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The Last Of Us Part II has proven itself as a critical (our review, here) and commercial hit, but it turns out the game's divisive story could have gone in a few different directions.
In an interview with IndieWire, writers Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross revealed some of the ideas that were ultimately abandoned in the post-apocalyptic horror adventure. Before we go any further, please be aware that we're gonna have to discuss heavy spoilers for the game's story. You've been warned.
Let's start with the bad news. It turns out as much as none of us wanted it to happen, Joel was pretty much always destined to meet his end in The Last of Us Part II. With that said, there was originally a slightly different take on it - one that referenced his daughter, Sarah.
"What comes to mind right now is Joel's death," Druckmann explained. "In the first edit of that scene, you felt nothing. Ellie's being held down and Joel's looking at her and we had this idea of like, 'Oh man Joel's brain is so f*cked up at that moment that the only word that's coming out of his mouth is his daughter's name, Sarah.' It felt powerful, but then Troy [Baker, who plays Joel] - to his credit - was like, 'I don't think he should say anything.' We shot both versions, and Troy was right. The scene was stronger without it."
Gross also revealed that the story was initially intended to take place over five days instead of three, and that Joel nearly had a girlfriend that we'd meet early on in the game. We also learned that the ending was originally different, too.
"There was a whole side story where Ellie went to the Seraphite island," Druckmann said. "And we had so much more to say about the Seraphites and Ellie's journey there, and she's going through like the different layers of Hell and she still keeps going forward.
"In the farm sequence, you can find an entry in Ellie's journal where she writes about killing this boar and how it makes her feel - we shot cut-scenes for that. There was a whole playable sequence of her hunting down a boar and it was awesome, but we felt that for pacing and production purposes it was just better to remove it."
I'd be fascinated to learn more about where the game's story might have gone, but Naughty Dog really did nail the product we ultimately got. The Last Of Us Part II is already the fastest selling PlayStation 4 game of all time, so it's safe to say the studio has another hit on its hands.
Featured Image Credit: Naughty Dog
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