During Grounded 2, The Last of Us Part 2‘s making-of documentary, actor Troy Baker defended the game’s handling of the beloved Joel character. Baker, who played The Last of Us Part 2‘s Joel, shared how he deals with fans who say the character’s storyshould have been written differently.
This article contains SPOILERS for The Last of Us 1 and 2
Joel’s conclusion in The Last of Us Part 2 involved a brutal death at the hands of Abby, the daughter of a doctor that Joel killed at the end of the first game. Fans who had grown attached to Joel during The Last of Us Part 1 were surprised to see the former main character killed off in the opening hours of the anticipated sequel. While his death served an important purpose in moving the story forward, some fans were disappointed that they wouldn’t get to play another Naughty Dog game centered around Joel and Ellie’s desperate adventures together. Recently, Baker decided to reiterate his opinion on the matter.
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Baker addressed fans’ reactions to his character’s death during Grounded 2 by saying, “There’s not a single aspect of the game, Part 2, that I would change. Any time someone comes up to me and says, ‘You know, I didn’t really like what they did to Joel,’ I was like ‘Great. Awesome. Tell me a better version of the story.’ And to this day they still can’t.” Baker made it clear that he supports The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann’s decision to kill off Joel. Although the death significantly changed the course of The Last of Us‘ storyline, it served as a catalyst for the rest of Ellie’s story and helped to tie the series’ themes together once The Last of Us Part 2 concluded. The character’s tragic ending also allowed for fan-favorite moments like The Last of Us Part 2‘s museum level, which saw Joel and Ellie reunited through a powerful flashback.
I was like ‘Great. Awesome. Tell me a better version of the story.’ And to this day they still can’t.”
Following the game’s release, Druckmann also defended The Last of Us Part 2‘s decision to kill Joel. Some fans claimed that Joel never would have fallen for the ambush that led to his demise, but Druckmann explained that the event made narrative sense due to Joel growing comfortable after living in the relative safety of Jackson, Wyoming for four years. Although Grounded 2 saw the resurfacing of older debates, it also saw the mention of some new and intriguing topics.
The Last of Us’ Troy Baker Defends Joel’s Death
- Says the second game’s story was the best possible option
- Has yet to hear an improved story from a fan who disagrees with Joel’s death
Druckmann teased his progress in developing The Last of Us Part 3‘s story by explaining that he finally created a concept that’s worthy of building the next game around. He apparently struggled for years to come up with an idea that could properly move the series forward after the critically acclaimed Last of Us Part 2, but Druckmann explained that his newest idea is just as exciting to him as the storylines for the first and second titles.
The Last of Us Part 2
The Last of Us Part II is the follow-up to the original game in the series. This time around, players control both Ellie and Abby. The game won many awards, including smashing the record for the most Game of the Year awards.