The lights are on
I beat The Last of Us a couple weeks ago, but that adventure is still ringing through my head like a brass bell. The game easily sits on my list of the five greatest games from this generation, and yet, I don't think I want to see a sequel.
(The following is spoiler free. But if you want The Last of Us spoiled for you, go here.)
The Last of Us tells a grim story about a world 20 years after a terrible plague ravages the world's population, turning many into zombie-like monsters. Born among the ashes of civilization is Ellie, a young woman who might hold the key to curing this terrible disease. Her journey across the country alongside her new found guardian, Joel, is a riveting, white-knuckle rush. The game's action was so well balanced that I constantly felt like it was tethering between feeling capable and getting lost in the chaos. I loved every minute of it, and I didn't want that journey to end. Even so, now that I've finished the game, I don't think I want Naughty Dog to revisit the world with a sequel. The reason is simple: the story is too good.
I'm not averse to sequels. I walk away from plenty of experiences eager for more. I dreamt about The Avengers sequel for months following last year's summer blockbuster. I can't wait for EA's recently announced Mirror's Edge continuation, and I'm looking forward to new entries in series like Tomb Raider, XCOM, and Telltale's The Walking Dead. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really into what I like to call the Tony Hawking of games; I'm tired of seeing a new Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed game every year. However, I think some games are built to become series, while others make a better standalone experience. The Last of Us is the latter.
I know that Naughty Dog is thinking about potential sequels. Honestly, I won't mind if it tried to make a spiritual sequel to the game – take the scavenging mechanics and the intense action from The Last of Us and wrap them around another story set in a completely different world. However, I think Naughty Dog would be doing The Last of Us a disservice if it turned its newest property into a franchise, because The Last of Us told such a powerful and complete story that adding anything more to it would dilute the original.
I want to respect those who haven't played the game yet, and I want them to be able to play through the game and enjoy it for all it's worth, so I won't include any spoilers here, but I will say that The Last of Us' tale left such an impact on me that I'm sure I'll still be thinking about it years from now. The biggest reason the game's story hit me so hard is because Naughty Dog crafted some amazingly interesting characters.
I think it's kind of funny that Irrational Games spent so much time talking about the effort it put into crafting Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite, while Naughty Dog's characters are easily the most believable in video games. Don't get me wrong, I thought Irrational did a great job with Elizabeth. She was cute, funny, and a joy to be around. However, if I had a crush on Elizabeth while playing BioShock Infinite, I completely fell in love with Joel and Ellie while playing The Last of Us. I felt like I had journeyed through hell with them as they crossed the country, and by the end I wanted to see them succeed. I never felt bonded to Elizabeth in the same way.
By the time The Last of Us' credits rolled I felt the same way I have felt after reading a well-crafted novel or emotional film: I felt satisfied. The Last of Us needs nothing more, and I feel like adding to the game would only lessen the impact of Naughty Dog's well-constructed adventure.
I know that this isn't how the game industry works. Naughty Dog has built a brand with The Last of Us. New intellectual properties are hard to sell, and the developer went out on a limb by creating something fresh and original. And it succeeded. It seems only fair that it should be able to utilize some of the capital it's built up by making a sequel. After all, a second game is bound to sell even better than the first (I'd hypocritically buy a copy).
Then again, Gone with the Wind is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and it didn't get a sequel. Do books like The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby need sequels because people liked them? Do films like Schindler's List and Casablanca need sequels because they were critically acclaimed? No they don't, because they are works of art, and great art can stand on its own. The Last of Us is good enough to do just that.
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I only think this applies if there is nothing else compelling to say or do in this world and I do not find that to be the case. You can see from the periphery characters that the zombie apoc has affected everyone in drastic and profound ways. There are certainly other stories to tell. Stories that are as impactful. The question is, can you make another 15+ hours of gameplay as captivating as this game. Yes, I believe there are even more avenues to evolve TLoU gameplay as well as the story.
I do not say this lightly because I understand the sentiment here, but I eagerly await a sequel for this game.
Naughty Dog has said that they intend to do more games in the game universe but Joel & Ellie's story is over. If the make an appearance in upcoming games it would likely only be a cameo where the character was briefly in the story of someone else. But I don't think they will even do that. Personally I think that's exactly how they should do it. The game's world is just too fascinating to not add to it but having a completely different story in the game's universe wouldn't hurt diminish the impact of the original. Naughty Dog has proven both with Uncharted & with The Last of Us that they are excellent storytellers & experts at making their stories into incredible games. I am 95% an Xbox Gamer but I bought a PS3 just for Sony exclusives & Naughty Dog is my favorite game developer. Sony has a winner. They would be stupid to ever let go of Naughty Dog, but I honestly wish they were a 3rd party developer because I'd rather play on Xbox
While it seems perfect that in order to preserve the genius of this game, with the success on its sales, I think we may be seeing a sequel regardless.
As much as i'd love to see Joel & Ellie again, a part of me wants there story to end where it ended and maybe pick up the game somewhere else with some new characters.
i would like to see a progression to the story though.. without spoiling anything the ending did leave me wondering whats next.. even if its like an outside perspective, another group during the same time period watching new events unfold.. i dont know.. as much as i loved the last of us.. the only game to both have a critically impactful storyline, and having a great multiplayer (one of the only multiplayer games ive continually played even now)the story doesn't end fully.. it wraps everything up, while leaving one new dangling thread that just calls to me evey second i think about the game.. whats next? again sticking to the non spolier theme here i don't want to elaborate more than that.. as for sequals in general im a bit different on those.. i cant stand a new call of duty every year.. they always seem to be reused simply because its focused on multiplayer and has basically used up everything it can except for world destruction which battlefield handles spectacularly.. but i love assassins creed.. ive never been disappointed with an AC game, i like some more than others, and wish desmonds story had been much more fleshed out in ACIII, but regardless of that i love them all and the whole concept behind it.. so basically i would love to see the last of us revisited, i think the story deserves, even if in DLC, to have some finality to it.
They'd be stupid not to make a sequel, theres so many different directions they could go with a sequel in the universe. Of course it wouldn't follow Joel and Ellie maybe it could follow Ish instead (the guy you read about through notes in the sewers). Your argument about why it shouldn't have a sequel includes citing movie classics like schindler's list. There's no other stories you can tell in Nazi Germany and call it a sequel to schindler's list, so it's impossible to make a sequel for it (a remake which would be absurd wouldn't be a sequel). You can make a "sequel" to The Last Of Us because there's an almost infinite number of stories you can tell in a post apocalyptic world like TLOU. You can set it anywhere and follow anyone it doesn't matter when you have the geniuses that work at naughty dog. Yes you might not be able to top the original, but there still could be an amazing sequel.
I think the ending was good, at the same time I want to see what the decisions made at the end did for these characters, but at the same time I just want to leave it at that, I don't know...
They don't have to make a direct sequel. Set it another 20 years into the future. Old characters can have cameos, but have new main characters. It's called The Last of Us, not Joel and Ellie. Set it in a different city, with new types of zombies, new weapons, etc. I'd definitely buy it.
They've already said they don't plan on revisiting the characters and any sequel would just be set in the same world. I see nothing wrong with that as there is plenty that can be done in the universe.
Parts of me agree and parts of me disagree. I actually emailed some ideas that have been bouncing around my head to Naughty Dog for what they could with other games.
In reality they can go either way with this, they can make a sequal or they can even make a prequal to the game either would be truly amazing.
I am pretty sure they will be making a sequel. Also just heads up Gone with the Wind did have a sequel, It is call Scarlett. It was in book and film.