Ellie, Five Years On

The Final of Us Half II trailer was sensible for its contrasts. It confirmed us the brightest and darkest of what the world might be. Ellie is 19 and navigating the brand new and thrilling waters of affection, nevertheless it’s only a respite in what’s in any other case nonetheless a grim and harmful actuality. The pairing of those contrasts is one thing developer Naughty Canine is ideally suited to. It has the power to convey the frenzy of various feelings in Ellie’s face as she kisses Dena, whereas additionally permitting gamers to fluidly transfer and act in violently brutal methods. I talked to author/director Neil Druckmann and new co-writer Halley Gross concerning the world of The Final of Us Half II and the advanced characters that inhabit it.

The first trailer for The Last of Us Part II again in 2016, revisited Ellie, who’s in a vengeful way of thinking. 5 years previous the primary sport, she has grown up and hardened from her experiences, hinting at what should be the unfathomable toll of residing on this harsh actuality. That is maybe because of Gross. “I’ve at all times been actually occupied with trauma and the results of trauma on the soul.” she mentioned. “So when Neil pitched me on this sport virtually two years in the past now, I used to be similar to like, ‘Yeah, that is the stuff I’m actually into to.’ So the chance to have that dialog in a post-pandemic surroundings with a personality as advanced as Ellie was not possible to shrink back from.”

Druckmann says Gross match proper in, regardless that she’s coming right into a world and characters that began with out her. “What’s superior is day one Halley jumped in and was not afraid to say, ‘We have to make some huge adjustments right here. What if we make this character had this completely totally different factor?’ It was superior, and she or he completely took possession of all of it, and now we are able to say we’re proudly owning this story collectively.”

The sport’s trailers up to now have alluded to an antagonistic risk to Ellie and different characters referred to as the Seraphites. They’re a bunch of spiritual extremists who converse of sin and apostates, and who’ve a penchant for hanging folks. “You get the trace that there are particular rituals they carry out on folks exterior of their faith,” say Druckmann. “They’ve existed for the reason that outbreak they usually have a really nuanced, attention-grabbing historical past at how they’ve arrived at this level.”

If the Seraphites violently categorical their religion, is it doable that Ellie’s homosexuality is anathema to their beliefs? Druckmann and Gross didn’t deal with this level particularly, however I did ask them if her sexuality served as background for her character and/or if it was one thing others on the planet would reply to. “I don’t suppose we essentially need to get into the bigger narrative,” says Gross, “however we’re actually excited to point out all aspects of Ellie’s character. A part of that’s who she’s drawn to, what her relationships are, who she’s prepared to play for, so a part of that’s addressing her sexuality, for certain.”

“Our method has at all times been, ‘How will we write these characters as truthfully as doable?’” says Druckmann. “We’ve already established that Ellie is homosexual in [the Left Behind DLC for the first game]. She’s 19 now. She’s residing in considerably of a peaceable group. It felt very proper to discover a romantic curiosity.”

Regardless if Ellie’s sexuality issues to the Seraphites, they’re clearly a harmful group. The current trailer confirmed them speaking and coordinating with one another to pinpoint Ellie’s location, which is one thing that Druckmann says is a part of the sport’s development in its A.I. The sport’s ranges are bigger and have extra verticality, so enemies want higher consciousness to deal with this. They whistle to one another and progressively collect in numbers as an alternative of getting everybody immediately conscious of your place as quickly as you’re noticed like within the first sport.

Though the E3 trailer featured solely Ellie in fight – and she or he was greater than holding her personal – Druckmann says that Naughty Canine titles have at all times been about having a companion. He says the developer has made plenty of strides in pathfinding, A.I., and making the companions “really feel extra human,” that ought to make any allies with you extra real looking than within the unique Final of Us.

In fact, no companion means extra to Ellie than Joel – who’s solely been alluded to up to now, however who is undoubtedly an enormous a part of this new sport. I cherished The Final of Us’ ambiguous ending and the way it put its weight on the belief within the pair’s relationship. Whereas that second is previously, it nonetheless reverberates 5 years on.

“We made and wrote the primary sport to face by itself,” says Druckmann. “We wouldn’t make a sequel until we felt like there was one thing equally necessary to inform. Even after we did Left Behind, there was that worry of, ‘Are we hurting this?’ Left Behind was an enormous success, and fleshed out the characters additional. Right here there was this chance not solely to inform what we thought was an important message that we consider in, however to flesh out a fancy character in much more attention-grabbing and nuanced methods. And if we’re going to try this, you’ll be able to’t ignore that ending. You possibly can’t simply shrink back from it.”