After years of hype, The Last of Us 2 is out worldwide. It's a game that has sold loads of units and split opinion down the middle - but did you know the game changed A LOT during production? There was a different ending, some deleted content, missing dialogue scenes, and lots of other stuff that didn't make the cut.
BE WARNED: This article contains HUGE spoilers for The Last Of Us Part II, and you'll only want to read on once you've finished the game and experienced it for yourself!
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If you're ready for the spoilers, keep reading to learn all about the huge changes that occurred during the production of The Last Of Us 2...
Abby living in Jackson was an open-world experience
“The game initially was this open-world thing. And you spent all this time in Jackson,” said the game's director, Neil Druckmann, in an interview with IGN.
You can still see a slither of open-world action in the final game (with Ellie using a map to explore the first Seattle area), but the original plan would've seen Abby getting involved with an open-world Jackson experience.
“Abby joined the community, and you were playing as this new character until she betrayed Joel later on,” Druckmann added. “And it just didn't work because Joel dying is the inciting incident, and you want to get to the inciting incident as quickly as you can.”
Joel had a girlfriend
Speaking to The Washington Post, co-writer Halley Gross revealed that Joel had a long-ish-distance girlfriend called Esther during a previous plan for the game.
“I think she lived out by the dams, by the electric dams," Gross explained, "and they kind of had a commuter relationship. And Joel and Ellie were headed out there [in a flashback] and saw that the building had been taken over by infected.”
If she had stayed in the game, Esther would have died in one of the many flashbacks. Knowing that Esther had been infected, Ellie would've heard a gunshot, not knowing if Joel had killed Esther or if Esther had killed herself.
When Abby met Isaac
Although Abby gets plenty of backstory in the finished game, previous plans gave her one more flashback that would've bridged the gap between Abby's dad's death and her joining the WLF.
“It was never a conscious choice to go to the Wolves, she was at that point an orphan — she was only 15 I think when everything happened,” Abby actor Laura Bailey explained in an interview with Kinda Funny.
“That was where she was sent and was taken under the reign of Isaac. Isaac was a Firefly and a friend of her father so that’s why she went there. That’s why they have the relationship that they do is because he kind of became that fatherly figure to her.”
Joel's final words were cut
"What comes to mind right now is Joel’s death," said Druckmann in an IndieWire interview, talking about big emotional moments in the game.
Druckamann explained that a big change went down during the making of this scene: "In the first edit of that scene, you felt nothing. Ellie’s being held down and Joel’s looking at her and we had this idea of like, “Oh man Joel’s brain is so fucked up at that moment that the only word that’s coming out of his mouth is his daughter’s name, ‘Sarah.'” It felt powerful, but then Troy [Baker] — to his credit — was like, “I don’t think he should say anything.” We shot both versions, and Troy was right. The scene was stronger without it."
5 Seattle days apiece, with Ellie heading to the island
"We used to have five days in Seattle for each girl instead of three," Gross told IndieWire, making it sound like the game could've been A LOT longer.
Hinting at what would've happened during the longer stay in Seattle, Druckmann added: "There was a whole side story where Ellie went to the Seraphite island, and we had so much more to say about the Seraphites and Ellie’s journey there and she’s going through like the different layers of Hell and she still keeps going forward."
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Ellie killed Abby in an alternate ending
As Druckmann told IndieWire, "for more than 50 percent of the production, Ellie used to kill Abby at the end. Which gave a whole different kind of feel to the ending, and then another character would have to stop the cycle of violence.
"But at some point, through our conversations about Yara and Lev, we came to the realization that it wasn’t as honest to Ellie’s character that way. Deep down inside there’s goodness there. Hopefully she can go forward and build her life."
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