THE LAST OF US PART II's Ending Was Originally Going To Be MUCH Bleaker - SPOILERS

THE LAST OF US PART II's Ending Was Originally Going To Be MUCH Bleaker - SPOILERS THE LAST OF US PART II's Ending Was Originally Going To Be MUCH Bleaker - SPOILERS

The end of The Last of Us Part II wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs, but Neil Druckmann has now revealed that the game's original conclusion was a lot bleaker...

By MarkCassidy - Jan 25, 2024 09:01 PM EST
Filed Under: Last of Us
Source: Via

The Last of Us Part II remastered edition was recently released for the PlayStation 5, and a revealing commentary track from Naughty Dog Head of Creative and the game's executive producer Neil Druckmann is included.

Druckmann, who is also an EP on the HBO adaptation, shares some very interesting details over the course of the track, including the fact that the game was originally going to end on a very different note.

If you haven't played The Last of Us Part II yet, major spoilers follow.

As the story approaches its conclusion, a vengeance-fuelled Ellie tracks Abby and her protégé/surrogate brother, Lev, to the base of a ruthless gang of scavengers known as the Rattlers, who have been keeping them as slaves.

Abby is found tied to a pole on the beach, emaciated and near death, but Ellie - unable to let Abby's murder of Joel go - forces her adversary into one last fight by holding a blade to the helpless Lev's throat.

Ellie ultimately manages to overpower Abby, and is just about to finish her off by drowning her beneath the waves when she has a change of heart and allows her to leave with Lev. However, Druckmann reveals that the story was going to end with Ellie finishing Abby off, with Lev having already been killed at an earlier point in the game (presumably with his sister, Yara).

The game is far from a cheery experience, anyway, but this would have taken things to a whole new level of bleakness! We'd have to agree with co-writer Halley Gross here, as Ellie killing Abby would have cost her the small amount of humanity she had left and completely altered whatever plans are (presumably) in place for a third game.

What do you think? Would you have preferred to see Ellie kill Abby and take revenge for Joel? Drop us a comment down below.

"The Last of Us Part II takes place five years after the events of the first game and nearly 25 years after the outbreak of the Cordyceps brain infection began. Ellie, who is now 19 years old, returns as the protagonist whom players assume control of. Joel, in his mid-fifties, also returns as a briefly playable character, as does Abby Anderson, who functions as the game's dual protagonist.

Joel and Ellie, having settled down in Tommy's settlement, live in relative peace within the thriving community. While there, Ellie has even managed to form friendships with Dina and Jesse. However, the survivors face constant threats from infected and other hostile survivors.

When a tragic event disrupts the tranquility of her life, a hate filled Ellie embarks on a journey to Seattle in a search for vengeance to carry out justice. As she hunts down those responsible one by one, she is confronted with the traumatizing physical and emotional consequences of her actions."

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Nightwing1015 - 1/25/2024, 9:15 PM
I get the idea with her sparing Abby but I've always thought the number of times she changed her mind about it undermined the whole thing. She changed her mind like 6-7 times in the game about whether she was actually gonna kill her. Whose to say she didn't change her mind right back the other way a week after the game ended
MarkCassidy - 1/25/2024, 9:20 PM
@Nightwing1015 - She was always dead set on killing her. The only reason she didn't is because Abby got the drop on her, spared her because of Lev, and left. As soon as she found out where she was later on, she resumed her mission.
Nightwing1015 - 1/25/2024, 9:53 PM
@MarkCassidy - Nah she constantly changes her mind about it to the point where its silly. Initially, she is hell bent on revenge. Then, after killing Abby's friends she accepts that it "has to be ok" for Abby to live. She then promises Tommy that she'll "make Abby pay" for what she's done to everyone. However, she's then reluctant to go after Abby many months later. Until she changes her mind again. When she finds Abby on the pillars, she seems to have yet another change of heart. She cuts her down and helps her to the boat. When they get there she decides once again that she wants revenge. And finally, she changes her mind at the last second realising that it's not what she wants.
MarkCassidy - 1/25/2024, 10:02 PM
@Nightwing1015 - Dude, there are extenuating circumstances that factor into those moments you're referring to. It's not like Ellie just said, "eh [frick] it, I'll let her go." It only "had to be ok" because they couldn't find Abby at the time and Dina needed to get back home. Then later, she promised Dina that she'd let go of her need for revenge... until Tommy discovers where Abby is hiding out.
Nightwing1015 - 1/25/2024, 11:01 PM
@MarkCassidy - "It's not like Ellie just said, "eh [frick] it, I'll let her go."

That's literally what happens when she cuts Abbey down from the pillar she's on at the end of the game. Even when Tommy first tells her she doesn't wanna go get revenge. She's conflicted about it and certainly not "dead set" on it.
bkmeijer1 - 1/26/2024, 2:23 AM
@MarkCassidy @Nightwing1015 - guess it is kinda open to interpretation, because I felt it was neither. For me, it was always that Ellie was a little conflict about it, but was at all times tipping more towards killing. Pretty much 30/70 odds imo.
MarkCassidy - 1/26/2024, 7:38 AM
@Nightwing1015 - She feels a pang of pity after seeing her initially, but the flash of a bloodied Joel snaps her out of it. This is... how stories work?
Nightwing1015 - 1/26/2024, 10:42 AM
@MarkCassidy - it works once. I feel the effect is diminished if a similar change in sentiment happens like 3-4 times. Just my opinion
BIGBMH - 1/31/2024, 8:56 PM
@Nightwing1015 - I think she's torn between the part of her that wants revenge and the part of her that wants to move on.

I think killing Abby's friends takes it's toll on her, especially when she finds out one was pregnant (I think she finds out, right?). It takes some of that venom out of her to feel how messed up what she's doing is.

As she and Tommy were licking their wounds and grieving Jesse, it's understandable that she still felt that pull for payback. To go that far, do so much damage, suffer, lose someone, and ultimately be beaten and spared by the person you've been chasing would naturally leave her with a painful sense of defeat.

However, her life progresses. Her and Dina become parents together and build a nice life. Even though the baby isn't Ellie's biologically, she loves him as her own. The last time she went after Abby, it cost her. Now she has even more to lose. She's torn between Dina and Tommy's desires, but ultimately wants to move on and live her life. The trouble is, she can't. She's still haunted. She can't be at peace in this life with this trauma and lack of closure hanging over her. When she goes after Abby again, I think it's less with this firey vitriol and hatred and more due to a perception that this is the only way to slay her demon.

When she finds Abby, it's not the person she remembers. This malnourished, tortured person is a far cry from the jacked killer she's come all this way to get a second shot at. I think seeing her in this pitiful state, she knows that she won't get the fight she was seeking. There's also the humanity of being unnerved by the horror of what has been done to Abby. I think her humanity leads her to free Abby, but there's still part of her that wants the fight.

As Abby is about to leave, Ellie is torn between wanting to let her and wanting to follow through with the goal that brought her this far. Seeing her about to ride away, Ellie doesn't have it in her to just let her go. I don't think it's until she holds Abby's life in her hands and can win that she realizes that she doesn't want or need to kill Abby anymore.

IMO, her amount of wavering suited her internal struggle and reflected her evolving emotional state in response to what she does, experiences, sees, etc.
Mercwitham0uth - 1/25/2024, 9:19 PM
I'll say this about TLoU Part 2. It had really fun gameplay but I hated the story. I would have liked the story a tad bit better if Ellie did kill Abby.
mastakilla39 - 1/26/2024, 8:55 AM
@Mercwitham0uth - But it ruins the whole point of the story if that happened. Cycle of revenge has to stop for both characters. Abby realized it sooner than Ellie when she spared her life, then Ellie eventually realizes that too at the ending. Perfect ending, IMO.
SonOfAGif - 1/25/2024, 9:20 PM
I feel like Abby should have died in the Rattler Compound and Ellie finally realizes it was all for nothing. Every bad decision comes with a price. Joel paid his and Abby paid hers and at some point Ellie will pay hers. And her price was coming back hole to Dina gone and an empty home.
RedFury - 1/25/2024, 11:51 PM
@SonOfAGif - as much as that bums me out, I feel like it fits the narrative of the games really well. We hope that there is a happy ending to the story, but the grim reality of that apocalypse is no one seems to get a happy ending.
bkmeijer1 - 1/26/2024, 2:06 AM
@SonOfAGif @RedFury - I kinda like it, but not as a definitive ending. Think it should've one of possible endings.

Maybe you get the choice somewhere during the story to do either A or B. Like A is let someone live, B kill someone. And if you choose A, that person just kills Abby in Santa Barbara, leading to the ending of Ellie just finding Abby there death already.
RedFury - 1/26/2024, 6:05 AM
@bkmeijer1 - that's a great idea! I love it when game designers allow the player to make at least some game changing decisions. It creates an experience that is even more engaging. RDR2 for example did that really well for the ending. Even though my Arthur died in a sad lonely way, it was still really cool to know I had a different ending than my buddy did.
BigDriggs - 1/25/2024, 9:22 PM
Should've killed her. I hated playing as Abby, even though I liked Lev. Good game all around but as a fan of Ellie and Joel, together as a family, I disliked some of the story decisions.
bcom - 1/25/2024, 9:35 PM
Even though I played the game through I didn't really enjoy it, but I think that was the game's actual intention. I didn't like some of the things I had to do and a lot of it was bleak and uncomfortable and I think that was by design. It's a game where you play as two characters who are angry and hurting and are making rash decisions. I think it is supposed to make you unsettled as you play. Having said that, I was glad when it was over and have zero intention of giving it another play through lol.
AnthonyVonGeek - 1/25/2024, 9:37 PM
You mean it was gonna even be more bleaker than seeing Neil Druckmann show up and bang the Butch chick from behind?
SonOfAGif - 1/25/2024, 10:07 PM
@AnthonyVonGeek - And then claim it was in the name of female empowerment?
Toonstrack - 1/26/2024, 10:52 PM
@AnthonyVonGeek - lil cryyyyyyyy

That new release selling like hotcakes too
lazlodaytona - 1/25/2024, 9:57 PM
Sounds so bleak. Just what we need as a 'society ....'

RitoRevolto - 1/25/2024, 10:01 PM
So they took the best ending out of the game? Trash. Maybe Abby'll die in the show instead. ^_^
MyCoolYoung - 1/25/2024, 10:33 PM
I can't lie, I loved the story. Joel went insane at the end of part 1 and his decisions cost him his life.

I'd bet money part 3 will have ellie sacrificing herself for science
harryba11zack - 1/25/2024, 11:15 PM
@MyCoolYoung - No, A father trying to save has daughter is not insane. If Ellie was to sacrifice herself for science at the end then it would be the last phuck you to Joel. The game is called of us, having a happy "I saved the human race" ending would go against the title itself.
bkmeijer1 - 1/26/2024, 2:28 AM
@MyCoolYoung - yeah, I think both games do a great job at dealing with consequence of choice.

I too wouldn't be surprised if Ellie does atleast end up exploring the option of the cure. Maybe she does realize she only took life unceremoniously, while she is in a position the give as well.
NegativeNerd - 1/26/2024, 8:28 AM
@harryba11zack - you could literally say the same thing from Abby’s point of view - just a focus of a different character.
MyCoolYoung - 1/26/2024, 1:55 PM
@harryba11zack - Joel did not save his daughter, he saved Ellie. I know they bonded and she was like a daughter to him, but in killing all of those scientists Joel possibly doomed the human race. If you don’t see the problem with one person over humanity you’re nuts.

Also, you said all of that and failed to mention the out that the game gave which was Ellie wasn’t the first one they worked on.

Joel said [frick] you to Ellie the whole first game and twice when she asked if he was telling the truth and he blatantly lied to her face which led to her survivors guilt in the 2nd game.

Ellie was an innocent kid and a good person and let’s face it Joel was not. Certain aspects of the game if you go back and look, he’s the villain of the game. Which I loved about it
MyCoolYoung - 1/26/2024, 2:01 PM
@bkmeijer1 - exactly my thoughts. I’d guess they wouldn’t go this route because it’s close to I am legend but I think it should be a point of contention within the next game.

Ellie has survivors guilt. She realized the cycle of revenge and where it gets you in the last one. As she examines her own humanity I do think it should come up
bkmeijer1 - 1/26/2024, 3:03 PM
@MyCoolYoung - she definitely picked up a new perspective along the way. Joel may have been a good guy at times, but he was really just a bad guy generally speaking.

Wouldn't be surprised if the third game actually ends up having Tommy in a more antagonistic role. Ellie may have realized all Joel did was pretty bad, but Tommy probably wants Ellie to live because otherwise Joel dying would've been for naught.
MyCoolYoung - 1/26/2024, 6:05 PM
@bkmeijer1 - genuinely love this angle. We already seen Tommy start to become more aggressive and cold when Joel got killed so we know how deeply he cares for him. It would be a way to bring everything together
bkmeijer1 - 1/26/2024, 6:13 PM
@MyCoolYoung - good to know atleast someone agrees. But I guess I already knew we agreed on both how we see the game and the show.

And speaking of the show, I kinda already wanna see the tv show lean into this. Adaptations should try to enrich the source material imo, and this could be a way to do that.
MyCoolYoung - 1/26/2024, 7:08 PM
@bkmeijer1 - indeed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the last of season 4 and the game part 3 will both release around the same time.

I’d guess the last of part 2 will be seasons 2 and 3 and the last of part 3 will be after that. It would be a great way to get people interested in both
bkmeijer1 - 1/27/2024, 3:02 AM
@MyCoolYoung - with how long games are in development and how it takes two years for a new tv season to be released these days, I could see that line up too.

Do wonder if Naughty Dog is already working on Part 3 though and not another game like Uncharted. Druckmann's Threads does say he's working on an unannounced game, but not which one.
harryba11zack - 1/25/2024, 11:08 PM
Bleaker? u misspelled Better
Waifuslayer - 1/25/2024, 11:51 PM
No game has dropped the narrative ball harder than TLOU2. It's insane how bad the story is.
bkmeijer1 - 1/26/2024, 1:32 AM
@Waifuslayer - I don't think the stiry itself is bad, but how it's structure is. There are way too many flashbacks, and they waited too long with showing Abby's side imo
bkmeijer1 - 1/26/2024, 2:25 AM
Judging from both general consensus and the comments on this article alone, I feel it should've been a choice left to the player leading to different endings (no fighting, stop fighting, kill).

I for one didn't even want to press the mash button when fighting Abby when the game told me so, but I can imagine there are players who more than gladly would've kept smashing it.
Doomsday8888 - 1/26/2024, 4:15 AM
Origame - 1/26/2024, 6:08 AM's bleak to kill off the person that killed Joel?

On top of that, she killed all of her own friends.

Abby dying is what I call the happy ending.
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