The Last of Us Part II has only been available since June 19th, but some are already inquiring about the future of the franchise. In an interview with the outlet IndieWire, the game's director, Neil Druckmann, expressed that a third entry in the series might be a bit unlikely. As of right now, it seems that the developer has no idea where a third game might go, but stopped short of ruling out another sequel entirely. Before the team will consider making a sequel, they'll have to find a story that has the same emotional weight as the previous two entries.
"With the first game there were no expectations and it was like we could do anything. But now that we’ve established certain characters and themes and processes, it felt like to justify making a 'Part II' we had to do something not that fans would just be comfortable with, but do something that would match the emotional core we found in the first game," Druckmann told IndieWire. "And without that, there’d be no reason to do a 'Part III.' Finding it with the sequel was much harder than it was with the first game, and going forward it would be exponentially harder to justify going back to that world and finding a way to vary things up. There’s already so many things you’ve seen about the backstory, about how the outbreak happens, so we’d really have to figure out how to create a new experience that matches the emotional impact of these stories and I don’t know what that is. Currently."
Given the way that The Last of Us Part II ended, it's hard to see where things might go in a follow-up. Besides that, the sequel's development took nearly six years to complete. Even if a third game is made, fans will be waiting for a very long time.
While fans of the two games might find Druckmann's answer a bit disheartening, it's clear that the director cares deeply about the characters and world that Naughty Dog has established. If there is a story angle, it seems quite likely that the developers will pursue it. Of course, if Naughty Dog decides not to make another game, fans will still have some content related to The Last of Us in the future. An HBO series based on the games is currently in production, with Druckmann attached as an executive producer.
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