It’s Time The Last of Us Left Ellie Behind

ellie the last of us

Recently, gamers the world over started buzzing about a mention of a third chapter of The Last of Us, as uttered by franchise creator Neil Druckmann during the ‘Grounded II’ documentary. In a simple phrase, Druckmann referenced that there could be ‘one more chapter to this story‘, referencing events in The Last of Us that have unfolded over the last decade.

However, I’m eager for Druckmann and Naughty Dog to depart from the established story we explored in 2013’s The Last of Us and 2020’s The Last of Us Part II. I think it’s finally time that Ellie – arguably the most important character in The Last of Us’ universe – should be retired and left behind (no pun intended, TLOU fans).

It Might Already Be The Case

Be warned: If you’ve not played The Last of Us Part II, this article will spoil the entire plot.

It could be that Naughty Dog already has a concept for a third title that takes us far away from Ellie’s story. Toward the end of The Last of Us Part II, it becomes apparent that she effectively loses everything, opting to chase down her nemesis on a burning path of revenge as opposed to living peacefully with her young family on an idyllic farm in Wyoming. Her story wraps up following her decimation of Abby’s circle, and after she lets the game’s antagonist flee relatively unharmed, it’s made clear that her journey has come to an end.

There’s little left for Ellie to pursue following the final scenes of The Last of Us Part II. She’s left to tragically succumb to her biggest fear – being left alone in a world devastated by man and disease alike.

What’s the alternative?

I’d prefer an entirely new story in a fresh setting with an unknown host of characters. It’d be a detachment from ‘what we’re used to’ and it would sever the story thus far, but in truth, 2013’s The Last of Us could have been a one-shot title – and that was one of the most popular games of the generation, scooping up hundreds of awards.

Recently, Naughty Dog announced the cancellation of a multiplayer-based Last of Us title that would have been a standalone project, featuring a host of new characters and locales – and there were rumours it would have been an extraction shooter, too. That was hugely exciting, for the sole reason that I’m desperate to see how the rest of the country has fared.

As The Last of Us unravels through Part I and Part II, we get a glimpse at various areas of the post-apocalyptic nation and the story is mostly the same everywhere else, but the breadth of possibilities is overwhelming. Like Fallout and its ability to take players to a new setting with each new title, The Last of Us should transport the player to somewhere completely new in Part III.

And yes, Naughty Dog could do that with Ellie at the helm, but I think there’s nothing left for her character in that universe anymore. She has been the face of the game for more than a decade and her tale has been played out. From the first game to the second, she became increasingly withdrawn, disillusioned, and brutal as a character, and aside from a few snatched scenes with Dina, her love interest in TLOU II, Ellie’s path has led down a road too dark to be enjoyably explored by players in another iteration.

There’s something there for Abby and the Fireflies, but would that draw too much backlash from the fans?

I’m all for a paradigm shift. I wouldn’t mind an open-world Last of Us title set in a vast area that can be settled and explored at will, fraught with risks, danger, and hostile factions. That’s my preference, though. In truth, being a die-hard Last of Us fan, I’m just desperate for the story to continue in any way possible – but I’m satisfied with Ellie’s tale having been well and truly told.

For more Insider Gaming coverage, check out the news that a new Resident Evil game is in development

    1. Ellie is solely the cure for the disease as a whole..yes her story has a point where it could be finished and as refreshing as it could be.. I still believe that Ellie’s story needs to have a true ending. The last of us isn’t the same without either Ellie or Joel.. she deserves an ending that suits and I still think there is more to tell maybe has a baby and gets taken into a cult or something when she’s a little older. Sort of a roles reversed with her and she is the protector could be cool

  1. I completely, and wholeheartedly disagree with this take. There is still the largest mystery of the entire game series to unravel – why is Ellie immune? There were new tidbits in TLOU II that seem to hint the reason is because she already has *another* cordyceps infection that prevents the new advanced form of cordyceps from taking root. This is further reason why they needed to kill her to study her brain, because the infection had already taken root in her brain stem. Without this arc for her character, Joel is never really proven wrong. She will be faced to confront again, that the world may have truly been saved if not for his actions.

    This also brings up another interesting dynamic. Given this realization, Ellie cannot possibly be the only immune person in the world. So, Joel, was also half-right. We will certainly get a new cast of characters – they killed everyone else. However, I think Ellie will have more of a supporting role in this game; rather than being a playable character for a considerable chunk of the game. She brings with her an incredible amount of weight now every time she is on screen, and that can be better utilized as an NPC.

    Instead, I think this game will focus on a new lead, and new group; and have the characters we know and love be the run-ins along the road to where we are going. One other key thing, is that the cancelled multiplayer game, brings with it a ton of assets they are going to want to flip. These will hurry development along, as it means not having to build entire sections of the game from scratch. I think TLOU 3 will actually be announced in 2025, and release in 2026. The teams working on these remasters, have never been the main team.

    Laura Bailey really wanted a significant role in TLOU 3. From the height of the vitriol against her, she was still pushing for it. I think Abby will definitely have a significant role in this new story, even if Ellie takes more of a backseat. However, I fundamentally disagree that TLOU 3 will be absent Ellie.

  2. I won’t be back for a part 3 despite part 1 being my best memory in gaming. They ruined it with part 2. Neil Drunkman was so desperate to virtue signal that he created a character, Abby, that made no logical sense in his own world.

    Let look at the facts. The beginning of the apocalypse started around 20 years before the start of The Last of Us 1. Five more years passed from the end of The Last of Us 1to the beginning of part 2. Abby, Joel’s reaper, is said to be in her early 20’s. We will be generous and say she was born on the day of the apocalypse and is 25. Which means Abby decided to switch from Male to Female in the middle of the apocalypse.

    Now let’s say Abby took the easiest path to reversing her gender. She decided to undergo hormone therapy at an early age. If she went this route it means her parents put their lives at risk to seek out this medication years after the start of the apocalypse. That’s the first part. We must also consider that Abby is built like Hulk Hogan, which means regular very generous doses of non-testosterone steroids was also required. Achieving the body of Abby would be hard enough for male full of testosterone, much less a female on estrogen. In other words there are very steroids which would suit Abby. She would most likely require specialized horse steroids. This still wouldn’t be enough. Human Growth Hormone and a cocktail of other enhancers would be needed. 3k-5k calories a day and a heavy workout regime and maybe Abby could achieve the body of the character in the game. Although it’s still a stretch as more is needed.

    Abby’s second option is to transition later in life and find a surgeon specialized in sex change surgery’s. Given the ravaging horde of clickers outside this would be a near impossible task to find a doctor willing to risk his life to perform this surgery. If Abby hit the jackpot and managed to locate this doctor she would still need to visit him multiple times to achieve the physical body she had in the game.

    In other words both of the scenarios above are outright ridiculous and over the top. Mr. Drunkman’s obsession with earning some public brownie points helped destroy a games narrative that doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Hopefully the hack Mr. Drunkman isn’t allowed to take part in any of The Last of Us 3. I also hope anyone else who thought the character of Abby was a good idea to be strictly prohibited from participating in the project.

  3. Terrible idea, want an open world game? Play days gone. Ellie’s story didn’t come to an end until she found meaning, something to fight for.

  4. Nah… When Neil mentioned the 3rd story he was specifically referring to the one involving Ellie. The 3rd part of the story only makes sense if it focuses on redemption. And that means Ellie needs to redeem herself for all the murder and mayhem she’s caused. The only way I can see that happening is if she attempts to team up with Abby and to find the fireflies and then sacrifice herself to save humanity. It was made pretty clear that she would’ve wanted to sacrifice herself if she’d been given the choice. But Joel took that choice away which is why she was so angry with him.

  5. Terrible idea. You can’t ditch the protagonist of a series it just never works. Look at The Walking Dead. Yea sure that’s a tv show but point still stands, that show fell apart after Rick left.The fact that you think Abby could somehow lead the whole next installment baffles me. The character is more finished than Ellie is.

  6. In what way would this idea be ‘part 3’ if literally nothing from the first two games – bar what is a fairly generic post apocalyptic setting – is retained?

    People had these ideas after the first game too – all the Ish hype – but it fundamentally misunderstands what the games are about. They’re character studies of Ellie, Joel, Abby &, to a lesser extent, the people they love &/or hurt. To say you want a last of us game without Ellie (or Joel or Abby) is tantamount to saying you don’t want another last of us game. That’s fine btw, I can see a case for not having a third part. It’s not like the setting & the world, while well-realised, are particularly unique. The USP is those characters.

  7. There is no The Last of Us without Joel and Ellie. I’d like to see a 3rd game where Ellie’s story ends. After that, anything without them should be a different game all together. You can’t have a Superman game with no Superman…

  8. Can anyone just write an article these days? There went zero research into the crap this writer just wrote about.

    Ellie’s story is so far from being finished. In the world of last of us, noone is as important as Ellie. She’s not alone at the end, she’s at peace.

    Story wise, I’d go so far as to even say the next story takes another 3 years later, the fireflies reestablished, cross country journey to sacrifice herself for humanity, thus taking everything full circle. Then in the process she might even cross paths with Abby who says there’s one person that can make a cure, opposite side of the country and then they both set out on this journey and become friends.

    I’d pay to see that. But nit this crap about a different group of characters that have absolutely no bearing on the world of last of. Us

  9. The Last of Us is not The Last of Us without Joel and/or Ellie. Anything else is a spin-off. Ellie’s story is far from done.

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