The Last of Us Part II Artist Sketches a Stunning Ellie and Riley Illustration

Naughty Dog artist Alice X. Zhang showcases her wonderful Ellie and Riley art piece from The Last of Us: Left Behind

I get it, you don’t need to be reminded (again) that The Last of Us Part II releases tomorrow, but it’s all most of us are thinking about and yes, I’m speaking about myself here. It’s also really strange that in a matter of hours, the years of built-up anticipation for the title will be over and we’ll finally get to play it. But even when the game is over and people have gotten to experience it, there is always the unbelievable art of The Last of Us to keep the love for the game flowing. With so many iconic moments to choose from, one scene in particular from The Last of Us: Left Behind certainly stands out as one of the best and Naughty Dog artist Alice X. Zhang certainly thought so too in her wonderful illustration of that poetic point in the game.

If you’re a pretty big fan of The Last of Us Part II you may have already heard Alice’s name before due to her amazing commissioned cover portraits for the special editions of The Last of Us Part II steelbook and also her animated Ellie portrait that is featured on the PS4 Dynamic Theme which comes with the multiple special editions of The Last of Us Part II as well. Not only did Alice get hired to do this artwork for one of the biggest gaming studios in the world, but she has also done work for Marvel, BBC Worldwide, Lucasfilm, Team Liquid, and Disney Books – that’s quite the achievement. In case you’re not familiar with the scene in question, let me give you a quick rundown.

The Last of Us: Left Behind is a standalone expansion pack to The Last of Us which, like the first game, is set in a post-apocalyptic world where players control Ellie, a teenage girl who spends time with her best friend Riley after Riley’s unexpected return. In this particular scene that Alice has so beautifully painted, Riley makes a moving speech at the end of the game after she and Ellie have been bitten.

“The way I see it,” Riley says, “we’ve got two ways out. Option one, we take the easy way out.” She gestures to her pistol. “It’s quick and painless. I’m not a fan of option one. Two – we fight.”

“Fight for what?” Ellie exclaims “We’re going to turn into one of those things”

Riley replies: “There are a million ways we should’ve died before today, and a million ways we can die before tomorrow. But we fight, for every second we get to spend with each other. Whether it’s two minutes or two days, we don’t give that up. I don’t want to give that up. My vote: let’s just wait it out. You know, we can… be all poetic and just lose our minds together.”

It really is such a poignant moment and it’s definitely one of my favorites. You can check out the entirety of that scene and the run-up to it in a YouTube video below, even just to let you remember how incredible video games are and how they can deliver and evoke such strong feelings within us.

To check out Alice’s many other pieces of amazing artwork – and I don’t use that word lightly as they truly are incredible – you can go straight to her website to buy some art prints, give her a follow on Twitter, or check out her Instagram.

So much information and trailers have come out over the last few months regarding The Last of Us Part 2 that you may have forgotten some key aspects of what to expect when it releases. For an extensive and up to date guide on what awaits you, check out this article that delves into the story, who should play it, what to expect, gameplay length, and much more. As for our own coverage of The Last of Us Part II, we currently don’t have a review posted on the site but it won’t be much longer until we do. We outlined our review plans for the game in a dedicated article right here earlier last week and explained that we should have a written review, video review, and review discussion posted not too long after launch. Stay tuned in the coming days to hear more of our opinionated thoughts on the game.

The Last of Us Part II will release exclusively for PS4 this Friday on June 19, 2020, and you can pre-order the game on Amazon. For a closer look at some brand new screenshots of the long-awaited title, you can check them all out over at this article, and stay tuned for our upcoming review of the game after its launch.

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Rachael Fiddis

Rachael, who is Deputy Editor, has been gaming for many years. Some of her favourite video games include The Witcher 3 and The Last of Us but also loves a good indie title. Gaming Culture is where her heart lies and spends many hours sieving through gaming fan art and cosplay displays. Other than gaming, Rachael is a book nerd and music lover.

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