Early Drafts Of The Last Of Us Part 2 Had A Very Different Role For Joel

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One great thing that I love about The Last of Us Part II Remastered’s bonus content is that it unearths fascinating tidbits about the creative process, even going so far as to shed light on alternate directions the game was expected to go at one point or another. 

Caution: The remainder of the article will include story spoilers for The Last of Us Part II, do not read on if you’re yet to play the game.

During the commentary that’s present during the infamous, staggeringly missable, record shop scene where Ellie sings a mournful, acoustic rendition of a-ha’s “Take on Me” to Dina, it’s been revealed, through the team discussing how they wanted to remind the player of Joel throughout, that one of the early ideas kicked around for The Last of Us Part II had Joel appearing throughout the game as a ghostly apparition. 

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“There were versions where we talked about having ghost-Joel talk to Ellie, but it felt a little too campy for this story” explained the game’s creative director Neil Druckmann. 

Though it’s likely a coincidence, this makes some amount of sense when one considers the game’s original reveal, which itself spawned countless theories that Joel was already dead. 

Although it wasn’t to be, Joel appearing to Ellie as a literal representation of the survivor’s guilt she carries with her would have been an interesting angle, for sure. Of course, the pursuit to craft a more grounded world led to the team taking the route they did. 

See our full review, more guides and other content for The Last of Us Part II Remastered right here.