“The Last of Us Part 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, but I’m so tired of seeing bleakness in the world. I’ve written a lot about The Last of Us, both in its original video game form as well as the HBO television adaptation.
The Last of Us Part 2 was especially formative for my understanding of video games, and in some ways it changed the way I view the world and my own relationships. The series is undeniably bleak, peppered with horror and tragedy.
Though there are light moments of beauty, each game explores dark themes that often veer into nihilism and pessimism. The upcoming The Last of Us Part 3 will likely be as dark and pessimistic as its predecessors, set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with dangerous monsters and people.
The games explore flawed protagonists who do terrible things, turning them into the villains in other people’s stories. They are not happy, light-hearted games, which is increasingly difficult for me to handle given the state of the world today.
The ending of The Last of Us Part 2 asks you to feel it rather than understand it, which is hard to do when everything seems to be spiraling out of control. Climate change, rising living costs, income stagnation, layoffs, and the overall feeling of hopelessness in the world are overwhelming.
I’ve found solace in more optimistic media, like Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth, which inspires kindness and optimism despite natural inclinations toward nihilism. If we don’t keep moving forward, how will the world ever get better?
The Last of Us is not an optimistic series, but it delves deep into heavy themes. However, as things around me get worse, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to engage with its potential third game.
Director Neil Druckmann’s statements and the political criticism of the game further complicate my feelings about a potential sequel. While I don’t doubt Naughty Dog’s ability to deliver a moving and thought-provoking game, I question how much more bleakness my spirit can handle.
It will be a long time before we see The Last of Us Part 3, and a lot could change in that time. Things could be better, or they could be worse.
But if things stay as they are, it’s going to be really hard for me to face whatever the game has to tell me.”