Last of Us Part II Almost Ended in a Very Different Way
It’ll be hard to avoid spoilers in this write-up, so here’s the warning: Critical Spoilers Ahead.
The Last of Us Part II Remastered has a developer commentary track that can be listened to as players explore the game, and it has revealed some telling secrets about the creation of the top-tier post-apocalyptic romp that was deeply controversial when it was released in 2020.
Namely, the developer track – narrated by Neil Druckmann – revealed that The Last of Us Part II’s ending was originally planned to go an entirely different way.
It Wasn’t Better
Note: The spoilers that will ruin the entire game for you start here.
In Neil Druckmann’s words, it was explained that at the end of The Last of Us Part II, Ellie was supposed to exact her ultimate revenge against kind-of-antagonist Abby, killing her by brutally drowning her in the final scenes. Instead, we got the ending where she relents, showing mercy and letting Abby escape with Lev to seek out the Fireflies once again.
Druckmann explained that the scenes were set the way they finally were because ‘Joel wouldn’t have wanted Ellie to kill Abby’. It was because he knew his death was inevitable and he accepted that fact because of all he’d done to innocent people along his own journey, which at that point had lasted some twenty-five years in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the United States.
It was better this way, though.
Earlier in the game, Abby has Ellie dead to rights and is on the verge of killing Dina, Ellie’s love interest. She shows mercy, realising what she was about to do and being effectively ‘talked down’ by Lev, whom she’d rescued earlier in the game. Instead, Abby instructs Ellie to leave, warning her that she doesn’t want to ever see her again. By doing this, Abby was effectively humanised following her brutal killing of Joel at the start of The Last of Us Part II. She’d turned a corner, changed her character, and averted all expectations.
Having Ellie undergo a similar journey was more impactful than if she’d been storied to kill Abby. Sadly, whether Ellie kills Abby or not likely wouldn’t have changed the ultimate ending of the game, as Ellie still effectively lost everything by pursuing Abby in the first place.