The first The Last of Us game was released way back in June 2013, which is almost six years ago. While many fans have been looking forward to The Last of Us Part 2 for quite some time, their wait for its launch might very well soon be over.
Without question, the story of The Last of Us grabbed the attention and hearts of players all around the world when it first launched, as it's widely regarded as one of the most compelling single-player stories ever created.
Naughty Dog, the game's developer, might have 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.
There have been some clues to suggest the next instalment isn't too far away, including some interesting movement in the PS online store, leaked release dates, and some information from an industry insider.
There is no official release date for The Last of Us Part 2 yet, but more than one retailer has now potentially leaked the timeframe of its launch - with 2019 looking to be increasingly more likely.
Firstly, a game retailer based in Peru, LAWGAMERS, posted an advert for the upcoming title that seems to feature 'October 2019' as the launch date - according to a report from The Loot Gaming.
Sony's activity just after that leak will have certainly kept fans on their toes, too. The game was moved to the 'coming soon' section in the PlayStation store, alongside a number of games which are expected to launch in 2019 - such as Day's Gone, Mortal Kombat 1, 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 a release date of September 27, 2019.
While the date is clearly different to that of the initial leak, they both suggest the game could land during this year, and not alongside a next generation console such as the PlayStation 5, as rumors have suggested. Until an official announcement is made by Naughty Dog, though, this is all - unfortunately - speculation.
It seems those waiting for a Last of Us Part 2 release date, or any news whatsoever for that matter, are becoming impatient. One Twitter user highlighted the fact it has been nearly a year since any official news come out about the game.
While no news was provided in return, Director of Communications at Naughty Dog, and video game developer Arne Meyer, did provide a response. He said: "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
However, an industry insider has revealed that fans can look forward to a whole lot of The Last of Us Part 2 news before the start of this year's E3 trade fair.
"Considering we’re getting an official TLOU2 update before E3, would be really weird if it wasn’t 2019 now wouldn’t it," user Aokiji posted in a ResetEra thread, alongside a gif in jest. The user has reportedly been correct in the past regarding PlayStation leaks, too, according to GamesRadar.
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
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 - where new characters are concerned.
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 released 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.
If you want to play The Last of Us Part 2, you’ll need a PlayStation console. History tells us that, at least.
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.
We expect that The Last of Us Part 2 will be released for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, but nothing is confirmed yet.
Article last updated on May 14, 2019 at 08:10 (EST).