The latest Last of Us Part III update arrived Tuesday, when game director Neil Druckmann told the Script Apart podcast that Naughty Dog already had a story outline for a third game in the series, though it may never see release.
"I don't know how much I want to reveal... [co-writer Halley Gross] and I did write an outline for a story, that we're not making — but I hope one day we can see the light of day — that explores a little bit what happens after [The Last of Us Part II]. We'll see," Druckmann said, according to IGN, which picked up the quotes.
As is likely obvious, Druckmann said Naughty Dog was actively discussing making a third game in the series. The financial incentives are certainly there — The Last of Us Part II was the best-selling PlayStation exclusive launch of all time with 2.8 million sales in its first month of release, and the sixth-best-selling game of the year in the U.S. But Druckmann and company are wary of the resource commitment required.
The Last of Us 3 Update: Naughty Dog Has Story Outline Written
"After we finish one of our big titles, we take a long time to explore different ideas, whether it's going to be Last of Us III, whether it's something new, whether there's some old franchise we want to go back to. I like to fully explore all of those, then look at, like, OK, we have all of these ideas in front of us. As a studio, what do we want to commit to? Because it's a huge commitment — monetary, time, passion, talent, so you think about all the opportunity costs that come with that."
Druckmann's also hesitant about the constraints that come with committing to a series for three games.
"With one game, there’s no pattern of what a franchise is. With two games, now there’s starting to be a pattern — now I feel like there are some structural and thematic themes you'd have to stick to if you're making a third game."
Naughty Dog is already working on a standalone Last of Us multiplayer game and, reportedly, a remake of the original The Last of Us for PlayStation 5. Druckmann, meanwhile, is working on HBO's TV adaptation of The Last of Us in addition to his work at Naughty Dog.