The Last of Us Part 2 is a pretty dark game, any way you look at it. But a recent interview with writers Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross reveals the game originally had a much darker ending. Be warned, there are major spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2 in the rest of this article!
Speaking to IndieWire recently, the two writers on The Last of Us Part 2 divulged some pretty interesting secrets surrounding scrapped and changed content. If you've finished the game and have some lingering questions, I'd highly recommend reading the full interview, as Druckmann and Gross break down characters and motivations throughout the game.
"For more than 50 percent of the production, Ellie used to kill Abby at the end," says Druckmann, of the scene where Ellie drowns Abby in the sea at Santa Barbara, but spares her at the last moment. This "gave a whole different kind of feel to the ending, and then another character would have to stop the cycle of violence," Druckmann continues.
This certainly does paint a much darker picture than the ending we got. It's easy to imagine Lev seeking revenge on Ellie if she did murder Abby at the end, kickstarting the whole cycle of revenge one again, with questions likely lingering about whether Ellie really had overcome her PTSD through murdering Abby.
Instead, Ellie spares Abby, and by association Lev, letting the two walk free. Instead of Ellie's trauma being ended in a manner of violence, she opts for a more hopeful solution, choosing to remember her bond with Joel and her attempt at forgiveness with him instead of his death. It's actually a hopeful ending, and really drives home that The Last of Us Part 2 is about far more than just revenge.
Here at USgamer we've got excellent further reading if you've finished The Last of Us Part 2. Head over to Kat's writeup of the game's biggest twist only just landing, or you can read her review of the entire sequel.