In The Last of Us Part II, Ellie will experience intensely traumatic events that will change her character and her perspective on the world, but she is fundamentally ‘driven by love’ to seek retribution (via WccfTech).
‘If the first game, the theme was the love between these two characters... this story's the counter of that,’ Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann said when The Last of Us Part II was revealed back in 2016. ‘We knew that it needed to be a story worth telling and, perhaps more importantly, a story worthy of Joel and Ellie,’ he added in a post on the PlayStation Blog.
Set five years after the events of The Last of Us, the new game has the two characters firmly settled in the survivor community in Jackson, Wyoming. Ellie has found a romantic interest in Dina, a fellow scout, though their relationship may be the catalyst for her ruthless quest for vengeance. In the latest cinematic trailer, Dina may have been kidnapped by a group of hostiles. When Ellie attempts to rescue her, it seems that Dina is executed before her eyes.
She vows to ‘kill every last one of them’, and narrative lead and co-writer Halley Gross explained how Ellie’s emotional suffering will inform the direction that The Last of Us Part II will take. ‘Obviously Ellie experiences this deep trauma, it has an impact on her that’s going to affect how she engages with the world,’ Gross said to PlayStation Official Magazine. ‘That’s going to affect her tone as we sort of descend through that.’
Though it will explore a grim and gritty take on survival and retribution, the game will let the light shine in. ‘That being said, Ellie is driven by love,’ she said. ‘It’s love that sends her on this mission for justice. It’s love that she feels for Joel, for Dina – these moments that buoy her.’ Gross pointed out that the character of Ellie will be fundamentally changed by her experiences, even though the people around her will do their best to support her.
‘What we’re really trying to do is challenge Ellie to see who she can become when she grows up in such a hostile environment. And part of writing is, very unfortunately, torturing your
characters, putting them in hard situations, and testing their values and testing their drive,’ she explained. ‘So while we love Ellie, and we’re really excited to see her grow up, we’re certainly not going to coddle her.’
Gross also commended the entire team working on the new game, saying that they’re ‘wizards’ and are responsible for the ‘most complex, nuanced character in a video game’ yet.
The Last of Us Part II will release on February 21, 2020 for PlayStation 4.