So unless you don't care about PSX because, like me, you saw last year's PSX and how much it sucked so you skipped this year's; you wouldn't have seen the trailer for The Last of US Part 2 until you found out about it via organic internet searching. This blog is going to analyze that trailer and discuss why a certain theory floating around the internet is at best poorly structured and at worst absolutely wrong.
Here is a link to the trailer.
So the trailer starts off showing a setpiece, a forest. Of note is 0:22 where we can see a tree with many slash marks. This can either be an indication of conflict, or someone marking a path taken for another to follow, or maybe animals marking territory. Personally speaking, I'm going with the second option based on future events in the trailer.
0:35 - We discover that the setpiece appears to actually be a Fireflies base of some sort. A kind of town with a few homes and the stop sign with the Fireflies symbol indicating that it is their territory.
0:50 - An as of yet unknown individual with a tattooed right forearm is shown with a bloodied, bruised, and cut up right hand that is shaking. Why is it shaking? Is it possibly repetitive stress? Is it psychological?
1:04 - The playing of the guitar begins with testing out the sound. This is someone who has been taught to play.
1:20 - The song proper begins and from the voice we come to know that it is in fact Ellie playing the guitar and singing (V.O. is a great singer too)
.1:48 - This setpiece is very interesting. If you look at the window on the left, it is the window that appears at the menu screen for the start of the first game. It is a room we never visit in the first game at all. Perhaps the first game foreshadowed this? Or perhaps it's just a convenience?
1:56 - Appears that Ellie was bitten on the neck, a clear indication that the infected are still present and that she is still immune.
2:06 - The first sign of death in the trailer showing a foream and hand lifeless and bloody, a silhouetted character starts walking up to the door. Is this an enemy? Or is this a friend? Ellie's song continues. Does she not notice someone coming, or does she not care?
2:14 - Notice the grass being displaced, the sound it makes when that happens.
2:17 - Notice the mud being kicked up by the shoes, hear the sound of feet walking over and around the puddle. Remember that the unknown person did not walk into the water except right at the start where mud was kicked up.
2:23 - Individual is holding a gun. Still yet unknown if they be enemy or friend. Ellie just keeps on playing and singing.
2:29 - Individual stops to see someone dead, possibly shot in the head, then keeps moving.
2:38 - 2:40 - Individual walks towards the sound of the playing, trying to listen and confirm where the sound is coming from. His profile looks identical to Joel from the first game.
2:44 - Joel leans against the frame of the door, just listening to Ellie play and sing.
2:59 - Joel questions Ellie and asks her if she's sure of what she wants to do.
3:18 - Without bothering to look up Ellie begins answering Joel's question and doesn't look up to him until 3:27. Anger in her face, she talks about finding and killing someone, some group of people.
3:45 - The full name of the game is revealed and thus ends the most pertinent parts of the trailer.
Ok, so there is a theory floating about the internet that Joel is dead in this game and that Ellie is looking at and talking to a ghost. There is little to nothing backing this theory and enough to refute it. But before I get to that there is something else I want to touch upon.
Many of us, including myself, had the initial impression that Ellie is talking about killing the Fireflies. This theory is substantiated somewhat by the events of the previous game, the reputation the Fireflies have in general, and the setpiece of the trailer. However, we must consider the possibility that Ellie and Joel happened upon the Fireflies base and found them all dead, possibly killed by the real people Ellie wants to kill herself, but I digress.
So Joel is dead? Why? What is the indication, beyond not actually showing his face, that he is dead? We have been told by Neil Druckmann, Naughty Dogs' head, that The Last of Us Part II is Ellie's story, she will be the focus. Now some use that as a reinforcement of the "Joel is dead" theory, but it's much more likely that this is why the trailer is focused on Ellie more than anything else.
Beyond that, pay attention to the physical clues. Joel walks in and parts the grass, we can hear his feet making sounds as he walks through the grass and on the floor, he leans against the door frame. He is holding a gun. Would a dead person be capable of these physical cues? Would a dead person need a gun?
"Why would he come in so much later?" I've seen this used too.
Could be any number of reasons. Maybe he was looking for Ellie and just found her after following the trail of death. Maybe he went to scout out and see if they were alone and safe and the trailer is showing him coming back. We don't know. But to add this to a theory of Joel's death is the absolute pinnacle of circumstantial "proof" there could ever be.
The point is is that I've already seen posts like "irrefutable proof that Joel is dead" posts on the internet. This theory is ballooning and there is no real substance behind it, while I have attempted to show that there is in fact refutation of it in this trailer.
But... opinions in the end. Would appreciate hearing yours on my analysis and refutation. Thanks for reading.