After more than six years of development, Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II finally released on PlayStation 4 last month. Critical reception for the game has been mostly strong, and one thing that most reviewers seem to agree on is that the game's storyline is remarkably dark. However, according to a new interview conducted by Game Informer, that story was originally supposed to go in an even darker direction. In the interview, director Neil Druckmann and narrative lead Halley Gross revealed how the storyline was originally intended to conclude, and it would have been a bit different! Warning: major spoilers for the game's ending ahead!
"When I signed on a lot of it was very similar," Gross told Game Informer. "We did a lot of iterations on what that last act looked like, but the final beat was that Ellie would kill Abby. About halfway through production, we changed that and had Ellie let go at the last second to [illustrate] that some little part of the old Ellie, the Ellie with humanity, the Ellie that is impacted by Joel, still exists within this character who has been so overtaken by her quest for revenge."
While some fans would have been happy to see Ellie kill Abby after the murder of Joel, it would have been a sad finale for Ellie's character. The Last of Us Part II's narrative focuses on the consequences of violence; if Ellie had killed Abby to enact vengeance, the character would have lost even more than she already had. At the game's conclusion, Ellie has not only lost her father figure and the family she had built, but killing Abby would have cost her soul.
"Letting Abby live felt wrong thematically initially," Druckmann told Game Informer. "But at the end of the day, it felt more honest for the character. The theme [and] what we're trying to say shifted a little bit, but our top priority always is are we being honest to the character? There's certain things we are trying to hit but they can only work if we're consistent with the character we're writing."
During production on The Last of Us Part II, it seems that a number of things were changed! At one point, the game would have been an open-world title. Readers can find out more about the decision to abandon that idea right here.
Are you happy that the game ended with Ellie letting Abby go? Do you think that was the correct decision to make? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!