The Last of Us 2 continues the story of Ellie and Joel from the first game, but another name is thrown into the mix of this complex narrative. Abby is a new character on the scene, but her integration into this intricate story has been weaved in long before the start of this sequel. Her role in this game ties into a huge theme that Naughty Dog brought to this plot in a unique way: the aspect of empathy. The Last of Us 2 MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.
The first game left off with Joel making a choice — he could leave Ellie in the hands of the Fireflies to find a potential cure for humanity that could save the world while killing her, or he could save Ellie's life and abandon any chance of finding a cure. He chose the later, and in order to get out, he needed to kill all the Fireflies in the hospital. Players were surprised at this outcome, but they understood where Joel was coming from with this. Its ramifications come to life in The Last of Us 2.
TLOU's Joel wasn't just sacrificing one life to possibly save the world. This was someone he'd come to see as an adopted daughter. She meant something to him, and those nameless Fireflies didn't.
Players could accept this. In a game that makes the player take out enemy after enemy, they can become desensitized to the lives they are ending in order to survive. In most games, players are the protagonists, their actions are justified, and they don't have to worry about consequences. Enemies are obstacles to overcome, not people to empathize with. The sequel changes that. Every The Last of Us 2 enemy has a name, and players will have to face the results of their actions. With that in mind, Abby's actions in the game are the result of the decisions Joel made in the previous one.
Abby's father was one of the Fireflies that Joel murdered at the end of the first game. Her father's death destroyed her, giving her PTSD symptoms and fueling her desire for revenge. She joined the WLF and eventually brought a group down to hunt Joel down so that she torture him and kill him. To her, Joel was a name, but he was a two-dimensional being, and all she knew was that he was the man that killed her father. That drove her to murder him, even after he and Tommy saved her life when she was being chased by infected.
After that, Ellie is driven by that same blind rage that Abby was. She followed Joel's killer all the way to Seattle to enact revenge. Players feel that anger because they've gone through a journey with Joel and Ellie. Gamers know these two to be the complex characters they are, something that separates Ellie's journey of revenge in fans minds from Abby's. However, after Ellie fights her way to Abby and it seems that she is about to finally enact her vengeance, the game changes. Now, players start to see the world of The Last of Us 2 from Abby's eyes.
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