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Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, the writers and directors for The Last of Us, have already started conceptualizing some ideas and prototypes for The Last of Us 2. However, they can't really get into the nitty gritty of the sequel until they finish up the DLC for Uncharted 4.
According to Gamerant, Druckmann has explained to the public exactly when they'll begin working on The Last of Us 2, stating...
Before my partner, Bruce [Straley] and I, my directing partner, came on to Uncharted 4 we were working on prototypes for different ideas within The Last Of Us universe. Without going into specific genres [there were] ideas outside the The Last Of Us.
There's a lot to absorb from what he's saying there.
First up, Druckmann and Straley were playing around with ideas outside the genre of The Last of Us. He doesn't specify how they approached it, but I wonder if they were toying with concepts like the ones Telltale uses for titles like The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands?
I could definitely see a more point-and-click oriented Last of Us game working.
There's also the mention of prototypes and different ideas... it sounds like they were working with some things from scratch rather than building off what they had. If that is the case, I'm curious to know how they were rebuilding the gameplay and what sort of changes they were going for?
The key takeaway here is that Druckmann is talking about prototypes, which is different from story concepts. He appears to be interested in the direction of the gameplay for the sequel to The Last of Us, rather than simply talking about characters and story ideas. If that is the case, then it's definitely exciting to know that they aren't just thinking about telling a new story, they're thinking about pushing the boundaries gameplay, which is a really cool thing if that turns out to be the case.
Lastly, don't expect any major updates on The Last of Us 2 until after Naughty Dog releases the single-player DLC for Uncharted 4.
The team is already prepping for the action-adventure's release on May 10th for the PlayStation 4, but following that they have plans on finishing up the single-player expansion and rolling it out for PS4 owners as soon as possible. After that, Druckmann and Straley will head back to the drawing board and begin tampering with those prototypes they were working on.
The Last of Us was one of those rare mixes where the gameplay was thoroughly solid and the story helped carry it from start to finish. It was hailed as a masterpiece by many within the critic's circles and within the gaming community itself. Druckmann and Straley have a tall order ahead of them if they plan on topping what they accomplished with the first game.