Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us has been a beloved franchise since its debut a decade ago. The first game was an instant classic and pushed the boundaries of cinematic storytelling in the gaming medium to a new peak. While The Last of Us Part 2 was more controversial on release, it was still a critical darling, and is generally held in high regard. While many beloved franchises like this go on to enjoy lasting releases, Naughty Dog has shown in the past that it’s not afraid to pull the plug on its most beloved series, and, for better or worse, The Last of Us will likely be no different.
A quick glance at Naughty Dog’s catalog is enough to reveal this trend. The team made four Crash Bandicoot games and then moved on to the Jak franchise. Similarly, Jak also received three mainline titles and a racing spinoff before being abandoned to work on the Uncharted series. Uncharted was wildly successful for the studio, but now too, it appears to be finished. The fourth game in the series wrapped up Nathan Drake’s story neatly and reached a solid thematic resolution. While the game got a final hurrah in the form of a standalone DLC, it followed the fan favorite character Chloe and existed separate from the main narrative.
Naughty Dog Likes To End Its Stories
While the end of the Uncharted series might be a disappointment to some, it appears to be wrapping up a complete package. Nathan Drake’s story is a complete one, and the four games in the series got to explore the premise of the franchise thoroughly. Naughty Dog’s approach to its franchise is one that respects the art it made and the fans who love it. Rather than drag out the story with low quality games, Naughty Dog moves on. While saying farewell to a beloved franchise can be bittersweet, it is preferred to having one dragged down by superfluous entries.
The end of a series of games doesn’t have to be a bad thing for fans. While Uncharted hasn’t received a new game since The Lost Legacy in 2017, it hasn’t been neglected either. 2022 saw the release of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection which brought the fourth entry and its standalone DLC to the PS5. It also brought the series to the PC for the first time. This release accompanied an Uncharted film that, in spite of poor critical reception, was a hit at the box office and with fans. Uncharted might be finished, but it is far from ignored or forgotten.
The Last Of Us Could Share A Similar Fate
The Last of Us has received similar success to Uncharted, and it stands to reason that it’s future will likely be similar. The end of the game’s second installment heavily hints at a third, and The Last of Us multiplayer spin-off is in the works, but once the story of Ellie is wrapped up, it will likely mark the end of the franchise. This end could be a slow one, since the remaining games might take upwards of a decade to create, and there’s no guarantee that a third title would be the last. What seems to be clear is that Naughty Dog will likely end the series instead of finding ways to drag it out.
The Last of Us has luckily already received plenty of extra content as well, with the HBO show proving itself to be among the best video game TV adaptations out there. The promise of a multiplayer spinoff title also means that there is room for the developer to keep it alive through updates and new content, even if a third and final title to the mainline series was announced and launched soon after. Whatever the future hold for The Last of Us, it seems clear that Naughty Dog will tie up loose ends neatly, and likely end the series with a bang rather than prolong its life.
The Last of Us Part 1 is available now on PC and PS5.
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