After playing The Last of Us and hearing the game’s final conversation, I stood firmly in my belief that this game should never receive a sequel. It was the perfect swan song for the PlayStation 3 and most people considered it an instant classic. But you don’t always get what you want and for better or worse Naughty Dog have assured us that there will be The Last of Us 2. Now that wheels of game development are in motion, here are a few places the game could explore to keep things fresh.
The Utopian Town
If you live in a post-apocalyptic world long enough, chances are you will stumble upon a city or town that is virtually untouched by the ruin of the world. The Last of Us’ clever writing and world made for the most realistic social structure I have seen in any medium. It would be great to see how it would handle the infrastructure of a small city and its politics. Gameplay would focus around your sneaking and listening skills and detection would lead to some appropriately harsh deaths for the world, even in such a “peaceful” place.
The Last of Us was a cross-country American tour, covering a wide area of real life locals and cities. Being from Texas, I was flabbergasted when Joel and his brother hopped on I-10 and attempted to escape on a road I’ve literally driven down. Imagine if there were more of America’s most famous places to crawl through. It probably wouldn’t be as close as down the street, but it would be nice to see more of the country’s most visited places and stand in spots you’ve been before, watching nature reclaim what was originally hers.
Outside of North America, Cordyceps – the parasitic mushroom strand – is also found in Asia, Australia, China, Europe, and Russia. If Naughty Dog decides to develop a new protagonist, as they should, it should feature one struggling for survival in a place across the oceans. As great as it would be to see more American places and vistas, the world is a much bigger place to explore. Dodging clickers along the Great Wall, fighting off bandits in the Outback, and holding on for dear life in the Saint Basil’s Cathedral would all make for unforgettable experiences.
We had glimpses of the wilderness in the first game, but there were always some man made structures close by that bled seamlessly into nature. I believe it was the right design choice to do so. Still, in the second game it would be interesting to truly be surrounded by the wild on all sides. Whether in a dense forest or swamp, it has the potential to greatly expand the universe. From a story standpoint you could be part of a crew trying to discover the strains of Cordyceps that started to affect humans while crossing paths with new monstrosities to fend off as you get closer to finding where the new mushrooms began to grow. Exotic and warped fauna combined with environmental hazards would really drive the sci-fi vibe home.
From the jungles to world capitals, The Last of Us 2 has some prime real estate to choose from. It will be nice to see any of these places implemented in the new title, but if not I’m sure the spirit of the original will be ever present making for a great adventure either way. Whether we will transverse this new world with Joel and Ellie or with a pair of fresh faces, it will be interesting to see where the future of humanity will take us all.