It’s been nearly four years since The Last of Us Part II was released and now, riding high on the success of the hit HBO adaptation of the video games, it appears that a third installment may be in the works. But not so fast! At best, this appears to be in the very early stages but Naughty Dog president Neil Druckmann recently teased that he has a concept in mind for The Last of Us Part 3. Whether or not it actually gets made is another question entirely.
Naughty Dog, the developer behind the beloved games, recently released Grounded II: Making The Last of Us Part II on YouTube. At the tail end of the video, Druckmann revealed that he has a "concept" for a third game and that there’s "probably one more chapter to this story." Elaborating further, he explained that they, as a company, seem happy to leave it alone as the second game did provide a good enough conclusion to the story.
"The first game had such a clean concept of like, the unconditional love a parent feels for their child. The second one, once we landed on this idea of the pursuit of justice at any cost, justice for the ones you love, we felt like, 'there's a clean concept here and there's a throughline from the first game, about love.' If we never get to do it again, this is a fine ending point. Last bite of the apple, the story's done."
Given that these are some of the most beloved games of the modern era (if not ever), it’s understandable that Naughty Dog might want to leave well enough alone. That may be, but Druckmann recently happened upon a concept for a third game that excites him, and that might be enough to get the ball rolling.
"The great thing about working at Naughty Dog is that we don't have to. It's always like, 'we would love another Last of Us, but if you guys feel you're passionate about something else, we'll support this other thing.' Very privileged position to be in, I never take that for granted. I've been just thinking about it, 'is there a concept there?' And for now years, I haven't been able to find that concept. But recently, that's changed, and I don't have a story, but I do have that concept that to me is as exciting as 1, as exciting as 2, is its own thing, and yet has this throughline for all three. So it does feel like there's probably one more chapter to this story."
Commercially speaking, all involved would certainly have the motivation to make another game. The previous two games have sold more than 37 million copies combined to go along with all of the accolades. As mentioned, HBO also scored a huge hit with The Last of Us TV show (with a second season currently in the works), which has opened up the characters to an even wider audience. That could make The Last of Us Part 3 a home run from a pure sales standpoint.
At this stage, it’s far from a sure thing and even if Druckmann decided to pull the trigger, it would take several years for the game to come to fruition, as these things take a long time. The first game was initially released in 2013 and it took seven years to make a sequel. In short, don’t hold your breath but some cautious optimism may be warranted.