There's no doubting The Last of Us Part 2 as one of the more hotly anticipated games in the world right about now, even if it could still be a few years away. In this guide compiling all the information we have on Naughty Dog's sequel so far, we'll be going over the potential Last of Us 2 release date, all the Last of Us 2 gameplay we've seen, the new Last of Us 2 characters introduced in the sequel, and more.
The Last of Us 2 Release Date
The Last of Us 2 was revealed for the very first time back at E3 2016, which feels like forever ago at this point. This was the bombshell that ended Sony's presentation, and at the time there was no more information to go on for nearly a year.
So what did the trailer show us? It showed at least that Joel and Ellie would be returning for the sequel, but they'd be much older. Ellie is now out for revenge on some ground for an unknown crime, and Joel looks like he's more weary and tired than ever. It isn't easy surviving in the apocalypse.
But what's the release date for The Last of Us 2? Skip ahead two years after the game was first reveald to the world, and we still have no release window for Naughty Dog's sequel to their 2013 hit game. This means that a potential release window of 2019 is looking increasingly unlikely for the game, and a release window of 2020 at the earliest is more realistic.
The Last of Us 2 E3 2018 Trailer
At E3 2018 in LA, The Last of Us 2 was one of the four big titles shown off by Sony. Naughty Dog's game was introduced by composer Gustavo Santaolalla, and the trailer goes from Ellie meeting a potential love interest at a wedding, straight into cutthroat combat. We see Ellie sneaking her way around an enemy camp after witnessing a hostage get disembowled, and this marked the first time that we'd seen actual gameplay for The Last of Us Part 2.
Ellie silently takes out various enemies around the camp, and you can get a good look at the UI of The Last of Us Part 2 in the process. When the fighting gets going, it's clear that the melee combat has been reworked for the game since the original released back in 2013. This gameplay footage placed a particular emphasis on stealth. Ellie ran into tall grass to escape bandits, and she also hit under a van to elude pursuers, although she was then discovered when an enemy checked underneath the van, trying to find her.
The crafting menu has also been completely retooled for The Last of Us Part 2, and it looks like Naughty Dog is trying to make it easier to craft items on the go. After the trailer had debuted, Laura Bailey revealed on twitter that Ellie's love interest is played by Westworld's Shannon Woodward, who joined The Last of Us Part 2 last year.
The kiss caused outrage from bigots, but in the video below you can see actors Ashley Johnson and Shannon Woodward completely break down the entire scene. The pair talk about the challenges of getting the kiss to be so accurate, and intimate, while still in full motion capture gear.
The Last of Us Part 2 gameplay demo at Sony's E3 2018 presentation looked so smooth, that some people even questioned whether it was accurate and real. "Those were all real systems,” Druckmann said in an interview with Kotaku. “So at an E3 demo you take complicated systems that are random and we’re making them deterministic and we play it a lot and rehearse it and choreograph it, so we’re showing off very specific things. But those are all real systems that players will experience when they play the game".
Druckmann also spoke about the need to make the enemies in The Last of Us Part 2 smarter. "So we kind of rewrote the awareness system because we have much larger levels with more hiding spots and more verticality—because now there’s a jump button—they need ways to traverse all those complicated ways through the level. They communicate with each other much more than they have before".
Last of Us 2 New Gameplay Details
Later on, Naughty Dog co-directors Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau spoke to Gamespot about The Last of Us 2. "In classic Naughty Dog style, we always try to contextualize animations, so the dodge and shoot play away from the arrow is a different animation from when the blade is about to hit her", Newman said, about the new gameplay details shown off at E3 2018.
"It's not distinctly a healing animation [in the trailer], it's a particular status effect", Newman continued, with reference to the part where Ellie pulls an arrow out of her shoulder. This isn't actually a healing animation, but is in fact a mechanic entirely separate to healing.
Previously in October 2017, the new trailer for The Last of Us Part 2 just below was shown off, which should've probably come with some sort of content warning, considering it dealt with limbs being broken with hammers.
This trailer didn't give away a huge amount of information about The Last of Us Part 2 at the time. There was however a lot of speculation that the woman seen in the trailer was Ellie's mother, and that the game would therefore take place across multiple time periods. Check out the lower section of this guide for more information on the fan theories surrounding The Last of Us Part 2.
The Last of Us 2 Story Details
We don't currently know a whole lot about the plot of The Last of Us Part 2, but we do know that Ellie will act as the game's main character, with Joel in a supporting role (a reversal of the setup in the original), with Naughty Dog Creative Director, Neil Druckmann confirming Westworld's Shannon Woodward as part of the cast, and it was revealed at E3 2018 that she'd be playing the role of Ellie's love interest.
Speaking to IGN recently at E3 2018, Druckmann stated that Ellie is "the only playable character" in the game. This means Joel is entirely sitting this story out, and although he was entirely absent in the E3 2018 gameplay demo for The Last of Us 2, he will still be very much a part of the game.
Later on however, this was contradicted by Naughty Dog co-lead designer Emilia Schatz. When speaking to Jeux Actu, Schatz said that "at this point, we’re just ready to show Ellie as a playable character. That may change in the future, but we’re not really ready to talk about that just yet, so I think there’s quite a lot about this game that has not yet been revealed".
This raised a lot of speculation about whether Ellie wouldn't be the only playable character in The Last of Us Part 2, as Druckmann had previously stated. This might be speculation, but what we do know for certain is that Ellie will have an AI companion at points in the game. Remember when Druckmann teased over Instagram that they'd been working on motion capture with a dog for The Last of Us 2? That's one possible theory for an AI companion.
The Last of Us 2 Characters
But what about the rest of the cast of The Last of Us 2? Naughty Dog has been steadily revealing the cast of the game over the last year in their twitter account, and we've compiled a complete list of all the new characters in the sequel, just below.
The Last of Us 2 Multiplayer
In a recent interview with GameSpot at E3 2018, co-director Anthony Newman confirmed that Factions, the multiplayer mode from the original game, would be making a return in The Last of Us Part 2. "We're not going to talk details yet about what form that takes, but we can confirm there will be multiplayer", Newman concluded.
The Last of Us 2 Fan Theories
The game might still over a year away, but this hasn't stopped fans around the internet from searching for hidden messages or clues in the trailer, connecting some interesting dots along the way.
Is Joel Dead?
A previous fan theory was that Joel is already dead in the events of The Last of Us 2, and that Ellie is hallucinating when she sees him in the debut trailer from E3 2016. However this has probably been shot down by the E3 2018 trailer for the game, when Stephen Chang's character Jesse outright references Joel, proving that he exists for certain.
Is Ellie Pregnant?
Another intriguing theory is that Ellie is in fact pregnant, and that the guitar she uses in the trailer is hiding a baby bump. This theory stems from the comic seen just below, that could be found in Uncharted 4, the latest release from Naughty Dog.
Although The Last of Us Part 2 hadn't been announced at the time of Uncharted 4's release, fans have now speculated that this is a pregnant Ellie on the cover. There is speculation online about a government organisation kidnapping Ellie, inseminating her, and using the baby to create an immunisation against the virus. Ellie might be using a the gas mask in order to protect the baby, as she wouldn't need it herself.
Is Laura Bailey Ellie's Mother?
A very popular fan theory that's emerged since the E3 2017 demo of The Last of Us 2 is that Laura Bailey's character is Ellie's mother. Ellie's mother is named Anna, and Bailey's character has four letters in her name, as Naughty Dog's Twitter account teased without revealing her full name.
This would mean that The Last of Us 2 takes place across dual timelines. One timeline would focus on Ellie's mother, shortly after the outbreak, and the other would focus on Ellie and Joel in the present day. If this is the case, then the E3 2017 demo for the game shows of the past timeline, and it's worth noting that this demo of The Last of Us 2 is certainly shot differently to other sections that have been shown off by Naughty Dog.
Is The Last of Us 2 set in Seattle?
A more recent fan theory to emerge was on Reddit, where users speculated that The Last of Us Part 2 would be set in Seattle, Washington. The evidence? It was first noted that the parking signs used in The Last of Us Part 2 reveal trailer are the same as those in Seattle, which you can see in the image below.
Then there was fellow Reddit user RoganJosho, who managed to make a connection between a building in Seattle, and a building that could be seen in The Last of Us Part 2 concept art.
Then finally, Redditor Falconbox managed to pin down the locations of the two images in Seattle, which were revealed to be merely a few blocks from one another.
It certainly looks like this fan theory is onto something, especially when you think about the various locations that The Last of Us took place in back in 2014, effectively spanning over half of America. We'll have to wait a few years to see if this theory is more than thin air, but it definitely seems like a reasonable prospect for The Last of Us Part 2 to be set in Seattle.
This brings us to the conclusion of our complete hub for The Last of Us Part 2. But we we mentioned previously, we'll be keeping this page up to date with any and all future information that Sony or Naughty Dog announces.