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All the Last of Us 2 rumors and spoilers leaked so far

When Naughty Dog's The Last of Us released on the PlayStation 3 in June 2013, it captured the hearts of players and critics alike, securing a spot on the list of the best video games ever made. Reviewers praised the survival horror game's many elements, especially the story, characterization, visual and sound design, and unique gameplay. Captivated by the exclusive, many publications named the title one of the most significant games of its generation. Bolstered by this success, The Last of Us sold over 1.3 million copies within a week of launch and, as of April 2018, had moved 17 million units across the PlayStation 3 and its remaster on the PlayStation 4.

Announced at the PlayStation Experience in December 2016, The Last of Us Part 2 remains one of the most anticipated game releases. Though Sony has released three trailers for the game, details remain scarce. Here are all the rumors and spoilers leaked so far.

2019 release date

Several signs point towards a 2019 release date for the game. During a recent concert, composer Gustavo Santaolalla said The Last of Us 2 is "coming very soon." Music selections published on YouTube by the PlayStation Music channel in September 2018 supported this assertion, displaying 2019 next to the title in the description for each video. YouTube has since removed the listings but not before a quick-thinking Reddit user grabbed a screenshot.

Further fueling the fire, PlayStation Europe included Last of Us 2 in their "Coming Attractions" trailer at the start of the year; the game has since appeared under the "Coming Soon" section on PlayStation in the US, UK, and other countries. Promotional materials issued by LAWGAMERS, a Peruvian gaming retailer, have placed the launch in October 2019. As with all rumors, this date could prove incorrect as it does not stem from an official Sony or Naughty Dog announcement. Though a 2019 release seems likely, a tweet made by Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier on May 29 indicates that the Last of Us release was planned for this fall but has since been delayed to early 2020.

Ellie's mothers puts in an appearance

The Paris Games Week 2017 trailer introduced several new characters to the Last of Us franchise. Due to her similar physical features, many fans believe one of the women portrayed is Ellie's mother, Anna, who died shortly after Ellie's birth. During a series of follow-up tweets, Naughty Dog shared the names of the new characters revealed during the trailer, blacking out the four letters composing the name of the woman in question.

During an interview, Last of Us 2 writer Neil Druckmann revealed the team's focus on "some of the other really important characters." He expanded on this comment, stating: "Instead of giving you an adjacent puzzle piece about Ellie and Joel's journey, we wanted to go somewhere else and give you something else and to see how people make the connections. But as far as who these characters are, what their conflict is, where this takes place, when this takes place, we're gonna leave it up to the fans." Though subtle, Druckmann's emphasis on the time and place when these moments occur points towards possible flashbacks to Anna and the days leading up to Ellie's birth. A tweet from Druckmann on Mother's Day in 2018 depicting a pregnant woman wearing a gas mask with the heading "The Last of Us American Daughters" further hints at the possibility of Anna's presence in the game.

Joel died between Last of Us and Last of Us 2

Many fans believe that Joel died in the five years between the events of The Last of Us and The Last of Us 2. Though Naughty Dog has not confirmed the theory, several small details throw some weight behind it. During an interview with IGN in June 2018, Druckmann revealed that Ellie would be the only playable character in the game, an assertion supported by the trailers and gameplay revealed so far.

Joel has remained absent from the Last of Us 2 footage, except for the reveal trailer. Even there, you never see his face, and other aspects of the scene cast their own doubts. Showing Ellie playing the guitar surrounded by dead bodies, the trailer emphasizes her bloody quest for revenge. Though Joel confronts her, the dialogue they share sounds more like the thoughts of a troubled mind than a true conversation, hinting that Joel may not be there, acting instead as the manifestation of her guilty conscience. His murder would also make sense as the motivation for her killing frenzy.

Combat on horseback

Another tweet from Neil Druckmann hints at one of The Last of Us 2's possible gameplay features. Shared in April 2017, the tweet included a photo of co-writer Halley Gross brandishing a shotgun model on what appears to be a makeshift horse.

The presence of the horse in what appears to be one of the game's motion capture sessions, along with the faux weapon, suggests that players may find themselves battling infected from the saddle. The first game included moments on horseback, so the concept is not too much of a stretch. The Last of Us already has a lot of great gameplay elements, but the addition of mounted combat, should the interpretation of the image prove true, could pose an exciting new challenge for players. Whether they're used to battle or escape enemies, or as a simple mode of transportation, it seems horses will reprise their role in the series.

Ellie may have a canine companion

In a July 2018 interview with BuzzFeed, Druckmann revealed that Ellie would have a companion during the game: "Umm, it's safe to say with the game that we made in the past that there will be some NPC with you in this story, even though we're not showing [the NPC] in this demo." A few months before the interview, Druckmann shared pictures of a dog in a motion capture suit on both Twitter and Instagram, leading many fans to believe that Ellie would have a new canine friend to keep her company during her journey.

While dogs may appear in the Last of Us 2 for another purpose, the "boy and his dog" trope has proven a well-loved storytelling element across multiple genres. In a game that's shaping up to be quite dark, a canine friend could add a much-needed sliver of light, though fans were quick to accuse Druckmann of setting them up for greater heartbreak via a fate similar to Will Smith's dog in I Am Legend.

Final stages of production

Tweets from members of the Last of Us 2 team indicate that the game has entered the final stages of production. On April 19, Halley Gross shared an image of herself and Druckmann high-fiving, a celebration of the fact that they were "done with cinematics." An earlier tweet revealed that Laura Bailey, who plays the woman thought to be Ellie's mother, had finished her performance capture. "Thanks for helping to bring one of my favorite characters to life," said Druckmann. "You crushed it." Motion capture for Ellie and Joel wrapped on April 18 with, according to Druckmann, "the most ambitious cinematic shoot we've ever done."

On May 10, Last of Us 2 co-director Anthony Newman also took to Twitter in search of new hires for Naughty Dog. "Lot of awesome positions open to help us close out this game," said Newman. "I especially want to highlight the Melee Animator position, I guarantee you will be working on some *dope* animations."

Dina's death spurs Ellie's rampage

In the Last of Us 2 E3 2018 trailer, Naughty Dog revealed Dina, Ellie's partner. Dina wears a distinct bracelet, the same bracelet Ellie wears in the gameplay portion of the trailer. This implies that Dina is dead during the events of the game, another possible explanation for why Ellie says "I'm gonna find and I'm gonna kill every last one of them" in the reveal trailer. According to one fan theory, Ellie may have accidentally killed Dina herself by spreading the fungus present in her system through prolonged contact. 

Other fans insist that using Dina's death to motivate Ellie's murder spree would be too obvious a plot point for Naughty Dog, a developer known for their well thought out plot twists. Instead, Dina may give Ellie the bracelet when she leaves to go after Joel's killers. This would make some sense, as the bracelet displays a hamsa, a popular symbol in the Middle East used to ward off evil and bring protection and luck to the bearer. As Dina is both a Jewish and LGBTQ character, both of which are unrepresented in video games and other popular media, many prospective players hope the latter theory will prove true. According to Druckmann, who drew on his own heritage when creating the character, incorporating diversity into the game was an important aim for the team. "It's rare to see a Jewish character in a video game, and for her to own that," he commented.