The game’s Creative Director explained that they will aim to make the companion character better than Atreus in the spirit of friendly competition.
One of the great things about The Last of Us was seeing the interactions between the protagonist Joel and his companion, Ellie. A similar kind of relationship could also be seen in this year’s God of War with Kratos and his son Atreus, and it looks like The Last of Us- Part II will feature a companion character to give Atreus some competition.
In the demo we had seen at E3, Ellie was on her own as she went up against lots of enemies. However, in a recent interview with Buzzfeed, the game’s Creative Director Neil Druckmann confirmed that Ellie will have an NPC companion in the game. He stated, “Ellie used to be an NPC, but she’s the protagonist in [The Last of Us Part II], so the player is controlling Ellie. Umm, it’s safe to say with the game that we made in the past that there will be some NPC with you in this story, even though we’re not showing [the NPC] in this demo. Our general approach is to say, again, ‘How do we treat them like people? How do we get them to behave honestly as those people? How do we give them interesting characteristics so that they can navigate the world, make meaningful actions, and surprise you in the way people do?”
The interviewer also went on to point out the parallels with God of War and its companion character Atreus. It looks like Naughty Dog will be trying to make their own companion character even better than Atreus in the spirit of friendly competition. Druckmann stated, “We’re friends with those guys [at SIE Santa Monica]. We’re neighbors. I guess they’re not in Santa Monica technically anymore, but, yeah, we share tech and creative processes. And we welcome the friendly competition to one-up them in every regard. And you can tell [God of War director Cory Barlog] that.”
We will just have to wait and see who turns out to be Ellie’s companion throughout the game. The Last of Us- Part II is set to release exclusively for the PS4.