Naughty Dog has gone into more detail about The Last of Us 2 deleted scenes that could have made for a completely different story to the one that thousands have been playing (opens in new tab) over the last few days.
Speaking in a new interview with IndieWire (opens in new tab), the game's writers Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross divulged on some of the alternative or deleted scenes that were eventually scrapped for the final game, starting with Joel. Be warned, the following quotes contain major spoilers for The Last of Us 2 (opens in new tab)'s campaign.
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"What comes to mind right now is Joel’s death," says Druckmann. "In the first edit of that scene, you felt nothing. Ellie’s being held down and Joel’s looking at her and we had this idea of like, 'Oh man Joel’s brain is so fucked up at that moment that the only word that’s coming out of his mouth is his daughter’s name, Sarah.' It felt powerful, but then Troy [Baker] — to his credit — was like, 'I don’t think he should say anything.' We shot both versions, and Troy was right. The scene was stronger without it."
Gross also confirmed that the game would originally take place over five days instead of three, and that Joel almost had a girlfriend character, teasing that "the ending was different" too.
"There was a whole side story where Ellie went to the Seraphite island," explains Druckmann, "and we had so much more to say about the Seraphites and Ellie’s journey there and she’s going through like the different layers of Hell and she still keeps going forward."
"In the farm sequence, you can find an entry in Ellie’s journal where she writes about killing this boar and how it makes her feel — we shot cut-scenes for that. There was a whole playable sequence of her hunting down a boar and it was awesome, but we felt that for pacing and production purposes it was just better to remove it. Art was done, and Ashley [Johnson] gave a great performance of how she kills this boar and everything."
Ultimately, Naughty Dog had to make hard judgement calls about what to keep, remove, and change to make sure it's story was as airtight as possible. I don't know about you, but after playing the campaign for myself, I think the studio made the right decisions.
Now that you're all warm and fuzzy-feeling, read our conversation with writer Halley Gross about how The Last of Us 2 deals with "authentic trauma." (opens in new tab)
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