The Last of Us Part II Was Meant to Have a Much Darker, Brutal Ending

According to narrative lead writer Halley Gross, the original ending for The Last of Us Part II was meant to end on a much darker note.

July 16, 2020

With its release last month, Naughty Dog brought the long-awaited next chapter of The Last of Us Part II to PS4 owners with a heartbreaking and devastating story. Fans have waited for years to see what would happen to Ellie and Joel in Part II, and while internet discourse on the game has been divisive and heated, Naughty Dog stuck the landing by crafting a sequel that builds off its predecessor in every way. That especially is the case with the game’s ending, which originally was meant to strike a different note than what we saw in the final release, according to one of Part II‘s lead writers.

**Spoiler Warning: This article has some brief mentions of events that take place from the story of The Last of Us Part II, including its ending.**

In an interview with Game InformerThe Last of Us Part II narrative lead Halley Gross shared a few more insights into the making of the game and its story. Specifically, Gross touched on the ending of Part II, and how initially the final act was meant to take a darker turn that would leave players even more conflicted on Ellie’s actions against Abby, the secondary playable character that players come to know in the game’s back half.

As seen in the final game, Ellie chases down Abby to find her in Santa Barbara, California with the intention of killing her and enacting revenge for the loss of Joel in the game’s beginning hours, before ultimately sparing her life. However, according to Gross, she and the development team “did a lot of iterations on what that last act looked like,” and said that originally “the final beat was that Ellie would kill Abby.” Though the ending was originally intended to have Ellie follow through with her intent for revenge, Gross explained that during the game’s production “we changed that and had Ellie let go at the last second,” in order to highlight that “some part of the old Ellie, the Ellie with humanity, the Ellie that is impacted by Joel, still exists within this character who has been so overtaken by her quest for revenge.”

The Last of Us Part II director Neil Druckmann also explained on the game’s ending that “letting Abby live felt wrong thematically, initially,” but added that “at the end of the day, it felt more honest for the character.” According to Druckmann, the changes for the ending were done in part to ultimately stay true to the characters, and explained that “there’s certain things we are trying to hit, but they can only work if we’re consistent with the character we’re writing.”

The Last of Us Part II is available now exclusively for PS4.

Ryan Meitzler

Ryan is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers and has been a lover of games as long as he can remember. He holds a BA in English and Cinema and lives in New York City.

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