Naughty Dog has proven time and time again to be one of the most well respected developers in gaming history. Looking back at their previous games and their respective sequels, I think it's safe to say that The Last of Us Part II will be handled with much deserved TLC. In hopes to ease the nerves of some skeptical fans, Director Neil Druckmann stated during PSX "All I ask is that fans of the first one put faith in us and trust us. We're going to do right by you."
At first I was one of these skeptical fans. Don't get me wrong, I knew a sequel to the The Last of Us was inevitable, but I couldn't imagine how they could continue Joel and Ellie's story and possibly surpass the original. But, knowing Naughty Dog, they wouldn't give us an undeserved sequel. So, here's a few things we hope to see in the sequel to help make it the epic game that fans deserve.
TLOU did a pretty good job making us believe we were in a post-apocalyptic America with its littered streets, ransacked homes, and frightening fungus infected populous. All of this was achieved on last gen hardware. Utilizing the power of the PS4, we can expect to see much more detail and interaction in the environments in TLOU2. The original gave us the tools to craft on the fly, from medkits to molotovs, but imagine being able to use the environment to your advantage as well. If Naughty Dog builds upon their large explorable open areas from Uncharted 4, then we could be seeing much larger areas in TLOU2. This would give the players more freedom as to where they can go and what they can do, disrupting the linear gameplay just a tad. We aren’t expecting GTA sized open worlds, but giving us a bit of legroom would be nice.
The campaign for TLOU is definitely one of my all-time favorites. Surviving cross-country with Ellie was awesome, but I always felt like Naughty Dog really dropped the ball by not including any kind of co-op mode. The campaign is masterfully designed to be played by one player, but it would be great to get a co-op mode in the Factions multiplayer for TLOU2. Either an infected horde mode, where you survive for as long as you can with a friend, or even a story based co-op campaign. Some gamers don’t like competitive multiplayer game modes, and this would be the perfect alternative once you’ve completed your journey with Joel and Ellie.
The competitive multiplayer for TLOU has quiet a strong following despite having been released three years ago. Upon release, the original game launched with only two competitive modes along with a third releasing in an updated patch. Adding more content to their multiplayer would be a smart move by Naughty Dog and keep the gamers playing long after the credits roll. More modes and more maps, if they follow anything close to their Uncharted 4 DLC roadmap then they’ll have gamers playing for a lot longer.
The story for TLOU2 is going to be the deal breaker for most fans. If the story isn’t there, it just becomes another cash grab sequel. But if it can resonate with the audience as an extension of the first, and a complete journey, then it would truly become a worthy successor. A lot of fans were worried that a sequel would ruin the perfectly crafted story of the evolution of Joel and Ellie’s relationship, noting that most sequels do not surpass their predecessors. But, this is not always the case. If you look at The Godfather Part 2 or The Empire Strikes Back, these are sequels that are highly noted to be equal or even surpass the original. Making sure the story is the main focus would be the only way to ensure that Naughty Dog has a worthy sequel and that is exactly what Neil Druckmann plans to do. Taking the cinematic approach to heart, making the plot a necessary piece of the overall story arch connecting the two seamlessly, hence the “Part II” in the title.
So there you have it! We have high hopes and expectations for this ambitious sequel. Here's to next year and looking forward to uncovering what plans Naughty Dog has set aside for us as we eagerly await to be drawn into the post-apocalyptic world of the cordyceps virus once again.