There's Hope Yet for a 'Last of Us 3,' According to Neil Druckmann

Sara Belcher - Author

Feb. 1 2023, Updated 1:55 p.m. ET

Ellie and Joel from 'The Last of Us'
Source: Naughty Dog

Ever since Naughty Dog's long-anticipated (and somehow controversial) sequel The Last of Us Part II, fans of the franchise have been awaiting any whiff of news about a follow-up to the heartbreaking tale.

While the first game, which hit PlayStation 3 consoles in 2013, followed rough-and-tough Joel as he tried to bring 14-year-old Ellie across the country to the Fireflies, the second installment let Ellie and her direct foe, Abby, take the protagonist roles.

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The Last of Us Part II was met with mixed reviews following some of the plot's biggest spoilers getting leaked, but once the controversy died down, many found they enjoyed the gameplay and story told. Naughty Dog is known for creating games with intense storylines, and its other leading franchise, the Uncharted series, currently has four titles.

But will there ever be The Last of Us 3? Here's what we know about the potential video game.

tlou  release date
Source: Naughty Dog
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'The Last of Us 3' release date

The Last of Us Part II hit shelves in June 2020, seven years after the first title came out. At this time, there isn't a confirmed third game coming our way any time soon — though if we were to see the title, we wouldn't expect it to hit shelves for a few years at least.

That being said, there's a possibility that there will be a third game. Following the second game's release, Naughty Dog director Neil Druckmann told IndieWire that the opportunity for a third game would have to present itself.

"I think the test for whether or not to make a 'Part III' would have to be a similar test to what we did with 'Part II,'" he said. "With the first game there were no expectations and it was like we could do anything. But now that we’ve established certain characters and themes and processes, it felt like to justify making a 'Part II' we had to do something not that fans would just be comfortable with, but do something that would match the emotional core we found in the first game. And without that, there’d be no reason to do a 'Part III.'"

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Later, he doubled down on his sentiment with a follow-up in a 2023 interview with Buzzfeed. Following the success of the live-action adaptation of the game, Neil once again addressed revisiting the process that spawned the second game.

"It's up to us whether we want to continue it or not," he told Buzzfeed. "Our process is the same thing we did when we did Part II, which is if we can come up with a compelling story that has this universal message and statement about love... then we will tell that story."

Naughty Dog is also concentrating on a multiplayer spinoff at this time.

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What will 'The Last of Us 3' be about?

Since there's no confirmed third game, we have no idea what another installment would look like — but that hasn't stopped fans from speculating.

Many players on Reddit threads have expressed a better redemption arc for Ellie, since The Last of Us Part II painted her as a character with less-than-noble morals, while others have asked for more of a flashback installment, playing through the early days of the outbreak as a survivor.

Neil has already hinted that the studio likely wouldn't do a flashback installment, as much of the backstory of the main characters has already been alluded to in the first two games.

Others suggest that the Seraphite escapees, Lev and Yara, could have a storyline as impactful as the first two games', as their story focuses on love. That being said, given the negative (and often prejudiced and homophobic) feedback on The Last of Us Part II, it is yet to be determined if the pair will return.

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