Trailer Watch – The Last of Us Part II

Over four years since The Last of Us was released by Naughty Dog, and ten months since the it was first announced, a full trailer for The Last of Us Part II has finally been unveiled to the public.

The first look at the game, which was previewed at the PlayStation Experience event in December, saw the return of the first game’s main characters, Ellie and Joel, much to the delight of fans. However, the newest trailer, released as part of Paris Games Week, featured four new characters, with Ellie and Joel nowhere to be seen.

The new trailer centres around a single unnamed character (voiced by Laura Bailey, and affectionately named Muscle-Mum by my housemate and I for reasons that will be explained), who we find being dragged through the woods by two hooded figures, before being hung up (literally) alongside some poor unfortunates that she seems to recognise.

Enter Emily (voiced by Emily Swallow), the apparent boss, who presses a knife to Muscle-Mum’s stomach while saying the words: “they are nested with sin.” Cue Yara (voiced by Victoria Grace), being dragged in by more lackeys; Emily asks her where “the other apostate” is, though Yara is… reluctant to comply. This is followed by some pretty grim clipping-of-wings, before Lev (voiced by Ian Alexander) jumps in to save the day with some handy-dandy arrow-work. Together the two of them and Muscle-Mum kill Emily and her grunts, before turning to face the new threat: clickers.

“This ‘sect’ is perhaps one of the most interesting elements of the trailer. Every single character except Muscle-Mum appears to have a Glasgow smile…”

Obviously, within moments of it being uploaded, the fan-theories and speculations began to emerge. While The Last of Us Part II is already an enigma, with the two trailers not seeming to relate at all, there is one theory in particular that I think bears weight, and I’ll try to explain it here.

While Naughty Dog has already suggested that the next game takes place five years after the first, I think that this is instead a prequel. I reckon that Muscle-Mum is Ellie’s mum, and that something happened to her – perhaps a ditch attempt to cure the cordyceps virus – that led to Emily considering them (ie. her and her baby) being “nested with sin”.

Now, Emily calls Yara and Lev the “apostates”. ‘Apostate’ normally refers to someone who was once part of a religion or sect, but has since renounced their beliefs; Emily is assumedly a leader or higher-up in said sect, which Yara and Lev have abandoned. I wouldn’t be surprised if Muscle-Mum was also affiliated with the same sect once upon a time, but has fled for one reason or another (presumably to save her unborn child).

This ‘sect’ is perhaps one of the most interesting elements of the trailer. Every single character except Muscle-Mum appears to have a Glasgow smile – a large scar running from the corner of the mouth up to the ear. The smile originated in Glasgow in the 20s and 30s and became popular with English street gangs, especially the Chelsea Headhunters, though it is now a rarity. So why is it being shown in The Last of Us Part II, which is set across the pond in 21st century America? The short answer? We’ll have to wait to find out.

Of course, this could all just be me desperately looking for any hint of the game’s plot, and spouting complete rubbish in the process. Director Neil Druckmann has said only that these new characters “are integral to [Ellie and Joel’s] next journey”. This could either mean that Ellie (and Joel, if he’s still actually alive, but that’s another story) teams up with Muscle-Mum, Yara and Lev, or that they’re integral in the sense that they kept Muscle-Mum alive long enough for her to carry Ellie to term, or something else entirely. Yet again: we’ll have to wait to find out.

The Last of Us was (is) an amazing game, and I honestly haven’t been this excited for a new game since Horizon Zero Dawn last year. Naughty Dog has produced some sensational titles over the past few years, and I have no doubt that The Last of Us Part II will continue that trend. No doubt it will be a good while before we can play it ourselves, but until that time I’m happy to re-play the first game and theorise some more.

Ellen Smithies

Featured image courtesy of Naughty Dog via PlayStation on YouTube.

Article gifs via giphy.com.

Image use licence here.

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