Naughty Dog held a panel for The Last of Us: Part 2 this Saturday at PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, California. Eager fans finally received more information about this highly anticipated sequel from the cast and creative team behind the game.
Writer and director Neil Druckmann remained mostly tight-lipped about the details surrounding that intense Paris Games Week trailer, but still managed to give the crowd a taste of what was to come.
The panel began with a musical performance by Troy Baker (Joel) and Ashely Johnson (Ellie) who had already confirmed their return to the franchise. They were joined by Druckmann, writer Halley Gross (Westworld), as well as the three actors featured in Paris Games Week Trailer, Laura Bailey (Mystery Woman), Ian Alexander (Lev), and Victoria Grace (Yara).
Druckmann and Gross discussed their goals and expectations for the release of the game. Their focus was on raising the stakes, and being sure that audiences know that “no one is safe”. When asked if Joel was alive or dead at the start of the game, Druckmann simply replied that “everybody dies at some point.”
They went on to explain that while the theme of the first game was love, the theme of this sequel is hate. Druckmann stated that the game tells a story of “pursuing justice; the positive and the negative and the really messy grey area that can occupy that.”
Gross, who is making her first foray into writing for games, discussed how she was brought into the franchise and her excitement at getting to work on “the best game ever.” Druckmann already had the story beats mapped out for the beginning and the end, but brought Gross in to help fill up the middle.
When discussing Gross’ involvement early in the process, Druckmann was searching for an example of some of the things she had contributed. After a considering it for a moment, he revealed that “After her first day, Halley goes home and says to her husband, ‘I think I got someone pregnant.’ And you’ll see what that means.”
Laura Bailey commented on joining the cast and the pressure of working on such a popular game. She told audiences there is a incredible amount of pressure to live up to expectations, and she feels that every day on set.
Other reveals included the fact that the game will take place largely in the Seattle area, and that the studio is tentatively 50-60% finished.
“There’s going to be fans of the first game that aren’t going to like the second game,” Druckmann warned at one point during the discussion. “And we have to be okay with that.” But he also worked to reassure everyone that the game wouldn’t be entirely as dark as the trailers might suggest. “There is hope, there are some lighthearted moments.”
However fans will have to wait until E3 2018 to decide how they feel about the upcoming release. Druckmann confirmed that the game will be appearing at the conference next year, an announcement that was met with an uproarious cheer from the crowd.
You can view the entire panel above to hear the complete interview hosted by Youtube personality Hannah Hart.