A reader is worried that season 2 of The Last Of Us and the third video game are both in danger of undoing the legacy of the originals.
It’s been a strange few months for The Last Of Us. One minute it’s being lauded as the best live action video game adaption ever and the next it’s exposed as having one of the worst PC ports for years – that Sony and Naughty Dog clearly knew about but released anyway. Then it’s got this multiplayer spin-off coming up, that I’m not sure anyone cares about, and suddenly it doesn’t quite seem like this unstoppable prestige franchise anymore.
I’ve enjoyed both games, multiple times, but I’m already worried about talk from the TV makers about changes they might make to the story in season 2. I’ll avoid spoilers here but it’s so fundamental to the whole thing I don’t see how it could work out as well if they change it. Especially as it sounds like they’re making the changes for non-artistic reasons and that they’re worried the story would be too hard for audiences to stomach.
I imagine, in HBO’s eyes, the creators have earned the right to do whatever they want now and despite the PC fiasco Sony probably feel the same about Naughty Dog. Probably. Naughty Dog have said their next proper game will be either a new IP or The Last Of Us Part 3 but I think we all know what they’re going to choose.
There’re good arguments to say they should never have made a Part 2 and while that did turn out good it was only because it completely changed what the story was about and subverted the character of Ellie until she was unrecognisable. It worked but only because it was completely different to the first, and even then the game was far too sympathetic towards Ellie, considering everything she did.
If there is a third game it’s inevitably going to redeem her and that is going to be such a betrayal of the story. Sure, she’ll probably be redeemed by doing something that kills her, but that’s still too much for all the evil she did in Part 2. And if they actually tried to give her a happy ending, well… that would be even worse.
You can say that they wouldn’t do that but then how do you make a third game? What would Ellie do? Would she be a straight-up villain? Would you be playing as someone else fighting against her the whole time? I just don’t see any scenario that wouldn’t be both hugely unsatisfying and also very contrived.
The first Last Of Us story was a pretty simple zombie apocalypse set-up, just with better characters and writing than usual. The second one had hardly anything to do with zombies and was basically a meditation on vengeance and the cycle of violence. A third film could be about something completely different again but the problem with the show and the sequel is that they’re getting too attached to their leads.
The show is hinting about changing their fates entirely, when they shouldn’t, and the game has nowhere to go with Ellie without completely undermining the whole of the second game. Naughty Dog should just leave well alone but the problem with anything nowadays is the if it’s a name people have heard of companies just will not let it die.
Imagine if Back to the Future was made nowadays, we’d already be on sequel number 12, instead of doing the sensible thing and stopping while they were ahead. Games in particular are never allowed to do this, and I think it’s a real shame. I’m infinitely more interested in seeing Naughty Dog do something new rather than risking the whole legacy of what they’ve done up to this point.
By reader Simon
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