Naughty Dog can’t capitulate to pressure from fans if it wants to make The Last of Us Part 3 as good as its predecessors.
Ever since HBO’s The Last of Us started airing earlier this year, fans of the games have been asking about The Last of Us Part 3. Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog, said that work on their next big title has already started – but it might not be what fans are currently rabid for. He didn’t deny that it was the newest addition to The Last Of Us series, but most people agree that it won’t be.
This is a good thing. We already have the multiplayer Factions spin-off coming soon, which will be a big, standalone title with a whole new cast of characters for us to meet. We don’t know much more than this about it, though Druckmann has promised more details are coming later this year.
As much as I’d love to see the world of The Last of Us keep developing, Naughty Dog has been working on it almost constantly since 2017 and it’s still developing Factions. It serves nobody for them to be making a game they’re not excited about just to please fans, as much as that game is wanted right now.
I’m not at all against the creation of The Last of Us Part 3 – people were against The Last of Us Part 2, and that turned out to be a narrative masterpiece that surpassed the first game. I think another sequel could tell as good a story as the first two games did. Druckmann has said, “If we can come up with a compelling story that has this universal message and statement about love — just like the first and second game did — then we will tell that story.”
If not, the second game had a strong ending and put its message across, and that’s enough for me. I do have concerns about how the HBO adaptation will deal with not having a third game to adapt from, because we all saw what happened when Game of Thrones ran out of material, but there are still two seasons to be made from Part 2. We still have time.
Even if Part 3 isn’t done by the time the HBO series is concluded, there’s no guarantee it would even be about the same characters – I’d love to see Ellie forge her way towards forgiveness after an entire game about hatred, but we’ve already seen the potential for the exploration of other characters in the show, and Factions will be about new characters. There are so many ways a sequel could go, and the adaptation shouldn’t affect that.
But now isn’t the right time. Hype is too high, and pressure could stop Naughty Dog from telling a story that needs to be told, and instead making what fans want to see. We don’t need another studio to churn out sequel after sequel to keep making money, and thankfully, PlayStation doesn’t seem to be putting pressure on it to do so. Let Naughty Dog get there at its own pace – when it feels The Last of Us Part 3 is worth making, it’ll be made.