More details on The Last of Us' original ending
Naughty Dog has plans to fully open up about the original ending of The Last of Us during their PAX Prime panel later this month, but creative director Neil Druckmann has already begun divulge details. The latest issue of Game Informer features an in-depth interview with Druckmann in which he elaborates on the game's original ending, while addressing the character of Tess and her original role in the game.
"The original ending when we pitched the game was a much more hopeful ending, where Joel and Ellie make it to San Francisco and that is a town run by people who are trying to restore society," Druckmann revealed. "Joel has killed all these doctors and lied to Ellie, and Ellie just fully buys into the lie. So, you're left with the idea that they are going to live the rest of their lives in this town.
"The camera pulls back and maybe everything is going to be alright for these two. I was working on writing, and it didn't feel honest anymore," he added. "After everything they've done and everything they've been through, that was letting them off a little too easy - especially for Joel."
***Spoiler*** The original ending had Joel killing Marlene, the leader of the FireFlies who was willing to sacrifice Ellie in hopes of finding a cure. After the scene, Joel lies to Ellie about how the events unfolded and when asked if it's all true, he lies again and says, "Yes." She then replies, "Okay," and the game cuts to black. It's an ending open to interpretation which Druckmann believes is "the best part."
As for the artwork teased earlier this week, which showed Tess holding a knife to the throat of a tied up Joel, Druckmann revealed that Tess took more of a "villain role" in the original story.
"Tess was betrayed by Joel and took on a mission to pursue him across the country. That storyline never worked out. The storyline shifted and Tess took on this role where she became more of a believer and she helped motivate Joel," he explained. Originally, the scene depicted in the concept art was to be the first time Ellie killed a non-infected person.
"Ellie's arc originally was that she didn't kill any non-infected people until the end, when she was going to kill Tess when Tess was torturing Joel," he went on to say. "What we realized is that we had to get Ellie engaged more in the combat because when she was disengaged from the action for that long you didn't care so much.
"So that changed pretty early on. We decided it wasn't going to be about the first time she killed someone, it was more about this coming of age story of the impact that the horrors of violence has on her over the course of the game," Druckmann concluded.
Wow. For anyone who has played the game, you know how different it all played out than this, which is truly the fascinating part. It's amazing how much a game can change over the course of development, from early concept to the final stages of release. Druckmann and a few other Naughty Dog developers will be holding a panel at PAX where they will "show you their original pitch for The Last of Us" and take a look at "how close or far the final game ended up from the original pitch."
Judging by this interview, it ended quite far. The Last of Us panel will take place from 2:00-3:00 pm Pacific on Friday, August 30. Knowing what you know now, do you prefer the original concept or the final ending?