2013’s The Last of Us remains one of the greatest action/adventure games ever made. In a world where a mysterious fungus has turned most of the population into mindless rage machines, a teenager named Ellie and the man tasked with protecting her, Joel, forged a bond that rose above the gore and hopelessness of their dystopia. It’s revealed in the original that Ellie is has been infected by the fungus, but for some miracle, is asymptomatic. That makes her very valuable, something that Joel realizes near the end of the game, and he makes the decision to rescue Ellie from the scientists who plan to kill her and use her body to try and find a cure.
The Last of Us 2, which comes out on February 21, 2020, picks up a few years after we last saw Joel and Ellie. Ellie is an adult now, and a force to be reckoned with. Last year, Sony and game studio Naughty Dog released a sneak peek of Ellie and a new love interest: Dina. The hyper-realistic style of The Last of Us is thanks to motion-capture technology and some really terrific acting. Ellie is played by Ashley Johnson (Blindspot, Critical Role) who has a real gift at bringing Ellie to life in this medium. In the DLC (downloadable content) Left Behind from 2014, we learn that Ellie started exploring her feelings for girls early on. In that powerful DLC, Ellie and her best friend Riley spend the day together, goofing off and finally kissing, before they are both infected. For Riley, it’s a death sentence, for Ellie, the beginning of a long, strange journey. It’s a credit to Naughty Dog that they continued Ellie’s journey with her sexuality as an adult, as it could have been written off as a youthful experience.
In The Last of Us: Part 2 first trailer, Ellie and Dina share a searing kiss on the dance floor. The new trailer, that was released yesterday, delves more into their connection. The first thing we see as the trailer opens is Dina asking Ellie to rate their kiss from the night before. If you like your games with queer processing, then this is the one for you! It’s cute, and for a moment, we think Ellie might have a chance at happiness, but I fear there will be some Bury Your Gays action on the horizon. Dina and Ellie go out on patrol together, but it appears the women get separated and Ellie is forced to watch a rival group (we think?) do something terrible to Dina (again speculation, could be a red herring). If this is true, it’s highly disappointing but not unexpected. Speculation early on was that possibly it was Joel that was captured and killed by the rivals, but we just found out that it definitely isn’t him. In horror, which The Last of Us certainly is, death is almost a certainty for all but the final girl. Ellie is our final girl, and seeing her wear Dina’s bracelet in later scenes doesn’t help the speculation that Dina is an early casualty in the game.
Battered and bruised, Ellie prepares to “finish it” and sets off on her own to find the people who have wronged her. After years with Joel and training, Ellie has become an absolute force to be reckoned with. Since she is immune to the fungus, she has an advantage that others do not. As she fights her way through her enemies, she’s joined by Joel who finds out about her plans and refuses to let his “daughter” to go it alone.
You can check out the trailer below. Multiple collectors editions of the game are available for pre-order and contain extras like pins, statuettes and more.