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Is this how The Last of Us could've ended?

The Last of Us Screenshot - The Last of Us joel and ellie

The Last of Us' creative director Neil Druckmann has released concept art for what may have been the original ending of the game. And it's quite different than how the final version of the game ended.

***Spoilers Below***

The image appears to show Tess holding a knife to Joel's neck while he is tied to a chair. The image is also dated 2010, suggesting it was one of the game's earlier pieces of concept art, and possibly how Naughty Dog originally envisioned the game ending. How do I know this?

Tess holding a knife up to Joel's throat - TLoU ending concept art

Because Druckmann, who tweeted the image to promote Naughty Dog's upcoming talk at PAX Prime, teased: "See how it originally ended as @bruce_straley and I re-pitch The Last of Us for you." During the panel, Druckmann and game director Bruce Straley will discuss how they pitched the concept for The Last of Us to Sony and how the game has changed since their original vision.

As for the image, I do have a theory that could explain what's happening. Perhaps early in development Naughty Dog had never imagined Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies who attempts to sacrifice Ellie for scientific research (and serves as the final antagonist in the game). Maybe Naughty Dog had originally envisioned Tess as this antagonist, willing to do anything to save mankind -- even kill Joel who I imagine, again, didn't want to kill Ellie.Don't kill Ellie? Tess kills you.

Just an idea... let me know your theories as to how you think The Last of Us originally ended at @Matt_GZ on Twitter or in the comments below.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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