It’s been a year since Naughty Dog and PlayStation released The Last of Us 2. A revenge story set several years after the original game and starring Ellie, the only person known to be immune to the cordyceps virus. It was a divisive game amongst critics, though many loved it’s bold change of direction. But what can we expect from the future of the franchise? Let’s talk through some theories – spoilers ahead, folks!
The Last of Us 3 – is it in development?
Earlier this year Neil Druckmann, Creative Director at Naughty Dog, appeared on the Script Apart podcast with the writer of Last of Us: Part II, Halley Gross. In the podcast he said that they had already written a plot outline for a Last of Us 3, but that it wasn’t currently in production. There was a seven year gap between launching the first Last of Us and Part II, so a sequel not being in production right now less than a year later makes sense. But is a sequel coming?
Yes. That’s what I’d bet on anyway. Part II sold 4 million copies in a week and has the most game of the year awards in history for a single title. The one caveat to this is that games are now harder and more expensive to make at the AAA tip of the spear, so it might be an even longer gap between the sequel and an eventual Part 3.
We do also have to consider that an HBO TV show is currently being made with The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal and Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey. The show is in pre-production at the moment and we anticipate it to be released in the next couple of years, depending on schedules. It might be sooner than you think though as there is currently no announced season three for The Mandalorian, meaning Pascal has a break in his schedule. The Last of Us 3 could be released timed with later seasons or after the HBO show has finished.
On the other hand, Sony and Naughty Dog may be planning a curveball. It was reported earlier this year that Bend Studio, the PlayStation-owned developer of Days Gone, had been working on a new Uncharted as well as a remake of The Last of Us. According to insiders, the project has been handed to Naughty Dog though we’d question the decision to remake such a beloved game less than a decade after its original release and subsequent PS4 remaster.
What will happen in The Last of Us 3?
We finished Part II with Joel dead, Ellie missing fingers and her family but seeming to have understood and accepted what happened to her in the series so far. But a big part of Part II was Abby, a new character to the series who goes from murdering Joel to protecting her accidental companion, Lev.
When the first game ended with Joel lying to Ellie about dooming humanity to the virus I thought I was done with that story. But I thought Part II was a much better game and a fascinating continuation to that first story. As the game finished with Ellie walking off into the woods with no explicit goal I have to say I wanted to know where she was going. But also when you finish the game you’re treated to a shot of a boat on the island that Abby has been told the last remaining Fireflies have escaped to. Both of these stories have places to go in my opinion, and I think Naughty Dog does as well.
My hope is that a Last of Us Part 3 will follow the model of Part II and have Ellie and Abby as protagonists, but I’d like to see them flipped. Abby leading us through the beginning and then a flip to see what Ellie has been doing for that time. Ideally I would like to see these two women bury the hatchet and work together. According to Neil Druckmann the theme of the first game was love, the second was rage. Maybe we could see a third game themed around hope.
But what about Factions?
While it’s easy to get hung up on sequel chatter, Naughty Dog aren’t done with The Last of Us: Part II just yet. One of the highlights of the original game was its tense multiplayer Factions mode – desperate online skirmishes with an interesting yet light metagame. With a year having passed since the sequel first launched, we’re eagerly waiting for an update on when Factions is coming. It’s mere speculation, though there’s a chance Sony could be holding it back for a PS5-enhanced edition of the game. They may also be planning to release Factions 2.0 as its own standalone game.
- The Last of Us Part II review
- 10 tips & tricks you should know before playing
- How long to finish The Last of Us Part II?
- Find the Strange Relic Artefact location
- Why you should play The Last of Us Part II on Survivor difficulty
- Photo mode tips & tricks
- Do I need to play the first game before Part II?
- Where is the Factions online multiplayer?