While Naughty Dog has yet to draft the final script for The Last of Us Part III, it’s safe to say that Neil Druckmann is all for the idea of bringing it to fruition at some point in the (hopefully) not-so distant future. Before the devs cross the t’s and dot the i’s, however, we thought we’d cut our teeth on the issues that stood out to us the most in Part II, and of course, the things that would rectify them should a third chapter eventually come to light. And judging by the amount of praise the HBO adaptation received earlier this year, we can pretty much count on a second sequel coming out at this point.
So, what are we crossing our fingers for, exactly, and what is the likelihood of any of our demands being fulfilled? Well, here’s how we’d slate them, from the unsolved issues with the prequel, to the unexplored gameplay features that just missed the mark.
5. More Flashbacks
The late Joel Miller was the iron backbone of The Last of Us. In death, perhaps not nearly as much, though Naughty Dog did go on to honour his memory through the use of playable flashbacks throughout the duration of Part II. Granted, his screen time wasn’t as long as fans of the series would’ve liked it to have been, but it was an honorary tribute that felt wholesome and appropriate to the ongoing themes of loss and self-discovery. And honestly, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t want more of those insightful moments to make an appearance in The Last of Us Part III.
Given the fact that Part II drew its eye away from the Texan smuggler and over towards Ellie and Abby, it’s fair to say that Part III will look to expand on these two characters and their respective strengths and weaknesses. That doesn’t stop us from wanting to see more of Joel, mind you — even if it is in the form of a ghostly apparition during the climax of Ellie’s ever-shifting journey to shape her moral compass. It’s only fitting, really, that The Last of Us ends where it once started several decades prior to Joel’s downwards spiral in the aftermath of his daughter’s death. And if Naughty Dog does decide to abandon the character altogether, then it’ll be a missed opportunity to tap into some truly fantastic storytelling.
4. A Reunion With Dina and JJ
One of the biggest themes in The Last of Us, other than the trials and tribulations of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, is parenthood. Since day one, the story has driven us through the motions of what, in a world dominated by morally-bankrupt factions and wrongdoings, it would be like to cater to a child’s needs for the sake of balancing out their own morality. This is something we watched reach its tipping point over the course of the second chapter, with the flashbacks depicting Joel and Ellie finally branching away from a shared life of violence, and towards something slightly more intimate and insightful.
Of course, by the time Part II closed the book, Ellie returned to a broken home—a plot of land in which Dina and JJ shortly departed following Ellie’s decision to tie loose ends with Joel’s killer. This is a tale that we’d love nothing more than to see come full circle, with Ellie reuniting with Dina and JJ, and in turn, giving Ellie the chance to relay core values and skills upon JJ that Joel would’ve once taught her. It’s a charming conclusion that many of us have put our hopes into seeing come to fruition, and it’d be a real shame to see all of those underlying traits be for nought.
3. Abandon the Cure Plot
Ellie believing that she was the only one capable of producing a cure for mankind was the one thing that kept her going, true. Having said that, the realisation that her life was worth much more than a potential meaningless cause was also what lay the foundations for the third chapter. And while still lumbered with the ever-intrusive mind that ties in with survivor’s guilt, the fact still remained: Ellie, no matter how much she once believed in the cure, wanted to live. Therefore, it would be a crying shame to see her revert back to her old ways and seek out something that, quite frankly, everyone had already stopped believing in.
The point is, it’s been roughly thirty years since the downfall of humanity, and the world as depicted in The Last of Us Part II has shown us that, regardless of how harsh these times are, life moves forward, as does Ellie and her quest to tackle her inner demons. So, if Naughty Dog was to return to the notion of there being a potential cure for the Infected, it’d be something of a step backwards for not only Ellie’s growth as a person, but just about every other survivor who’s poured their souls into learning how to rebuild from the ashes of a fractured society.
2. An Update on Abby
When all’s said and done, Naughty Dog was able to explore Abby’s story arc, both past and present, remarkably well. And so, as far as any future involvement with Abby’s backstory goes, we’re not all that bothered about whether it’s explored or not. That said, we would like to see what came of the fallen anti-hero in the aftermath of her final departure in Part II, what with her exit being littered with possible routes for Naughty Dog to capitalise on.
While you could argue that Abby isn’t the best character in the series by any measure, it’s fair to say that her story is, all things considered, one of the most compelling to date. It’d be a shame, then, if Naughty Dog was to remove her from the upcoming roster and rob us of any form of update. And while she doesn’t have to be the primary focus, it would definitely iron out any creases that the previous chapter unknowingly left behind.
1. More Exploration
If there’s one thing that felt overly rushed and not quite up to scratch in Part II, it was the lack of exploration — particularly in settlements like Jackson. Here’s hoping that, with a little luck, Part III will allow for us to get a better feel of how society operates in such a troublesome time, and not scoot us out the front door the first chance it gets. Because let’s face it — having a snowball fight and a dance within the confines of the Jackson settlement were, in all fairness, two of the standout highlights in the second chapter — even when compressed into snippets or flashbacks.
Don’t get me wrong, Part II was on the right track, what what it giving players a little more freedom to explore Seattle and its many vacant wonders. Having said that, there could’ve been a lot more, hence our desire to have a much wider open world in Part III. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but by giving us the extra wriggle room to soak up post-apocalyptic America would certainly boost those hours by a couple dozen or so.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our list? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see in The Last of Us Part III? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.