Fans are still playing through, geeking out, and arguing over Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part III — but series architect Neil Druckmann is already waxing creative about what could come next. So does that mean we’ll see a Part III?
In an interview with GQ, Druckmann teased that once he started wrapping up work on Part II, his mind starting to drift to the “next thing.” After thinking for a bit, he admitted that next thing “could be a Part III,” or the “next thing could be some new IP.” So yeah, he is thinking about how they might could continue this story with another game. It’s just not really far along in the process, and of course, could also develop into something different entirely.
Druckmann said a bit more to Indiewire about the odds of a potential Part III to return to everyone’s favorite post-apocalypse, but opened up about how the law of diminishing returns makes any potential reunion that much harder to pull off. Basically, it took years to figure out a story worth telling in Part II — so he’s not extremely confident they’ll find it for Part III anytime soon, though it could happen.
“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. 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,” he explained. “And without that, there’d be no reason to do a Part III. Finding it with the sequel was much harder than it was with the first game, and going forward it would be exponentially harder to justify going back to that world and finding a way to vary things up. There’s already so many things you’ve seen about the backstory, about how the outbreak happens, so we’d really have to figure out how to create a new experience that matches the emotional impact of these stories and I don’t know what that is. Currently.”
It makes sense, especially considering how Part II played out. Not to get into spoilers, but the game made some major shake-ups to fans expectations, with surprise deaths and perspective changes that brought a whole new set of questions and ambitious to the world. That was hard enough to pull off. Finding a way to even further subvert expectations and surprise fans would obviously be even harder.
In the meantime, The Last of Us Part II is out now on PS4. The original Last of Us is also available on PS4 in remastered form, or in its OG release if you’re still keeping a PS3 around.