Despite the fact that the reveal trailer for The Last of Us: Part II was rather lengthy, the standout showing from PlayStation Experience didn't really give us much to work with when it comes to the upcoming game's characters and stories. One popular fan theory, though, already has people heartbroken over what may come.
While we're seeing this theory talked about all over social media and message boards, one of the earliest mentions of it seems to come from Twitter user Marianne Craven. It goes a little something like this:
Shown off during this weekend's PlayStation Experience reveal show, the sequel to The Last of Us got a huge round of applause when a scene of a dense forest and a rundown house panned back to reveal a sign with a firefly logo spray-painted on it. From there, we get typical Last of Us fare, which is to say a somber and beautiful scene of Ellie playing the guitar while hints of tragedy are revealed around her.
Ellie is stained with blood and we see a handful of dead folks peppered throughout the house. They don't appear to be the infected monsters from the first game, but rather the even more dangerous living and breathing types.
What likely guided my own thoughts toward this "Joel is dead" theory, as well as much of the internet, is the way the previous game's protagonist is treated. Naughty Dog has already announced that Ellie will be the playable character this time around and that, while the first game was about love, the sequel to The Last of Us will be about hate. We never really get a good look at Joel in the trailer, just a glimpse of his figure and his voice asking Ellie if she's really going to go through with her plans. Ellie then says she plans to hunt down and kill a lot of people.
So what would drive that kind of hatred? As Alpha Ryan says on Twitter, the death of the one thing she still loves could certainly push her over the edge.
Obviously, Ellie has lost a lot following the outbreak that led up The Last of Us. Her family and friends are all gone, including her first love. The game's world is a dangerous place, with tragedy waiting around every corner thanks to deformed monstrosities and folks who will kill a survivor just to steal the clothes off their back. Ellie can't even trust the Fireflies any longer. So in a world where she's only got one thing left to lose, what would she be willing to do to get revenge for having it taken away?
It would certainly make for a powerful story. Now we just have to wait and see what Naughty Dog actually has planned.