×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Last of Us Part 2 trailer explained

It's been six years since Joel and Ellie's adventure in The Last of Us, and since then, many of us have wondered what happened to them in the aftermath of that game's finale. With the latest trailer for The Last of Us Part 2, Naughty Dog have finally revealed when we can expect to return to the world of the cordyceps infection. But before the game arrives in February 2020, we have quite a bit to chew on and plenty of time to speculate. 

The new trailer, unveiled during PlayStation's State of Play conference on Sept. 24, doesn't show us quite as much gameplay as the massive E3 2018 trailer. However, it more than makes up for that with some of the clearest looks at the game's plot and tone that we've gotten yet. We're talking returning characters, new enemies, and the reveal that one of the biggest fan theories of the franchise may not be true, after all. 

It doesn't give us all of the answers, thankfully. However, there is still so much to discuss, so let's break down this new trailer and see what awaits us in The Last of Us Part 2.

The Last of Us Part 2 brings us new civilization and new love

Years have passed since the events of the first game. In the place of the terrified shanty towns we saw before, Ellie is living in a quiet little frontier town full of families. Life seems to be returning to some level of normalcy. Electricity appears to be a bit more common and sustainable, with strings of lights outside of the buildings, which all have well-lit interiors. Children play in the streets, something we'd never have imagined in the violence of the first game. The world appears to have moved on from the awful times we saw before.

Ellie has also found new love, as we see her about to discuss the kiss she shared with her friend Dina the night before. Afterwards, they get ready to head out on some kind of supply run.

Ellie rides out

Arming Ellie and Dina for their supply run is another returning character from the E3 2018 trailer: Jesse, another local and apparently Dina's ex-boyfriend. He also seems a little annoyed with the pair, telling them he wondered when they were going to show. There's clearly some kind of tension in the group following Ellie and Dina's kiss.

Regardless, the pair saddle up and ride out on horseback across the snowy landscape. Fans of Red Dead Redemption should feel right at home, as it appears that players will be able to control Ellie as they ride the horses to their destination. We hear the pair being warned about how to proceed on their journey, to be careful and to turn back if they come up against anything dangerous. Though the trek appears to begin on a peaceful note, things take a turn for the eerie when Ellie spots a deer that appears to have been mauled and gutted. 

Among the infected

Ellie and Dina enter a house that appears to be full of the fungal infection that caused the apocalyptic outbreak that kicked off the franchise. Spores hang in the air as Dina and Ellie make their way through the building, guns drawn and wearing breathing masks on their faces to filter out the fungus. It appears that the building has been rotting for some time, as the floor gives way and Ellie falls below, despite Dina's efforts to catch her.

The camera cuts to black and we hear an unmistakable sound that lets us know that Ellie and Dina have finally encountered one of the infected. For the first time in the trailer, we see one of these monsters, a Clicker type, screeching at Dina as she trains her gun on it. The Clickers are essentially blind, using a form of echolocation to find their prey. In other words, the pitch black of this house isn't a deterrent for them at all. As terrifying as this run in with the Clicker is, it's only the beginning of their troubles. Notably, this is also the last time we clearly see Dina in this trailer.

Tragedy strikes

Though we have been told that there will be interesting ways to exploit the Clickers in this game, possibly setting them against one another or after other human enemies, we are not given any indication as to how this particular standoff resolves itself. Instead, we see Ellie on horseback, guiding Dina's abandoned horse and searching through the snowy woods, calling out for Dina. It can be inferred that Ellie didn't find her again after falling through the floor. However, it doesn't appear that the Clicker got the best of Dina, as we see Ellie following a trail to a house with the lights on inside.

Following a bloody trail down some stairs, Ellie opens a door and appears to be shocked by what she finds. She is then accosted by a mysterious group who beats her and holds her down. She begs them to stop, but there is a gunshot. The implication is that these people, whoever they are, have violently killed Dina.

Tommy returns in The Last of Us Part 2

Some time later, Ellie is recovering from her deadly encounter. It's unclear if she was able to take any of them out or how she got away. All that we know is that she's mad as hell and ready to take the fight back to them. 

Ellie receives a visit from Tommy, the younger brother of Ellie's friend Joel from the first game. Tommy was a member of the Fireflies, the militia group that wanted to use Ellie to create a vaccine for the fungal infections, a process that would have resulted in Ellie's death. That plan went up in smoke when Joel killed a great deal of them, including their lead scientists, choosing his surrogate daughter over the future of humanity. Again, it's unclear how much of this Tommy was privy to, but he took in Joel and Ellie at the end of the first game, giving them a settlement to call home.

Here, it appears that Tommy has brought some kind of package with him. Are they some of Dina's belongings? Joel's? We likely won't learn what these contents are until the game drops. 

Know your enemy

Tommy tries to warn Ellie against going after the people responsible for her life's latest tragedy, telling her she doesn't know how many of them there are or how well they may be armed. Ellie refuses to be dissuaded: "I have to finish it."

As they discuss how unprepared she may be to battle these new threats, we see a montage of the enemy faction, which is likely the fanatical cult known as the Seraphites. We've heard a bit about the Seraphites in previous interviews with the game's creative team, as well as seen them in action in the E3 2018 trailer and the horrific Paris Games Week teaser from 2017, where they prepare a human sacrifice.

If the brief glimpses of them in this new trailer are anything to go by, they definitely have superior numbers, and they're not above torture and murder to further their goals. Ellie is a survivor, but she is just one person, going up against these people alone ... or is she?

The Last of Us Part 2 is all about Ellie's revenge

Regardless of being one person against a literal army, we see several flashes of Ellie dealing out deadly justice against the Seraphites and all manner of other dangers. Ellie's proficiency with a bow and arrow returns, with our heroine using it on a Seraphite with their weapon drawn. We also see her disarming a Seraphite and using his own axe against him, suggesting that Ellie will be much less of a stealth fighter this go around. This may be the right move, considering we've been told that the Seraphites will actually communicate with one another in the game, necessitating Ellie's quick work in putting them down before they can call reinforcements.

We also see Ellie fighting off a few of the infected, including a pair of Bloaters, the rarest and most dangerous class of these monsters. It looks like Ellie will have her work cut out for her as she forges a path through her enemies.

Is Joel still alive in The Last of Us Part 2?

The final reveal of the trailer comes when Ellie is grabbed from behind and turns to face ... Joel? Yes, it appears that her one-time guardian (appearing much older and wiser than when we last saw him) has returned to accompany her on her new mission. Joel also appears to physically interact with Ellie in this scene, restraining her and seemingly attempting to keep her from rushing head-on into danger, just like the old days. This seems to dash the theories about Joel possibly being dead by the time this story takes place, with his appearances relegated to flashbacks. 

It could be that this is some clever editing on Naughty Dog's part, designed to just make us think that these two scenes are taking place at the same time. Whatever the case, it's good to see Joel back in any capacity. We still don't know if he's ever admitted to Ellie what he did to the Fireflies and their plans, so this will likely play a part in their long-awaited reunion.

Lingering questions

While this trailer gives us quite a bit to fawn over until the game finally arrives in stores, there are still quite a few lingering questions. This is the mark of any good trailer, as it should have us speculating for months. There's the question of how much Joel will be involved, which Naughty Dog has been cagey about. Since Ellie is the only playable character in the game, it would be great to see Joel as her companion in a reversal of the roles from the original game. 

Another question that likely didn't occur to many before this trailer dropped is: where are all of the infected? We see a few of them in this trailer, but the majority of its runtime (as well as that of the previous trailers we've seen) has focused on Ellie's human enemies. Could it be that the spores are beginning to die off, along with the infected? That could explain why the world has been able to progress somewhat, as well as why people feel comfortable letting their children play outside.

We will learn the answers to these questions and more when The Last of Us Part 2 arrives on Feb. 21, 2020.