The Last of Us creative director Neil Druckmann explains various changes to early drafts of the story, including a different role for Tess and a longer period of innocence for Ellie. Spoilers.
The Last of Us has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention for its storytelling and ambiguous ending. We know the ending went through significant changes. Specifically, the original vision of TLOU had a very different fate for one of the game's main characters. Spoilers follow.
In the most recent issue of Game Informer magazine (via Videogamer), creative director Druckmann explained how Ellie and Tess shifted. Tess, who served as a major part of Joel's motivation to go on the journey with Ellie, was originally written as a villain. Joel was to betray her, leading her to pursue him across the country. Ultimately, Tess would resort to torturing Joel, and Ellie would kill her to stop it. Ellie was also more innocent in that version, as Tess would have been her first non-infected kill.
"We decided it wasn't going to be about the first time [Ellie] killed someone, it was more about this coming of age story of the impact that the horrors of violence has on her over the course of the game," Druckmann explained. That decision changed rather quickly when the developers decided they didn't want players to feel like Ellie was helpless. That meant making Ellie much more capable, in order to avoid the traps of the "escort mission."
Tess was originally meant to be a villain
Steve Watts' youthful memories are are a blur of pixels, princesses, castles, and Mega Busters. After writing about games as a pastime for years, he got his first shot at a paid gig at 1UP. He's freelanced for several sites since then, and found a friendly home at Shacknews. His editorial duties include news, reviews, features, and lunatic ravings. He lives in the Baltimore-Washington area with his shockingly understanding wife.
I think both versions are great. Its not so much what the game is as opposed to how it was executed. The game has some g...
I'm really glad they did went with the final route as opposed to making helpless Ellie a la Ashley from Resident Evil 4....