Joel has eluded a lot of the press materials that Naughty Dog has released with regards to The Last Of Us Part 2. And his absence is made all the more noticeable considering the starring role he played in the first. But rest assured all you Joelletes, the leading man will be back.
Just how involved in the plot he’ll be is yet to be seen, though. But it is promised to be “major”.
Speaking to IGN, Neil Druckmann explained that his relationship with Ellie is now very strained. Joel’s, that is, not Neil’s. Sure, the events of The Last Of Us played their part, but Ellie is now living through the teenage years – with all the terse exchanges that brings. Therefore, the two are no longer on the best of terms. And I assume the constant stress of death being a mere nibble away doesn’t help either.
Despite this, the interaction between the two is still central to the story of The Last Of Us Part 2. Even if it will be less familial, this time round. And, hence, Joel remains an important character to the tale. Despite his absence suggesting otherwise.
But don’t just take my word for it.
“Their relationship is strained. Some of it is because teenagers will be teenagers, and some of it is because of their history, which is why you haven’t seen them together a lot,” Druckmann said.
“So much of The Last of Us is about this duo and their dynamic and how they are together, how they play together. I will say Joel plays a major part of this game.”
However, Joel won’t be the only central character to Ellie’s next chapter. Dina will also throw her world into disarray – prompting the return of the survivor we watched develop in the first. But that’s about as much as Naughty Dog will say.