The decision of expanding the story of an already successful game versus creating an entirely new IP is something that, I’m sure, is a lot more terrifying for the actual developers than it is for us consumers. That being said, let’s try to hash out whether Naughty Dog should make The Last of Us 2 or make something entirely new.
To do this, first I feel we have to look at their track record.
Crash Bandicoot took the PS1 era by storm and each of its sequels did fairly well. Each had their ups and downs but they were generally pretty solid. The PS2 era saw the creation of Jak and Daxter, a game series that is widely considered as one of the essentials for the system. It didn’t have any obviously terrible sequels. And then, more recently, the PS3 introduced us to Uncharted. Each sequel in that series has either been on par or better than the one that came before it.
Of course, there was a smattering of games that nobody knows or cares about from before Bandicoot, but since the mid 1990s they’ve really been on a roll both with new franchises and with sequels.
The Last of Us was a fantastic game, and easily made my top 10 for the year it was released. It was clear that a lot of effort had gone into it, both in terms of gameplay and story, and the science behind the brand of zombies they created. That dedication showed through to make something memorable. The story that left off in a place that I believe is complete. Sure, it was an open ended deal with the two having no definite plan for the future, but that’s a good kind of ending; we don’t need to know every detail of their journey. They made it to their goal and the world is their oyster, as they say, so why focus on the small things. You risk over explaining things that way, and with the revelations that were already found in the game, it’s hard to think how they could top that.
That being said, obviously any sequels could still have great stories. But would it work as well as the first?
That depends. For the sequel of The Last of Us to really hold its own I don’t think it could follow Joel and Ellie. They could make an appearance, or even play a very small part in things, but it would have to focus on a new cast; Joel and Ellie had their time and their story came to its conclusion. It would be a waste of the world of clickers that they’ve built up if they didn’t expand it, and there’s only so much expansion you can do in a survival horror game that focuses on one or two people.
I think that’s the turning point here. A new IP would require building an entirely new world from the ground up, which takes both time and effort, whereas The Last of Us already has the majority of the groundwork for any sequels covered in that aspect. This is where I state that this article, probably more than most others, is all about opinion. So here’s mine.
I’d love a sequel if it was under those requirements I mentioned a bit ago. But what I want more than something awesome with requirements is something awesome with none. Naughty Dog has already created four amazing and memorable worlds for their games, but I’d like to see a fifth added to the bunch, even if it is the tougher option of the two. They have some seriously creative folks working at the development studio and I want to see what else they can come up with instead of focusing on already-established franchises.
The Last of Us 2 would be a welcome addition to my library, don’t get me wrong, but waiting until they’ve created something new to work on it would be the best option I feel. They’d get a break from their zombie world and we as gamers would be able to appreciate it more after playing something new as well. They don’t get tunnel vision while developing and we get something new which could very well spawn a beloved franchise of its own. I mean, if their track record holds, that’s likely going to be the case. And then we can debate about whether we want a sequel to that game or something new.
What would you like to see? A new IP or The Last Of Us 2? Let us know in the comments section below