Neil Druckmann admits it’s “hard to justify” another The Last of Us sequel

Isaac McIntyre
Naughty Dog / Comic-Con International

Naughty Dog vice-president Neil Druckmann has admitted it will be “hard to justify” another The Last of Us sequel to round out the post-apocalyptic series, despite how well-received Part II has been since its June 19 release.

The Last of Us series finally got a second main-series installment this month, after a seven-year wait for fans of the cult classic. Now writer Druckmann has warned this may be the final entry “for a long while”. Basically, there’s no ‘trilogy’ sequel in sight.

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Why? Well, like many storytellers, Naughty Dog wants to get it “just right.” If there’s no way for them to expand on their established characters, as well as the world and themes, the devs won’t pull the trigger on a third The Last of Us game.

“I think the test for whether or not to make a ‘Part III’ would be a similar test to what we did with ‘Part II’. With the first game, there were no expectations. It was like we could do anything, but now we’ve established certain characters and themes,” Druckmann admitted in an interview with IndieWire.

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There many not be another The Last of Us sequel from Naughty Dog if the devs can't find the Naughty Dog
There may not be a The Last of Us trilogy installment if the devs can’t find the “perfect story.”

“It felt like to justify making a ‘Part II’ we had to do something not that fans would just be comfortable with, but do something that would match the emotional core we found in the first game. Without that, there’d be no reason to do a ‘Part III’.”

Druckmann added Naughty Dog found it “much harder” to find that same drive for the sequel. They did eventually find the story they wanted to tell. Unfortunately, it took them nearly half a decade to find the same spark as the 2013 original.

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“Finding it with the sequel was much harder than it was with the first [title] and going forward it would be exponentially harder to justify going back to that world and finding a way to vary things up [all over again],” he continued.

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“There’s already so many things you’ve seen about the backstory, about how the outbreak happens. We’d really have to create a new experience that matches the emotional impact of these stories. I don’t know what that is… currently.”

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Naughty Dog expanded Ellie's personal growth and relationships in The Last of Us Part II.Naughty Dog
Naughty Dog expanded Ellie’s personal growth and relationships in The Last of Us Part II.

Naughty Dog certainly seems to have landed right on the money with the “emotional impact” in their sequel too. The second installment is filled with twists ⁠— many of which leaked early ⁠— and it’s already splitting opinions.

In the eyes of critics, the sequel has been nothing short of spectacular. Part II is already being tipped by many to be crowned game of the year by some. Conversely, the sequel has been slapped with an “unfavorable” 4.4 fan rating on Metacritic.

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The Last of Us Part II's heart-wrenching story has split fans and critics right down the middle.Naughty Dog
TLOU Part II’s heart-wrenching story has split fans and critics right down the middle.

There isn’t a new video game on the horizon any time soon, according to Druckmann. That doesn’t mean TLOU fans will go wanting though. Naughty Dogs’ series is officially heading to the small screen as HBO’s next blockbuster production.

In March, The Hollywood Reporter reported the series will cover the events from Part I, with the “possibility” of it delving into Part II in the future. The show has yet to confirm a release date, but casting is already underway.

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About The Author

Isaac was formerly the Australian Managing Editor at Dexerto. Isaac began his writing career as a sports journalist at Fairfax Media, before falling in love with all things esports and gaming. Since then he's covered Oceanic and global League of Legends for Upcomer, Hotspawn, and Snowball Esports.