Naughty Dog Considering a 'Last of Us' Sequel - and Why That's Not Necessarily a Good Idea

According to an article over at Eurogamer, it would seem that Naughty Dog is considering the idea of a sequel to The last of Us, or other sequels to their popular IPs (not including the currently-in-development Uncharted 4). However, this might not be as great as it sounds.

Specifically, writer and creative director Neil Druckmann had this to say:

We have started brainstorming some stuff. To be honest, some of them are sequel ideas, and some of them are brand new IP - we've spent the last few weeks brainstorming new IP. So we have to get some good steps and see... It's kind of like how we approached [upcoming Last of Us DLC] Left Behind. Can we tell people a story that's really worth telling, and that's not repeating itself? And if we can't, where can we get inspired - what is something that's really going to challenge us, and push storytelling in this medium forward?

Personally, it seems to me like the idea of a Last of Us sequel is being blown a little out of proportion. Dreckmann mentions that they're mulling about with the idea of sequels to their games, but Naughty Dog has a pretty big back library of games that fans have been requesting sequels to, so I'd say it's not fair to count out the possibility of new Jak and Daxter or, dare I dream, Crash Bandicoot titles. Still, the obvious choice would be Last of Us, but that's a bit of a tricky area.

In my opinion, a straight Last of Us sequel would be disasterous - not financially, mind you, but artistically. The narrative of The Last of Us was a perfectly well-contained story in and of itself, with no need for expandeture. Even the idea of prequel DLC is a little weird to me, since I'm just not too sure what the game gains thematically by exploring Ellie's past. Sure, there's the pleasure of getting to play as Ellie before she ever even meets Joel, but what more is there to be added to the narrative of the game? To be fair, "Left Behind," doesn't come out until next week, so it could totally defy my expectations. Still, it's hard for me to imagine that the plot of The Last of Us is going to be greatly enriched by playing through Ellie: The Younger Years.

Now, that being said, I have to say that the plot of The Last of Us was not its strongest point. When all was said and done, the game was really pushed forward by this narrative that has been seen in plenty of other post-apocalyptic works (especially those pertaining to disease or outbreak of some kind). The idea of a single person carrying a miracle cure and their fight for survival is nothing new. The best part of the game, and the aspect that made it my personal game of the year, was the way that it melded the atmosphere and the gameplay so perfectly. The mechanics fed into this sense of tension that perfectly perpetuated the entire game, and the gameplay made you not just empathetic with the character's emotion's in any given situation, it actually made you straight up feel what Joel or Ellie would've been feeling in that moment.

So, that being said, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of a Last of Us sequel, as long as Naughty Dog can maintain that high level of gameplay quality. However, I think that it would behoove them to not simply have a Last of Us 2: The Continuing Adventures of Joel and Ellie, and to instead set the game in the same world, but follow a different narrative path. I think there's actually quite a bit of room for improvement with the narrative and if Druckmann speaks the truth and they really are trying to approach this new game by doing something new and "not repeating" older material, then I'm certainly looking forward to what comes next - whether it's a Last of Us sequel or something entirely new.

Matt Overstreet's picture
Matt Overstreet is the Creative Director at 8CN, currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and enjoys watching bad Nic Cage movies, playing too many video games, and reading silly books. You can follow him on twitter @chilidog0.
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