Following months of speculation over its existence, Naughty Dog finally gave fans what they wanted by unveiling The Last of Us: Part 2 at the end of its PlayStation Experience 2016 panel. Despite rumors going around months ago that The Last of Us sequel could potentially focus on new characters, the reveal trailer showed that Naughty Dog aren’t quite finished with Joel and Ellie’s story just yet. However, while the upcoming post-apocalyptic title will see the return of Joel and Ellie, it appears that a key behind-the-scenes figure from the first The Last of Us will not be involved this time around.
According to a new report from Kotaku, a number of sources claim that The Last of Us and Uncharted 4 co-director Bruce Straley will not be involved with The Last of Us: Part 2 and that his longtime creative partner Neil Druckmann will be the sole director of the game. The official word from Naughty Dog, according to the sources, is that Straley will be taking a year-long sabbatical following the successful launch of Uncharted 4 earlier this year.
At the time of writing, Sony and Naughty Dog have yet to comment on Straley’s involvement on The Last of Us: Part 2.
Straley and Druckmann have been creative partners for a number of years at Naughty Dog having worked on a number of critically-acclaimed titles, including this year’s Uncharted 4 when the pair took over from former director Amy Hennig, and the absence of Straley for the upcoming The Last of Us: Part 2 could potentially result in a game that’s tonally different from the first The Last of Us.
Beyond not having Straley’s creative input this time around, there’s also a worry that the The Last of Us sequel would not be able to live up to its predecessor, which has been claimed as one of the best games of last generation. Druckmann is, understandably, aware of all these concerns and has stated that the studio aims to do right by the fans by bringing a compelling and complementary continuation to the story of Joel and Ellie, though no mention about Straley’s sabbatical has come up yet.
It remains to be seen how Straley’s absence will affect the direction of The Last of Us: Part 2, but based on the new reveal trailer, fans should not need to worry as it appears that Druckmann won’t have any problem delivering some more “emotionally engaging” third-person action that fans of the first The Last of Us know and love.
What do you think about Bruce Straley not being involved with The Last of Us: Part 2? Will his absence affect the quality of the final game? Let us know in the comments below.