Everything we know so far about ‘The Last of Us Part II’

Reddit was right: Part of 'The Last of Us: Part II' takes place in Seattle

Naughty Dog’s survival game The Last of Us breathed new life into the zombie genre, with emotional storytelling that garnered nigh universal praise. It set a high bar for any sequel to clear, a hurdle that creative director Neil Druckmann recognized in 2014, claiming the studio would only do a sequel if they had “a story that’s really worth telling.” Druckmann and company seem to have found that story, having announced The Last of Us Part II at the PlayStation Experience in 2016. What story will the sequel tell? How will it build on the gameplay of its predecessor? Here is everything we know so far.

Story details

Naughty Dog has kept most plot details under wraps, but we know the game takes place five years after the original The Last of Us. Although the first game focused on the loving bond between Joel and Ellie, Druckmann told fans at PlayStation Experience 2016 that the theme of the sequel is “hate.” We also know players will primarily control Ellie rather than Joel this time around.

Following the announcement at PlayStation Experience 2016, Druckmann, along with voice actors Troy Baker (Joel) and Ashley Johnson (Ellie), took part in a panel hosted by Game Informer’s Andy McNamara.

Druckmann took care to reassure fans that Naughty Dog is treating the characters with the respect they deserve. He emphasized that the odd naming convention of Part II was important, saying “The Part II is really kind of doubling down on that to say we believe in this so much … The Last of Us is about these two characters specifically. So yeah, Part II is saying this is gonna be a larger story, this is a complementary story to the first game, but the two together are going to tell this much larger tale.”

Regarding the script, Druckmann’s co-director for The Last of Us and Uncharted 4, Bruce Straley, is not working on Part II. “Bruce recently decided to take some much deserved time off after shipping two critically acclaimed games in the last few years. He’s looking forward to returning to the studio soon and jumping back in on his next project,” Sony said in an official statement to Kotaku. Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who created the score for the first game, will be returning, according to Druckmann.

At PlayStation Experience 2017, Druckmann revealed the game will largely take place in Seattle, confirming a popular Reddit fan theory.

Trailers and other details

As part of the original announcement, Naughty Dog released the first trailer for the game. A visibly older Ellie (19, Druckmann has confirmed), plays a guitar in a ruined house. She discusses hunting down and killing a group of people, so she carries some of that hate Druckmann was talking about.

Interestingly, while  Joel is shown speaking to Ellie, he is kept out of focus, mostly seen in silhouette or shot from behind. The framing in the trailer has led many fans to wonder whether or not Joel has died in the time between the two games.

Naughty Dog released a second trailer during Sony’s 2017 Paris Games Week presentation, which was light on details but slathered in mood and brutality.

Unlike the first trailer, Joel and Ellie don’t appear at all in this trailer. Instead, we are introduced to new characters: In a dark, rainy forest a woman with a scar on her face, leading two henchmen, hangs one woman and tortures another before they are both rescued by a bow-wielding ally from the forest before the “demons” attack. Druckmann offered a little commentary after the fact on Sony’s Paris Games Week live-stream, pointing out that this demo was designed to both show off technical effects such as rain, and to emphasize that, while this is a direct extension of the first game’s story, the sequel will expand the scope of the series to be more of an ensemble piece. The characters in the trailer are some of the important new characters we will meet along the way. We know the young man’s name is Lev (13), and the young woman is his older sister Yara (16).

In addition to the trailers, Naughty Dog has also released some concept art for the game.

New cast members

In addition to Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, who will return to their roles as series protagonists, Joel and Ellie. The Last of Us Part II  will also feature a new character brought to life by Westworld actress Shannon Woodward, who revealed her role in the game via a photo on Twitter with director Neil Druckmann.

During The Last of Us: Part 2 cast panel at PlayStation Experience 2017, Sony introduced the three primary characters of the second trailer: Yara, the kidnapped girl who’s arm is broken, will be played by Victoria Grace. Lev, the boy with the bow, will be played by The OA actor Ian Alexander. Lastly, the as-yet unnamed character being hanged in the trailer, will be voiced by popular game voiceover actress Laura Bailey.

Release date and platform

Sony has not announced a launch window for when the The Last of Us: Part 2. At PlayStation Experience 2017, Druckmann claimed The Last of Us Part II was “50 to 60” percent finished. That doesn’t tell us anything real definitive, though it suggests that Naughty Dog has made significant progress since the game was announced a year ago. At that time, Part II was in the early stages of development.

As for when we’ll hear more, Druckmann said the PlayStation 4 exclusive would make an appearance at E3 2018.

Update: Added new details from PlayStation Experience 2017.

Gaming

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.
Gaming

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Gaming

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.
Gaming

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Gaming

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.
Computing

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Gaming

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Gaming

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.
Gaming

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.
Gaming

Kanye West wants to meet ‘Metal Gear Solid’ creator Hideo Kojima, for some reason

Rapper Kanye West wants to meet video game designer Hideo Kojima in New York. Nobody knows the reason behind the meeting, but fans are speculating that it may have something to do with Death Stranding for the PlayStation 4.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!