There's been a lot of speculation and leaks and controversy about this game. I've stayed away from the leaks because I want to enjoy this game when it finally comes out but there are some signs and I did watch a bunch of youtube videos about this game. If you want to go in completely blind then you shouldn't read this but what I'm gonna write to me won't ruin the game it's more of a general theme and Naughty Dog tells stories so well and with so many small moments that I'm not worried about knowing the general direction they're going in, it actually makes me more excited for the game. And this isn't confirmed it's just a theory.
How the first game ended
Joel and Ellie were forced together by unfortunate events and spent the whole first game trying to find the fireflies. After finally finding them Joel find out they want to kill her to try and make a cure for the infection that has put the world in this renaturated state. The ending of the first game that was controversial but genius saw Joel kill quite a few people to save the girl that he had come to love like his own daughter. He didn't want to let anyone in anymore after the death of his real daughter but during this journey he did.
He basically condemned humanity to keep living in this post apocalyptic world and it has only gotten worse since then. But it wasn't this black and white because the cure wasn't a certainty and they had actually tried before and not succeeded, not everything he told her was a lie. This was what made the moment so memorable that it wasn't clear what the right decision was and the game was so well made that the player was very invested in these characters which of course made him also biased and not a impartial judge. Personally I was totally on Joels side I was like fuck humanity and the fireflies save her and gtfo.
How could it continue?
But now the second game might make this decision even more of a turning point.The best theory I've heard about the second game is that word gets out that Ellie is immune and that a cure could be made from her. The Fireflies from the first game don't seem to exist anymore but there were survivors for sure and maybe some of them told some people. The new factions in power hear about this and want to get their hands on her to make a cure but they don't have a picture just a general description. So they start looking for girls in their twenties with brown hair etc. And they find Ellies girlfriend somewhere who looks similar to her. They bring the girls back to their camp and find out if they're immune or not by infecting them...
Ellie finds her girlfriend after this treatment... You can see in the commercial she has her bracelet on when she's out to get her revenge. Her girlfriend is not the only one they're taking so the only way she can stop it is either turn herself in or kill them all. And you can see what option she chooses. But it also makes Joel partially responsible for all this because he saved her and lied to her now her girlfriend died. Of course if he didn't Ellie wouldn't even be around but still because of his love for her he brought her even more pain and suffering in a way. This explains why she was quite cold towards him in one of the trailers where they meet.
I have no idea where the story goes from there but I think it's pretty likely that this is the setup and honestly I think it's genius. It has so much potential for a good story that lives up to the one in the first game. When I heard about this it instantly made sense to me and it totally fits the world of this game and the type of story telling they do.
What makes these games special?
Naughty Dog creates such painful violent and hopeless scenarios but it never seems cheap or meaningless on the contrary they manage to make the beauty of human connection stand out and shine so brightly in front of this backdrop of chaos and primitive behaviour. Even though the game is about the infected most of the enemies you face are humans who live in this world because it's not about fighting faceless monsters it's about people. They gave every NPC even the dogs names so you don't feel like you're just killing pixels. They make us feel the weight of these terrible situations the characters are in at our very core.
Being protective of someone, having to trust someone with your life while maybe also having a unresolved conflict with them at the same time, being scared of opening up finally doing it and then having to face losing everything again. These games are not about the violence, they're not flashy with special effects*. These games are about who we are inside and what we would do, how would you act in this world? They tap in to our primal instincts that we don't even need most of the time anymore because everything's too comfortable. I think deep down we all miss the times where we had to fight for our survival and couldn't just go to the store to get food. And these games are the best substitute I've ever seen for what it would be like after the apocalypse just without all the actual discomfort and body count, or only emotional discomfort :D.
These two weeks are gonna feel so long...