The Last of Us Part II is a resounding success. It has been showered with hundreds of Game of the Year Awards, critical acclaim, and commercial success.
Not only did the game garner all sorts of praise from the critics, but it succeeded in eliciting all sorts of responses from the fanbase at large.
Divisive, sadistic, and brave were a few adjectives thrown around regarding The Last of Us Part II. Regardless of the divide that exists, it is beyond doubt that the game exceeded expectations on a lot of fronts.
The Last of Us Part II, as a narrative-driven single-player experience, did what it set out to do and upped the ante from the original. Not only did it feature an ambitious story on a larger, but it also expanded upon the formula gameplay-wise and introduced new elements.
5 potential reasons why there probably won't be a Last of Us Part 3
#5 - Neil Druckmann's comments relating to DLC and Sequel
Neil Druckmann, game director and co-writer for The Last of Us Part II, has been rather upfront regarding a DLC for the game. In a podcast with Greg Miller from Kinda Funny Games, Neil Druckmann stated that there was currently no plan for a DLC for The Last of Us Part II akin to the original's Left Behind DLC.
This is not the only time Druckmann had commented on this. While discussing the possibility of a sequel with IndieWire, he did his best to be as vague and danced around the possibility of a sequel.
He explained how finding the right story and building on themes from the original, and staying true to the core was a monumental task and how it will be exponentially difficult for a sequel.
"With the first game, there were no expectations, and it was like we could do anything. But now that we’ve established certain characters and themes and processes, it felt like to justify making a “Part II,” we had to do something not that fans would be comfortable with, but do something that would match the emotional core we found in the first game. And without that, there’d be no reason to do a “Part III.”
He further explained how players had seen so much of the backstory of The Last of Us and the world. Finding the right story is paramount.
#4 - A Definitive Ending
As the curtains drew on The Last of Us Part II and players saw Ellie walk into the distance, parting ways with Joel's guitar, it felt like a definitive ending. The original wrapped up on a similarly melancholic tone and one that instantly gave way to speculation and concern at the prospect of a sequel.
However, in contrast with the original, Part II takes every single story arc introduced and ties it off masterfully by the end. Whether it was Abby and Lev's fight for survival or Ellie's path of revenge, it is safe to say that both have reached their conclusion.
Simply put, there is little to no need for Naughty Dog or Neil Druckmann to revisit the story as it ended on a poignant note. With its 20 plus hour campaign, The Last of Us Part II is a double album of sort thanks to its given its themes and length.
#3 - Signing off on a high note
An age-old adage exists in art, entertainment, and perhaps even in game development that one should always end on the highest note. To tell one's funniest joke and then walk off the stage.
The Last of Us Part II represents an extremely high point for Naughty Dog, both creatively and commercially. It is, by far, the most complex narrative crafted by the studio and easily its most ambitious to date, and it will be hard to top that in the years to come.
Therefore, the risk involved in improving on something as monumental as The Last of Us Part II seems way too big for Naughty Dog right now. Given how the studio has been excellent at introducing new IPs and making a success out of almost every one of them, it only makes sense for the studio to move on from the franchise.
#2 - New IPs should be the focus
As is the case with any studio, once the prospect of a franchise begins to emerge, it is simply irresistible to not build on it with one sequel after the other. However, Naughty Dog has done a masterful job at avoiding those temptations.
Whether it was Uncharted, The Last of Us, or Jak and Daxter, Naughty Dog has been a pioneer in the single-player space by making franchises out of new IPs. While The Last of Us Part III would sell ridiculously well, the studio's focus might be on a new IP.
Even co-director Bruce Straley (The Last of Us), formerly at Naughty Dog, believes the industry's focus and game devs should be on a new IP.
Neil Druckmann has toyed with the idea of a sequel for both Uncharted and The Last of Us in an interview with GQ. At the same time, he also expressed his desire to work on new IP and how an entirely new cast of characters and setting would essentially be a new IP entirely.
“People are always like, ‘Do another one but focus [on] all-new characters.’ Or like, ‘Do it in, like, Europe. Or do it in Japan. Do something really different.’” But in the end, he felt that diverging from Joel and Ellie’s story was the “coward’s way out. To me, at that point, you might as well do a new IP," he said.
#1 - Naughty Dog's online ambitions
In The Last of Us, the Factions multiplayer had unprecedented popularity and quickly became a fan-favorite. The multiplayer aspect did not feel tacky and was a completely fleshed-out and intricate game mode.
As a result, fans had been expecting Factions to make a return in Part II. Apparently, that aspect of the game grew to an unprecedented scale.
Druckmann had this to say:
"We wanted to address multiplayer in The Last of Us Part 2. As we’ve stated, the single-player campaign is far and away the most ambitious project Naughty Dog has ever undertaken. Likewise, as development began on the evolution of our Factions mode from The Last of Us Part 1, the vision of the team grew beyond an additional mode that could be included with our enormous single-player campaign."
It seems like big things are brewing at Naughty Dog and a part III isn't probably on the horizon. But, as has been made pretty apparent time and time again in game development, things can change on a dime, and The Last of Us Part III could materialize.