While The Last of Us focused almost exclusively on the story of Joel and Ellie, the sequel looks to add a host of new characters to the post-apocalyptic world. As it turns out, some of them might even be joining Ellie on her quest for vengeance. So, look forward to falling head-over-heels in love with those folks before Naughty Dog stomps on your heart by having them die in some horrible, unspeakable way.
Even though we're several weeks past E3 at this point, folks are still rolling out coverage from the showroom floor. Over on Buzzfeed, they had a chat with The Last of Us Part II director Neil Druckmann, as well as cowriter Halley Gross during the big event. While they covered a lot of bases, our ears perked up when the conversation turned toward the possibility of having additional characters join Ellie on various missions.
Well, so, Ellie used to be an NPC, but she's the protagonist in this story, so the player is controlling Ellie...Umm, it's safe to say with the game that we made in the past that there will be some NPC with you in this story, even though we're not showing [the NPC] in this demo.
What's wonderfully infuriating about this comment is that it can be taken one of several ways. For starters, there's a possibility that the duo is referring to Joel here. He was the protagonist in the original The Last of Us, with Ellie not becoming playable until the Left Behind DLC. It has been made abundantly clear that Ellie is the star of the show this time around, with the only appearance of Joel being an off-camera voice during an early trailer that might not have even been him.
In that trailer, Ellie makes it clear she's on a quest for revenge so, of course, fans started theorizing that said revenge will be for the death of Joel. The most popular theory, and one that could even fit in with the above comment about an NPC being along for the ride, is that Ellie "interacts" with Joel in the game, but that it's more like his memory rather than the man himself. And again, these are theories, not spoilers. Joel could be alive and well in The Last of Us II but, given how frequently the first game punched us in the gut, we wouldn't be surprised if that's not the case.
Another possibility is that one of Ellie's friends is going to be at her side in some missions. The E3 smooch trailer introduced a lad and a lady who could fit that bill, and would even make a lot of sense from a drama perspective, since there's clearly a love triangle forming. One of the other LOU2 trailers also featured a muscular mystery woman, so maybe she'll come into play at some point.
Feel free to share your theories in the comments below. Either way, it's nice to know that surviving the horrors of the game won't be a totally lonely experience.