The Last of Us 2 alternate ending explained by the game's writers

The Last of Us 2
(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The Last of Us 2 originally a more definitive ending for protagonist Ellie, co-writer Halley Gross has revealed.

Speaking on the Script Apart podcast earlier this week, Gross touched on the ending of The Last of Us 2. In a slightly different draft for the final ending, Ellie picks up a toy that belongs to Dina's baby when she's back on the farm, before stuffing it into her backpack and heading out. This ending is much more clear-cut in terms of Ellie's intentions to seek out Dina, and Gross explains that they wanted to leave it a little more open to interpretation by the player.

As we know, the final ending of The Last of Us 2 is left pretty open. We ultimately don't know where Ellie is heading when she leaves the farm after putting down Joel's guitar, nor do we know where Dina and her baby have gone. As Gross says, the version of Ellie picking up the baby's toy puts her on a pretty clear path to reuniting with Dina, which isn't what Gross and co-writer Neil Druckmann wanted to go for.

This isn't the only noteworthy conversation topic to come out of the Script Apart podcast this week. Elsewhere, fellow co-writer Neil Druckmann reveals that himself and Gross have outlined the plot of a potential The Last of Us 3. Druckmann makes sure to mention that the game is absolutely not in development right now at Naughty Dog, but that a potential sequel has generated "quite a bit" of discussion at the developer.

It's hard to say what a sequel to The Last of Us 2 could explore. The game very much feels like the conclusion to Ellie's journey, and the new title screen after the game has been completed indicates that Abby and Lev succeeded in finding the Fireflies in southern California. Could The Last of Us 3 return to Ellie, and perhaps Dina, or would it focus entirely on Abby and Lev instead?

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Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.