With The Last of Us Part II out now, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann and Hailey Gross share details that were changed during development.
Editor’s Note: Endgame spoilers for The Last of Us Part II are touched on in this article.
In an interview with Indiewire, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann and Hailey Gross shed light on some things that were cut from The Last of Us Part II.
One interesting detail Hailey Gross mentioned was how there were going to be five days in Seattle but they cut it down to three. She goes onto mention that Joel originally had a girlfriend which lead to a different ending.
“In the farm sequence, you can find an entry in Ellie’s journal where she writes about killing this boar and how it makes her feel — we shot cut-scenes for that,” says Druckmann. “There was a whole playable sequence of her hunting down a boar and it was awesome, but we felt that for pacing and production purposes it was just better to remove it. Art was done, and Ashley [Johnson] gave a great performance of how she kills this boar and everything.”
Druckmann goes onto mention how parts of the story didn’t land and it was intimidating to make them work. One scene he mentions is how Joel originally shouted Sarah’s name before he dies but actor Troy Baker suggested they do the scene without him mentioning his daughter.
“And sometimes it’s about what you add in,” says Druckmann. “The whole idea of putting in a flash of Joel playing guitar while Abby is drowning Ellie… for a long time people were confused why Ellie spares Abby. And we were like “What’s the right amount where we can just hint at something, but not be so explicit that it could only mean this one thing?” Because each decision that people make is complex. And it was really the editorial team who was like “What if we did this?” We thought it might be hokey, but it worked.”
The Last of Us Part II is available now on the PlayStation 4. If you’re interested to see where Naughty Dog takes the series from here, you can read their comments on a potential Last of Us Part III.