Naughty Dog have a Last Of Us Part 3 “concept” and it’s not the previously revealed “small story” about Tommy
Naughty Dog’s grand panjandrum (co-president) Neil Druckmann has a concept in mind for The Last Of Us: Part 3, following on from the original PlayStation 3 action-adventure’s tale of parental love and the PS4 game’s theme of “justice at any cost”. This isn’t confirmation that a third single player Last Of Us game is in development, with Druckmann reiterating comments from this time last year that Naughty Dog feel no obligation to continue the tale. Nonetheless, “it does feel like there’s probably one more chapter to this story.” Will we ever really see the last of The Last Of Us?
The latest round of Druckmannage comes care of the below Making-Of feature, published over the weekend. “The first game had such a clean concept of like, the unconditional love a parent feels for their child,” Druckmann comments at one point in the two-hour-long video. “The second one, once we landed on this idea of the pursuit of justice at any cost, justice for the ones you love, we felt like, ‘there’s a clean concept here and there’s a throughline from the first game, about love.’ If we never get to do it again, this is a fine ending point. Last bite of the apple, the story’s done.”
“The great thing about working at Naughty Dog is that we don’t have to,” he went on. “It’s always like, ‘we would love another Last of Us, but if you guys feel you’re passionate about something else, we’ll support this other thing.’ Very privileged position to be in, I never take that for granted. I’ve been just thinking about it, ‘is there a concept there?’ And for now years, I haven’t been able to find that concept. But recently, that’s changed, and I don’t have a story, but I do have that concept that to me is as exciting as 1, as exciting as 2, is its own thing, and yet has this throughline for all three. So it does feel like there’s probably one more chapter to this story.”
As noted by IGN, Druckmann also took time during the Making-Of to clarify comments made during a previous interview about a story Naughty Dog wrote for Joel Miller’s brother Tommy, set after the events of The Last Of Us Part 2. This Tommy story is not, in fact, The Last Of Us Part 3 – it was never even envisaged as a “full title”, though Druckmann hopes to one day release it in some form.
“The headlines across the industry were like, ‘Naughty Dog has outlined The Last of Us Part 3,’ and that’s actually wrong,” Druckmann said. “It was always a small story, it was never a full title. At the time, we had higher priorities at Naughty Dog to fix our pipeline, to fix work-life balance issues. Just based on where we were, I didn’t want to prioritize the story, so that story was shelved. And I still believe one day, it’ll see the light of day. I don’t know if it’ll be a game or a show, TBD.”
A standalone spin-off like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, perhaps? Or another season of the well-received The Last Of Us HBO adaptation?
Druckmann’s hints follow Naughty Dog’s cancellation of long-awaited multiplayer live service offering The Last Of Us Online in December, which will allow the studio “to focus on [the] single-player narrative games that have defined Naughty Dog’s heritage”. The studio have yet to release The Last Of Us Part 2 for PC, but a port seems likely, now that they’ve remastered the console edition.
It’s an… interesting time to broach a new Last Of Us story. As Druckmann has elsewhere explained, Part 2’s exploration of the theme “justice at any cost” builds on his experiences growing up in Israel and his feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though Druckmann has said that the game isn’t a direct allegory or commentary. Israel is currently mounting an invasion of the Gaza strip following a massacre of Israeli civilians committed by the strip’s ruling organisation Hamas last year. The invasion has left tens of thousands of Palestinians dead and reduced the region to ruins.
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