Naughty Dog's E3 trailer for The Last of Us: Part II gave us a good idea what combat as lead character Ellie would be like, but the story is still largely a mystery. But during a panel earlier this week, game director Neil Druckmann dropped a tantalizing hint about how the game might be structured. It sounds like it won't be the totally linear affair found in the first game. Instead, the narrative may move between two different times, much the way that Left Behind (a three-hour, Ellie-focused add-on to The Last of Us) jumped between two points in time.
Speaking at the E3 Coliseum on Tuesday, game director Neil Druckmann referenced Left Behind, saying that "we had two timelines that we were playing with [in Left Behind] and that's something that's an intriguing way to tell a story." He then went on to drop the vaguest of details about how The Last of Us: Part II may implement a similar storytelling tool. "At least in this demo, you're seeing two times of where the story takes place," he said, "and maybe that expands further." (You can hear this for yourself at about 5:52 in the above video).
Naturally, panel moderator and IGN editor Lucy O'Brien ribbed Druckmann for his tiny drop of info and moved on, but it's still a noteworthy detail to hear that the story will take place in two different timelines. Ever since last year's ultra-violent trailer at Paris Games Week highlighted some new characters, fans speculated that one of the women in the video was, in fact, Ellie's mother, seen years earlier. Of course, another obvious option is that the game jumps between the relatively peaceful world Ellie inhabits at the beginning of this week's new trailer and whatever drove her to revenge in the combat-focused section that we saw. Druckmann isn't saying (no surprise there), and there are plenty of other possibilities for how this will play out (including something more linear than what we might be imagining), but it's something to keep in mind as Naughty Dog continues to tease the game out until its eventual release.