'The Last Of Us Part 2' Ending Was Originally Much Darker
We're going to be talking heavy spoilers for the ending of The Last Of Us Part II here. You've been warned.
On the surface, The Last Of Us Part II is an incredibly dark game about revenge and hatred. However, over the course of the 30-hour adventure, it ultimately reveals itself to be a story all about the healing power of love, and simply letting go.
If you've played Naughty Dog's latest effort, you'll know how it all goes down. Ellie and Abby are locked into a bitter and seemingly endless cycle of revenge. Abby tracks down and murders Joel for what he did at the end of the first game. Ellie then tracks down and murders a bunch of Abby's mates for what she did to Joel.
Abby then kills another of Ellie's mates, but leaves her alive in an attempt to end the cycle. Unfortunately, Ellie isn't quite finished, and the final stretch of the game takes place around a year after their eventful trip to Seattle. Unable to let go, Ellie has tracked Abby to Santa Barbara, where the two have an incredibly desperate and violent confrontation on the beach.
It's here, just as Ellie is about to finish Abby, that she remembers how she decided to try and forgive Joel too late. That her final years with him were wasted on hate. She lets Abby go, and the game ends with Ellie heading out her own - presumably in search of a brighter future.
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It's a masterful ending to a game that was seemingly powered by hate and revenge for so long - but it could have been much darker. In an excellent interview with IndieWire, The Last Of Us Part II writers Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross revealed some of the major changes the game went through during production. Among them, was the game's climax.
Druckmann explained that "for more than 50% 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."
"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," he continued. "Deep down inside there's goodness there. Hopefully, she can go forward and build her life."
Personally, I feel Naughty Dog absolutely stuck the landing. To have ended it with either the death of Ellie or Abby would have surely soured the whole experience. After all, the events of the game took enough from both women, and it'll be far more interesting to see where the pair go from this low point.
Featured Image Credit: Sony