The Last of Us Part 2: Neil Druckmann on the sequel’s ambitious story

At the end of the original The Last of Us, developer Naughty Dog asks players, like Joel, to commit morally challenging acts that, if you agree they are the right thing, at least you understand where the character comes from. For The Last of Us Part 2, Naughty Dog aimed to achieve a similar sense of empathy through larger-scale play in the sequel.

The massive spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2 follow. If you haven’t finished playing, come back now!

Speaking to IGN before the release of The Last of Us Part 2, director Neil Druckmann explained the philosophy the team embraced with the original game and how it led to the key objectives of Part 2.

“You don’t necessarily agree with what [Joel’s] doing, but we saw that most people understood what he was doing and now they’re playing at being like him, “Druckmann said.” ‘I may not do this, but I understand why Joel would. So I’m going to see the world through their eyes. There is something unique about the empathy that is created in video games, it is totally unique.

“Can we build a whole experience around this concept,” said Druckmann, explaining what he and the team ventured to do with Part 2. “Can we make you hate someone to such an extent that you want to hurt them in real ways? horrible? because of what they did to you? And then suddenly they make you play like them and the challenge was, can we get you to empathize?

The Last of Us Part 2 Review Screenshots

Of course, Part 2 includes the dramatic change in gameplay for its second half, putting players in control of Abby, who was first introduced early in the sequel as someone who successfully hunts Joel to kill him. The second half, both in the present and in flashbacks, explores Abby’s life and motivations, which, Druckmann explained, allowed them to immerse themselves in revenge themes from multiple perspectives.

“I don’t know if you are going to like it [Abby] necessarily. We hope you will, but can we really get you to understand? And that’s where the second half of the game [goes], you are playing as someone who undertakes his own journey of redemption. You can see revenge from two sides, “he said.And more than just exploring revenge, which is what most of the initial marketing for The Last of Us Part 2 focused on, Druckmann explained how dual perspectives allowed them to explore the flip side of that: forgiveness.

“It is a game about empathy and forgiveness and overcoming pain and seeing other people for the more complex human beings that they are. That’s what excited us to do this, “said Druckmann.

Stay tuned to IGN for more information from Druckmann about the sequel, and if he hasn’t made sure to check out IGN’s The Last of Us Part 2 review yet. To learn more about the Naughty Dog sequel, read our dive into the accessibility features of The Last of Us Part 2, how much The Last of Us Part 2 sold in its first weekend, and why the sequel probably won’t get DLC. . And if you’re playing, be sure to check out IGN’s The Last of Us Part 2 Complete Guide for help with collectibles, trophies, and more.

Jonathon Dornbush is a senior news editor at IGN, host of Podcast Beyond !, and you can’t stop listening to Pearl Jam in your head right now. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.