“The Last of Us: Left Behind” is coming out soon, with a February 14 release date.
In the DLC, new light is shed on Ellie’s relationship with Riley, her best friend from the military boarding school they both grew up in.
“After inexplicably disappearing for weeks, Riley reemerges in Ellie’s life with a surprising revelation,” according to the description. “The two sneak out of their school for the last time, leading to a series of events that will forever change both of their lives.”
It’s basically a prequel, notes Euro Gamer. It takes about two hours from beginning to end, and “is an expansion as brave and thoughtful as the original, retaining the quality of Joel and Ellie’s story and enhancing it in subtle, moving ways.”
Neil Druckmann, writer and creative director on The Last of Us and its Left Behind DLC, said that the team decided to skip Ish because it felt like they’d take something away by specifying what he looks like, how old he is, etc.
“We had a quick brainstorm of ideas, and pretty quickly none of them lasted more than a sentence or two,” he said about Ellie and Riley. “We’d keep coming back to this story. It felt like a story that could stand on its own and had its own arc, that fit with the themes of The Last of Us but more importantly, it gave new light on the main story. It fits all those criteria on what would make a story worth telling.”
The focus ends up being more playful than the original game, including a trip inside an abandoned shopping mall.
“It was such a sweet idea,” said Druckmann. “This is what teenagers do. They skip school and go to the mall, they goof around and have fun. What’s the post-apocalyptic version of that? Because they live these harsh lives, it’s really interesting to us to say what if we play with that, and with two teenagers goofing around and having fun, but then you still see the reality of that world. Where we can afterwards go home – maybe you’d get grounded if you skip school – for this there are much greater consequences if you screw up.”
Meanwhile, Naughty Dog recently confirmed plans for “The Last of US 2.”