blow thanks to the incredible acting of Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson. Later in the game, we were hit again with the sudden deaths of brothers Sam and Henry. Again, predictable but effective. Then that segment with Ellie and David left us in pieces.
There is no way The Last of Us II will let us get to the end credits without breaking our hearts along the way. Realistically, there will be a few moments that will leave our eyes watering, but I firmly believe a major character we met in the original will succumb to the world around them. My prediction? Tommy.
This death is going to be personal, cruel, and something that further fuels Ellie’s search for revenge and Joel’s reemergence.
A New Strain of Cordyceps Will Emerge
I’m not just talking about new infected variants, which we already know are coming. It’s not uncommon for fictional pathogens to take a turn, mutate, and create an even more dangerous foe. This new infection will be more aggressive than the original and will see the first strain as prey. It will tear through what’s left of humanity without mercy, creating a horde of “super infected” that make traversing the open world dangerous.
Chances are, it will either show up closer to the final act and will leave our heroes without hope of survival or be alluded to at the end of the game. I’m split on whether or not it will be a natural mutation or part of human experiments, though I don’t suspect there’s much “sciencing” left going on in the world.
Ellie Is No Longer Immune / Isn’t the Only One Immune
I suspect either one of these scenarios will show up in The Last of Us II.
In the trailer, we see Ellie sporting a mask to protect from spores. While it’s likely that she doesn’t want to breathe the infected air in, it could also mean that her immunity is called into question. If we’re dealing with an advanced strain of Cordyceps, we can expect her to be susceptible to infection like any other human being. Whatever was protecting her from the original strain wouldn’t be strong enough to stand up to a mutated variant.
If that’s not the case, then I foresee another person emerging as immune to the pathogen. Maybe it’s because of them that we revisit the cure and Joel’s slaughter of the Fireflies.
We’re Not Done with “The Cure”
Remember that cliffhanger ending, where Joel flat out lies to Ellie about the Fireflies and the cure? You can bet that will come back to bite the caring patriarch in the butt. Either through his own admission or overhearing a conversation, Ellie will learn of his betrayal and may again set out to find the answers for a cure - this time without Joel at her side.
It’s likely why Ellie seems surprised to see Joel in the trailer that dropped in May 2019, and why Joel almost looks ashamed or worried of her reaction. It’s likely that they haven’t seen one another in a while after Ellie learns of Joel’s deception, and the old man has been keeping tabs on her from afar.
It Will Set Up a Third Entry
Everyone loves a good trilogy. A story as big as the one laid out in The Last of Us was simply begging to be stretched out over two more games. The tragedies of The Last of Us II will be the catalysts for what unfolds in the third entry. This is also why I don’t think Joel’s death will come in the second entry. Instead, it will rip our hearts out during the second or third act of the inevitable third title.
The Last of Us II will set up a bigger threat that won’t be resolved, giving us the foundation for a third and concluding chapter.
It Will Further Drive its Passionate Fanbase
Talk to someone who really, really likes The Last of Us, and there is no doubt that they will defend Naughty Dog’s dramatic adventure with their every breath. Sometimes to a fault. Unfortunately, The Last of Us II is going to make them even more passionate. The thing is, there’s a difference between loving a game and becoming aggressively defensive of it. The Last of Us may deserve the praise it receives, but Naughty Dog doesn’t need an oversensitive fanbase standing at the frontlines spewing hate.
On the flip side, it will almost definitely draw a small pocket of hate for solidifying that Ellie is a lesbian. The fact that she kisses a girl will (again) cause some of the strangest (and vile) dialogue for us to be having in the 21st century. As if we already didn’t go through this when the trailer released.