The first The Last of Us game was released way back in June 2013, almost six years ago. While many fans have hope that The Last of Us Part 2 will finally arrive in 2019, rumors suggest that they might be waiting even longer.
Without question, the story of The Last of Us grabbed the attention and hearts of players all around the world when it first launched, and is widely regarded as one of the most compelling single-player stories ever created. Naughty Dog, the game's developer, has kept fans guessing about where the story will go next ever since the first chapter of Ellie and Joel’s story came to an end.
The silence is deafening, and has in turn caused massive hype for the sequel. There have been some clues to suggest the next instalment isn't too far away, including some interesting movement in the PlayStation Store, leaked release dates, and information from industry insiders, but how does that stack up with recent developments? Let's find out...
There is no official release date for the game yet, but more than one retailer leaked the timeframe of its launch, which increased the likelihood of a 2019 release date. Plus, an industry analyst also hinted at a brand new trailer being in the works.
Firstly, a Peruvian retailer posted an advert for the upcoming title that gave it an 'October 2019' launch date - as found by The Loot Gaming.
The Last of Us Part 2 also appeared in the 'coming soon' section in the PlayStation store around that time, alongside a number of games which launched this year - such as Days Gone, Mortal Kombat 10, and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, before it was removed on April 5.
Following that, European retailer ProGamingShop posted a number of listings for upcoming titles, with Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part 2 given what looked to be a potential release date. According to ComicBook on April 21, the advertisement slated September 27, 2019 as the release date.
While the dates differ in previous leaks, the common denominator was, of course, 2019 - a positive sign for the game's fanbase. Yet, what's been confirmed as the most highly anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusive title in a survey conducted by IGN, looks to be heading for a much later launch than expected.
Back in May of this year, Kotaku's news editor Jason Schreier tweeted it's likely that Naughty Dogs' schedule has been pushed back to early 2020. That would obviously put a dampener on things for fans hoping for a 2019 release. A recent rumor from Chinese gaming forum A9VG reinforces Schreir's claim, stating that the game is indeed set release in February of next year, and will have four different editions available for purchase: a standard edition, a special edition, a collector's edition, and an Ellie edition.
Looks like Death Stranding is about to get announced for a November release. The Last of Us 2 was also planned for fall 2019 but I actually just heard it got bumped to early 2020, possibly February? Either way, wild final year for PS4 https://t.co/wh6kimA73b— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) May 29, 2019
Ellie's voice actress Ashley Johnson also added fuel to the rumor during an interview with Brian Foster from YouTube channel Critical Role. The actress appeared to accidentally slip up when talking about the game's release date.
"So let's touch on The Last of Us Part 2 - when's it come out by the way?" Foster asked during their interview. "Um, I think it's coming out in Fe-" she began to say before she was interrupted. There aren't any other months beginning with the letter F, so her slip up reinforces the rumor of a February 2020 arrival.
(Timestamp 1:07:01 for mobile viewers.)
Those waiting for a Last of Us Part 2 news are becoming impatient. One Twitter user highlighted the fact it has been nearly a year since any official information came out about the game.
While no news was provided in return, Director of Communications at Naughty Dog Arne Meyer, did provide a response. He tweeted "Can't say much, but we'll put new things out when it and we are ready. Appreciate you and all of our fans' patience!"
Can't say much, but we'll put new things out when it and we are ready. Appreciate you and all of our fans' patience!— arne (@arnemeyer) April 6, 2019
While Naughty Dog showed nothing at E3 2019, composer Gustavo Santaolalla posted a sneak peak of the game's music onto social media platform Instagram. So, with sounds now out there for people to hear, how much longer will the game be left to our imaginations?
Another interesting thing spotted by The Last of Us fans is a job listing from Naughty Dog, after the Co-Game Director of the project shared it to Twitter.
"Lot of awesome positions open to help us close out this game... I especially want to highlight the Melee Animator position," Anthony Newman tweeted on May 10. Could this mean that they're coming to the end of the project, or still some time away from completion? It's unclear at this time, but "closing out" would suggest that it won't be too far away.
Lot of awesome positions open to help us close out this game... I especially want to highlight the Melee Animator position, I guarantee you will be working on some *dope* animations working with my good friend @Leethul 🗡️💀 pic.twitter.com/vmlVkJlfTl— Anthony Newman (@BadData_) May 10, 2019
While the first installment of the Last of Us had an incredibly impressive single-player story, the multiplayer aspect proved pretty popular too.
At E3 2018, game directors confirmed that Factions multiplayer would be returning. However, players have since uncovered that the recently released Sony 'Day of Play' box says there will not be multiplayer support for the game.
This might prove to be a mistake from Sony's end considering the jobs listings reveal that multiplayer-focused positions have been on offer, but it's something to keep an eye on nonetheless.
Players of The Last of Us Part 1 got the chance to play the game through the eyes of both Joel and Ellie at times throughout the campaign. While the developers have confirmed that Joel will still be a major character in Part 2, they have also hinted that Ellie will be the only character that we can play as.
Of course, we should take news like this with a pinch of salt. The developers have been keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to the story of The Last of Us Part 2, so they might be keeping a few surprises under wraps until the finished article finally emerges.
Much like Part 1, Part 2 of The Last of Us will feature an AI companion that is by Ellie’s side throughout the story. Unfortunately, we have no idea who that will be yet.
"Well, so, Ellie used to be an NPC, but she’s the protagonist in this story, so the player is controlling Ellie. 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," Neil Druckmann, the director of The Last of Us franchise, told BuzzFeed.
“And our general approach is to say, again, ‘How do we treat them like people? How do we get them to behave honestly as those people? How do we give them interesting characteristics so that they can navigate the world, make meaningful actions, and surprise you in the way people do?'”
Other reports suggest that Naughty Dog has actually been using motion capture equipment on a number of real dogs, which would presumably be brought to life in the game.
Given the lonely nature of the post-apocalyptic world in which Ellie finds herself, there's also chance that the next major AI companion could be a canine. We've seen it work well before with Bethesda's Fallout 4, but nothing has been confirmed on that front as of yet. This could just be for dogs that generally appear in the wild, for all we know. However, it's still an interesting route the new game could take.
Other than the obvious fact that various zombies, including Clickers, will still be scattered around the world, the various enemies in The Last of Us Part 2 still largely remain a mystery.
The fine folk at Naughty Dog have given us a sneak preview of one enemy group, though. The E3 gameplay demo showed that the Seraphites, a group of religious fanatics, will have a major role.
"They're super deadly, and the way that they communicate with each other with the whistles, they're able to coordinate with each other without revealing to the player exactly what they're doing,” Anthony Newman told Gamesradar. “So you can pay attention, but you're only kind of getting partial information about their plans. It makes them a lot creepier to deal with."
While little is known about the Seraphites, Naughty Dog have showcased an incredible look at the in-game model for one of the main villians, Yara, who will be played by actress Victoria Grace. The image was taken from Lead Character Artist Soa Lee's portfolio, and shows what The Last of Us Part 2 will look like when it's finally released.
Everything that we’ve seen so far suggests that The Last of Us Part 2 will play very similarly to Part 1 with a few tweaks and quality of life improvements. The Workbench crafting, which has already been hinted at, will return with a revamped and fresh new look with plenty of new options to upgrade weapons.
There are more options for sneaking around, like crawling under cars or through long grass, and there’s a visibility indicator that can be used to work out how easy you are to spot.
Combat has also received some upgrades, like a dedicated button for dodging and even more gruesome scenes of violence than the first chapter had. If you’re squeamish, this might not be the game for you.
The production for the game looked like it was all wrapped up in April, as Naughty Dog Vice President Neil Druckmann tweeted out an image of what looked like its finished script. Now, fans just have to wait for its launch to find out what type of story has been crafted this time round.
Just shot this scene... so... 😔 pic.twitter.com/uyjbpTdfxC— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) April 17, 2019
If you want to play The Last of Us Part 2, you’ll need a PlayStation console. History tells us that, but a statement from Sony's CEO Jim Ryan suggests that while rumors could be correct and the game could be released on PlayStation 5, it will more than certainly be released on current gen consoles.
"For the next three years or so, PS4 will be the engine of SIE’s engagement and probability, as we seek to keep the existing owner base engaged and delighted and attract new owners from different markets and different demographics,” Ryan said, as reported by IGN. "In this we will be massively helped by an outstanding roster of new and exclusive games that have yet to be launched.”
It seems incredibly unlikely that Sony will allow it to be released on any other platform, especially considering the fact that Part 1 is many people’s go-to game when they explain how PlayStation has been winning the exclusive titles war in recent years.
Article last updated on July 5, 2019 at 12:54pm (PST).