Naughty Dog’s Pax Prime panel ‘Pitching The Last of Us‘ showed off the game’s original pitch, scrapped alternate endings and more.
During the Pax Prime Panel, game director Bruce Straley and creative director Neil Druckmann discussed the original pitch of their post-apocalyptic survival action-adventure, The Last of Us – offered early look at the story.
“Naughty Dog showed off an unused enemy character designs that never made it into the final cut, the character is different from what you see in the game, the zombie-like character is bald, fanged beasts with stringy fungus growing off the back.
Another scrapped encounter shows Joel trying to get away from an infected elephant with tendrils of fungus grown out from its legs & mushrooms on its head.”
Among other unused and scrapped ideas: the game had a dog, ND showed a concept art with Ellie holding a pup in her arms, but no in-game footage was shown. “We wanted to make a Naughty Dog game with an actual dog,” Druckmann said.
The team explained the alternate storyline, “The gang is halted at a security checkpoint. Ellie is screened for infection and comes up positive, but the guards don’t care since her immunity could save the humanity.
Joel then seeing Ellie at gunpoint, it reminds him of his dead daughter, he goes furious kills the guards, escapes with Ellie, ends up betraying his partner Tess, who then embarks a cross-country pursuit of vengeance.”
Druckmann and Straley revealed more about the game’s ending that turns a playable scene into a cut scene. “Originally, Joel delivers Ellie to a medical facility where the doctors evaluate her immunity to the infection.
After finishing up his tests the Doc turns to Joel and says, ‘It’s complicated’ and Joel learns that the surgery performed on Ellie to find the cure would result in her death, he goes berserk and kills the entire staff in the lab and escapes with unconscious Ellie.”
They also touched on the game’s alternate ending, in which Tess plays the role of antagonist. “Originally, Tess’ brother teams up with Joel, Ellie and his sister Tess initially. Her brother dies soon during a fire fight with military Joel instigates, and then Tess blames Joel for his death.
Then Joel and Tess part their ways, She joins with the gang of survivors to hunt down Joel. In the end she catches up with Joel and Ellie, chases them into an old ranch house. Joel convinces Ellie to escape through a small vent shaft and steal Tess’ car to run away.
Tess captures Joel and tortures him to get the information about Ellie’s whereabouts to find her and kill her. She points the gun at his head, the camera pans away, then a gunshot is heard. It shows Ellie escaping in Tess’ car, but she decides to save him.
She reaches the ranch house only to see Tess torturing Joel, Ellie shoots Tess, this was the gunshot you would have heard before. In the end, it shows Joel and Ellie finding a civilization in San Francisco.”
The team also played a motion capture session video which showed off the extended operating room cutscense featuring Troy Baker (Joel) and Merle Dandridge (Marlene) armed with toy guns
“Druckmann tells Merle Dandridge (Marlene) to sing her lines like a Broadway show, even when she sang the lines “Raped and murdered”, Troy Baker (Joel) didn’t flinch, he starts to sing his version of the dialogue expertly turning the scene into a Broadway musical. This musical performance received an ovation from the PAX audience.”
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