At long last, players have been graced with an official release date for the upcoming sequel to Naughty Dog's PlayStation 4 classic, The Last of Us. The Last of Us Part 2 is now set for release on Feb. 21, 2020, and it's looking like one wild ride.
This time around, protagonist Ellie is older (the game takes place five years after the original) and she's facing off against a terrifying cult on her own. But what happened to her companion Joel, who players controlled in the last game?
What happened in The Last of Us?
The Last of Us was a third-person action title that starred Joel and Ellie as they fought their way through a post-apocalyptic vision of the United States.
After humanity had all but fallen to a mutated version of the bizarre Cordyceps fungus, the government has enacted quarantine zones in an effort to keep some sort of peace between survivors. But Ellie is immune to the fungus, and as such she travels with Joel across the country in the hopes of eventually producing a vaccine.
At the end of the original game, Joel and Ellie were seen together following a moral dilemma that Joel had to face. Ellie had been unconscious following an incident in which she had nearly drowned. She and her companion Joel are captured by members of the "Fireflies," or rebel militia members who oppose quarantine zone authorities,
So, is Joel alive in The Last of Us Part 2?
Yes, from what we've seen in the latest trailer for the game, which Sony debuted during its latest State of Play presentation. He appears behind Ellie in the trailer, puts his hand over her mouth, and the two have a long moment of silence together.
It's obvious there's lots of tension – and it's probably due to the fact that Joel wasn't entirely truthful with Ellie at the end of the last game.
But Ellie happens to have part of her brain that has become infected, despite her immunity. It must be removed, but it will kill Ellie. Joel refuses to let Ellie die, and as such fights off anyone he has to take her to safety. He ends up leaving the city and fleeing with Ellie, telling her instead that no one was able to produce a cure, and as such the Fireflies had stopped trying.
When the first footage of The Last of Us Part 2 had been shown to eager gamers across the globe, players immediately noticed a distinct lack of Joel, so it was assumed he may have been dead.
However, no official comment had been provided on the matter, and fans were just left to come up with their own theories on the matter until now.
It looks like he's either alive or showing up to Ellie as an apparition. We'll have to wait and see what really happens when the game debuts.