One of the things that came to define our memories of the first The Last of Us was the amount of time spent with Ellie, the surrogate daughter of protagonist Joel. As an AI-controlled companion, Ellie would help spot danger, distract enemies and even take out a few minor foes.
Up until recently, the only gameplay we’ve seen of The Last of Us Part 2 depicts Ellie, now acting as the sequel’s protagonist, fighting solo against murderous survivors. But apparently, that’s not representative of the whole game. Naughty Dog’s Vice President Neil Druckmann, who also serves as writer and co-director on The Last of Us Part 2, confirmed that Ellie will be accompanied by an NPC.
Druckmann broke the detail during an interview with Buzzfeed. He didn’t confirm who the NPC would be, saying, "Well, so, Ellie used to be an NPC, but she's the protagonist in this story, so the player is controlling Ellie. 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."
Fans are already speculating that this companion could be Dina, the woman she kissed in the E3 2018 trailer. Others suggest Jesse, Dina’s ex, who speaks with Ellie at the beginning of the same trailer. An unlikely proposition would be Joel, as anything’s possible, really, including a character we haven’t encountered yet throughout the past year or so of marketing and promotions.
In any case, we’ll find out when The Last of Us Part 2 releases. With no date given for the PlayStation exclusive, that means just about any time between now and whenever.