The Last of Us Prequel Comic Shows Ellie’s Early Years
Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic survival horror, The Last of Us, is one of next year’s most exciting new IPs and, according to the PlayStation Blog, is the latest AAA title to receive the comic-book prequel treatment.
A Sony-exclusive action adventure pitched somewhere between Uncharted, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Day of the Dead, it is the story of grizzled, ruthless survivor Joel and his father-daughter relationship with 14-year-old Ellie as they battle against the infected victims of a deadly parasitic fungus – as well as other human survivors who are perhaps even more dangerous. The game takes place in a decayed, overgrown cityscape several years after the apocalypse, though the finer details of the plot and characters are still under wraps.
In conjunction with Naughty Dog, Dark Horse comics (creators of The Darkness and Hellboy, among many others) will be publishing The Last of Us: American Dreams, a four-part series focusing on a younger Ellie in a time before she met Joel. The comics will delve deeper into her backstory, revealing the events and hardships that will mould her into the tough, world-weary teenager she is in the game. But while the series forms a canonical prequel, you won’t have to know about the game to enjoy it, according to Neil Druckmann, Naughty Dog’s Creative Director and co-writer of American Dreams.
“I wanted to see a story that can stand on its own,” he explains, “so if you’ve never played the game you’d still be able to read this comic and get an intriguing story with these characters but, at the same time, if you do read this comic book and you play the game, you should get greater depth, a greater understanding of these characters and the world and what’s going on with them.”
Which is not to say it’s a standalone tale; in fact, there will be several subtle crossovers between the game and comic. Says Druckmann: “Working on the comic book has helped me develop more of Ellie’s backstory. Because we haven’t finished the game yet, we’ve been able to weave some of those threads into the story of the game. So there are certain parts as you play the game, if you’ve read the comic book, you’ll understand what Ellie’s referring to, or have a deeper understanding of what made her make that decision.”
Above on the right are some early concept sketches of Ellie by artist Faith Erin Hicks, yet to be finalised and worked on by Dark Horse colourist Christina Strain. Hicks is co-writing The Last of Us: American Dreams with Strain and Druckmann, and you can find more of her concept art over on her Tumblr page.
The comics are due out in Spring 2013, and we’ll bring you more info as and when it becomes available. In the mean time, here’s a short trailer to stoke your anticipation for The Last of Us.
The Last of Us is being developed exclusively for PlayStation 3 by Naughty Dog, and will launch in 2013.