Neil Druckmann, co-creator of The Last of Us, revealed that Naughty Dog initially wanted to create a prequel game to explore the events leading to the encounter between Joel and Ellie, before scrapping the project altogether. The Last of Us is one of the most popular video games of recent years and a prequel would have drawn major sales if this project ever hit the shelves.
Fans of Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic franchise have been hoping for additional backstory for a long time, with the addition of a Last of Us prequel exploring the relationship between Joel and Tommy or one that could shed more light on what happened after Sarah’s death in the opening sequence of the original game. As the events of The Last of Us Part 1 take place 20 years after the start of the cordyceps pandemic, plenty of information was left out for the players when they begin the adventures of Joel and Ellie, whether concerning the characters’ backstories or everything else that happened when the world as people knew it collapsed.
In a recent interview for the Kinda Funny show, Neil Druckmann revealed that Naughty Dog considered a Last of Us prequel focussing on Ellie’s mother. This prequel would have explained Ellie’s immunity to the cordyceps virus and her relationship with the Fireflies. This project wouldn’t have been directly developed by Naughty Dog, but by another studio introduced to Druckmann by Greg Miller, host of the Kinda Funny show. The Last of Us prequel, despite being a good idea to shed more light on the characters’ past, was eventually scrapped.
During Episode 9 of The Last of Us HBO series, viewers discovered a pregnant woman called Anna, played by Ellie’s original voice actor Ashley Johnson. Anna gives birth to Ellie while being bitten by an infected, which could be the reason Ellie is immune to the cordyceps infection. Later in that same episode, Fireflies leader Marlene explains to Joel that the cordyceps believe Ellie is already infected, and that might be the reason she is immune. According to Neil Druckmann, this entire story was planned for the original Last of Us game, but it went back more in time than what the studio could cover in a single video game.
Even if this Last of Us prequel game never made it to players’ consoles, this project proves that Naughty Dog still has many stories to tell. The HBO series provided additional backstory information that players didn’t get from the game, and the upcoming season could give further details about the past of Joel, Ellie, and their companions. However, The Last of Us Part 3 is probably not Naughty Dog’s next project so players will have to wait longer to find out what happened after the end of The Last of Us Part 2.
The Last of Us Part 1 is available now on PS5, and a PC port will be released on March 28.