It appears that The Last of Us 3 still isn’t in production, but director Neil Druckmann says he’s got a concept for the third game that could tie a whole trilogy together.
Druckmann took on the topic of this theoretical third game as part of the recently released documentary on the making of The Last of Us 2. “I’ve been thinking about, ‘Is there a concept there?’ And for now years, I haven’t been able to find that concept. But recently that’s changed. I don’t have a story, but I do have that concept, that, to me, is as exciting as 1, as exciting as 2, is its own thing, yet has this through-line for all three. So it does feel like there’s probably one more chapter to this story.”
That said, Druckmann seems like he’d be satisfied to leave the story of the first two games to stand alone: “The first game had such a clean concept of the unconditional love a parent feels for their child. The second one, once we landed on this idea of the pursuit of justice at any cost, justice for the ones you love, it felt like there’s a clean concept here and there’s a through-line from the first game about love. If we never get to do it again, this is a fine ending point. The last bite of the apple, the story’s done.”
He adds that the “great thing about working at Naughty Dog” is that the studio doesn’t feel pressured to churn out sequels to its hits. “It’s always like, we would love another Last of Us, but if you guys are passionate about something else, we’ll support this other thing. Very privileged position to be in. I never take that for granted.”
Of course, there’s no doubt that many Last of Us fans would be excited to return to these characters, and Druckmann says he’s had an idea for a shorter story featuring Tommy that he’d love the chance to tell.
“I mentioned we have written a story that takes place after Last of Us 2 that stars Tommy. I hope one day we get to make it. The headlines across the industry were like, ‘Naughty Dog has outlined The Last of Us Part 3.’ And that’s actually wrong. It was always a small story, it was never a full title. At the time, we had higher priorities at Naughty Dog, to fix our pipeline, to fix work-life balance issues. Just based on where we were, I didn’t wanna prioritize this story, so that story was shelved. I still believe one day it will see the light of day. I don’t know if it’ll be a game or a show.”
This documentary has also revealed that The Last of Us 2 was originally a Bloodborne-inspired open-world game because Naughty Dog wanted it to be “as different as humanly possible from the first game.”