'Last Of Us 2' Spoilers: Story Questions Ellie's Pre-Determined Fate Vs. Random Human Choice

'Last of Us 2' breakdown Joel Ellie end
"What are you doing, kiddo? You really gonna go through with this?" Naughty Dog

When faced with extraordinary moments such as of crisis or tragedy, people may try to rationalize the experience with either of two very different ideas: A.) "Everything happens for a reason," or B.) "Everything is random and unpredictable and the choices I make ultimately determine different outcomes."

In The Last of Us 2 reveal trailer earlier this month, we saw how an unforgiving life of survival and loss has caused Ellie to become consumed by hate. As Naughty Dog director and writer Neil Druckmann explained, "If the first game was really a theme about the love between these two characters and how we built that through story, music, interaction and gameplay interaction, [The Last of Us 2] is the counter of that – this story is about hate and how we use all those same things to make the player feel that through Ellie."

The Last of Us 2 takes place several years into the future. Ellie is now 19-years-old and a whole lot has happened since we last went on an incredible adventure with them in the first title. While we don't know what happened to Ellie and Joel during that time and the teaser does little to fill in the blanks, gaming site GamesRadar+ unearthed an obscure radio interview with Druckmann over the summer that reveals several themes that The Last of Us 2 could explore.

Since Southern California Public Radio 89.3 KPCC's chat with Druckmann was in July, The Last of Us 2 was not revealed at the time. That said, it's clear now that, "the story I'm working on" Druckmann was referring to is the surprise sequel:

"I think about the story I'm working on right now," Druckmann begins when the interviewer asked why his games often revisit a character's past in order to explain their emotions. "That theme is definitely there. I think a lot of times because I think about myself or other human beings and what are the events that have shaped us? What are kind of the choices that have defined who we are and have led us to this place?

"I think it's also tied to human nature or human choice versus destiny. Having grown up not in a very religious home, but where religion was a big part of it, and this concept that everything happens for a reason. Even when horrible things happen, like in our family or to friends, you would hear this statement: 'everything happens for a reason.'

"I'm just wrestling with that concept. Is that true? Or is it just totally random? And never quite coming to a good answer and maybe that's why I just keep exploring those concepts."

Given the bleak aftermath of the infectious outbreak, it suggests that faith is no longer as powerful as it was in the past. Although Ellie sang a song with many religious themes, she vows to find and kill every last one of her enemies, which suggests she is determined to take matters into her own hands.

On the contrary, a very popular fan theory suggests that Joel is dead and only exists within Ellie as a moral compass or guide from the beyond. The theory also offers an explanation for Joel's tone as an observer in the trailer as well as why Ellie has become the lead playable character. If Joel's interactions are truly only spiritual, then we may also see Ellie struggle with faith in a different form. As far as Ellie is concerned, "WWJD?" stands for "What Would Joel Do?"

What are you thoughts about The Last of Us 2? Let us know in the comments section below.

Loading...
Join the Discussion
Top Stories