If you thought that Joel would be shoved to the side in The Last of Us Part II, think again.
For years, many fans of The Last of Us have hypothesized about how Joel, the main protagonist from the first game, would fit in to the sequel. In all of the footage that we had seen of The Last of Us Part II over the years, Joel was never directly shown, leading some to think that perhaps he could be dead in the sequel or at the very least, not as integral to the plot.
Well, after Joel’s appearance in the latest trailer for The Last of Us Part II, Naughty Dog director Neil Druckmann has now spoken about the character’s role in the game and has assured fans he is still a very vital part of things. Speaking to IGN, Druckmann talked about Joel and Ellie and their relationship saying, “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.” Druckmann went on to talk about where their relationship sits in The Last of Us Part II explaining, “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 didn’t go on much more about how Joel and Ellie will work together in The Last of Us Part II, likely to avoid spoiling anything major. He did also say that Dina, Ellie’s love interest in the game though, will also play “a major part” in the story. However, he didn’t confirm or deny that Dina dies near the game’s opening, which was somewhat hinted at in the newest trailer. Regardless of what happens here, this situation and the fallout from it is what pushes Ellie forward in the story.
Personally, I’ve never really understood why many expected Joel to not be involved in The Last of Us Part II in a massive way. He’s arguably a more vital character in the franchise that Ellie and to not have him play a large role would be equal parts disappointing and odd. Still, it’s good to hear that he’ll have a big part in this sequel, with whatever that might mean.
The Last of Us Part II will release on February 21, 2020, exclusively on PS4.