Despite The Last of Us Part 2 being a little under a year away, we pretty much only know two things: it’s going to be depressing, and that we’ll only be playing as Ellie this time around. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to tough it out alone. In fact, director Neil Druckmann has confirmed that Ellie will have someone in tow with her throughout the game, but he’s playing coy on whether it’s a certain grizzled father-figure.
The twosome of Joel and Ellie in the original The Last of Us fast became one of the most iconic duos in PlayStation history, with their relationship getting stronger and stronger as the game progressed. But if Ellie’s taking the lead this time, where’s Joel? Druckmann is choosing his words very carefully, as you can see below:
“Well, so, Ellie used to be an NPC, but she’s the protagonist in this story, so the player is controlling Ellie. Umm, it’s safe to say with the game that we made in the past that there will be some NPC with you in this story, even though we’re not showing [the NPC] in this demo.”
Naughty Dog obscuring Ellie’s new (or old) partner, coupled with Druckmann’s seemingly spoiler-conscious stuttering, makes me think that Joel is kicking the bucket early on in the game and someone else is stepping up for swimming lesson and whistling duties. Say it ain’t so! Still, at least we’re getting someone along with the ride, be it Joel or another person entirely. But, seriously Naughty Dog: let is be Joel. My heart can’t take anymore melancholy and pain.