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The Last Of Us 2's Most Controversial Character Was Almost Very Different

"The Last of Us 2" earned favorable reviews from critics when it was released in 2020, but fans were overall divided on the game. For many gamers, a dramatic twist midway through the game left them feeling shaken, and thrust the character of Abby into the pop culture limelight. Naughty Dog and Laura Bailey, the voice actor for Abby, received extensive criticism and threats online, eventually prompting Neil Druckmann, the game's director, to comment on the harassment. Now, fans have discovered another secret about Abby that acts as a testament to a different life she might have had.

Fans already know that "The Last of Us 2" is freakishly detailed, but some of those stylistic flourishes also hint at what the game looked like earlier in its development. YouTuber Caitlin shared a video of a recent discovery in "The Last of Us 2" that illustrates this very concept. 

It turns out that Abby is mentioned fairly early in the game, right after Ellie becomes playable. In the clip, a group of NPCs discussed snow plow duties, looking at a clipboard for guidance, and although they don't appear until much later in the game, Abby and Manny's names are visible on the schedule. What seems like a fun easter egg actually represents Abby's original character concept, and a different path for Abby's plot.

Abby could have been in Jackson

In an interview with IGN from last July, Neil Druckmann explained that he initially wanted Abby to live in Jackson along with Ellie and Joel. "Abby joined the community and you were playing as this new character until she betrayed Joel later on," Druckmann said. "And it just didn't work because Joel dying is the inciting incident, and you want to get to the inciting incident as quickly as you can." 

In order to progress the story more efficiently, the team had to cut the original idea of Abby being part of the Jackson community. However, it seems that the team left in Abby and Manny's names as a gentle nod to what could have been. 

Some commenters have pointed out that players can find the same clipboard later in the game, when Abby arrives at the hospital. There are other names gamers might recognize, too: Nathan Morgan and Sam Morgan from the "Uncharted" series, both of whom later took the last name Drake, also seem to be on the list for snow plow duty. Fans have long suspected that there might be a deeper connection between the two Naughty Dog franchises, and easter eggs like this only serve to deepen that theory.