It finally happened. This past weekend, The Last of Us Part II was announced and already it’s gotten the buzz everyone saw coming. Of course there was going to be a Part II, come now, to think Joel and Ellie’s story was over would be foolish. It’s the way Naughty Dog went about announcing it that leaves a feeling of unease.
When The Last of Us was announced, it was done with a poise that, when going back to watch the reveal trailer, fits the feeling perfectly. It’s not overly heavy with emotion, while conveying just enough to peak anyone’s intrigue. That’s why I was so confused when they showed the reveal for Part II. Ellie is singing some heavy emotional song after slaughtering at least three people that can be seen dead in the video (probably more), and is just OK to pick up a guitar? Yes, her hand is shaking with the first glimpse of her as she prepares to lay down some tunes, but still. Below is the first reveal for The Last of Us for comparisons sake:
While the reveal for The Last of Us Part II is surely only the first of many trailers, it just felt out of place. Now, obviously, the context of the situation is lost, because there is nothing else to go on. Ellie and Joel look to be in Firefly territory and by the end of the trailer it’s obvious Ellie is pissed off about something. That doesn’t dismiss the thought that this trailer seemed a little too set up. You’re telling me there has just been a guitar laying around for 20+ years at this point and just one string is out of tune? Please. That guitar would be so rotted and warped Ellie would be lucky to get one note out of it.
After Ellie finishes her song about being blind to death, evil Joel makes his appearance, asking how she’s doing. Answer, she’s angry. While the direction the game seems to be moving in is weighted around anger, for now, I can’t shake the feeling Ellie has lost some of her…. Ellie. Ellie, like anyone, is a complex person, but to not even see a hint of the jovial/dark humored Ellie from the first game is troublesome. Joel was the pinnacle of anger and rage in The Last of Us. To have a game with two characters like that would be foolish. Ellie balanced Joel, and if this is lost, then so is the character audiences came to feel for so much.
People change, yes, but Ellie grew up in this world, so to see such a conflicting shift in her personality would just be odd. Again, though, this is the first the news to come about this game. I just hope we see more of the Ellie introduced in the first game, as opposed to someone who has become so bent out of shape, she’s unrecognizable. Ellie was the audience’s anchor in first game. She had a wide range of emotions and seeing all those emotions is what made her so touching. She was a nerd, hard headed, determined, kind and so much more. Losing even an ounce of this would be tragic. Imagine a game with no jokes from Ellie; not fun, is it?
For good measure check out that trailer one more time below: