First announced at the 2016 PlayStation Experience event, the action-adventure survival horror game The Last of Us Part II is developed by Naughty Dog. Finally, after years of waiting, fans now know the official release date of the game as it comes out on 21 February 2020. Set in post-apocalyptic America, the game will take place five years after the events of its prequel, the 2013 The Last of Us.

In the first game, the protagonists are Joel and Ellie, where the former of which players mainly get to play. However, in The Last of Us Part II, you get to play an older Ellie.

The upcoming game will follow Ellie as she goes up against a mysterious human cult while encountering mutated cannibalistic creatures like the Clickers. When Naughty Dog released the first look at the game, the focus was mainly on Ellie and her love interest named Dina. Fans were left in the dark wondering what happened to Joel.

With no word from the developers, I started thinking that maybe Joel had gotten killed sometime in the past five years which would prompt Ellie to take revenge or something. But according to Neil Druckmann, the game’s director and writer, “If the first game, the theme was the love between these two characters… This story’s the counter of that. It’s about hate.”

So what could have driven Ellie to take on the cult all alone? Watch the latest game trailer to find out:

Ellie’s motivation is still unclear here, but yay Joel! We finally get to see Joel make his much-awaited appearance in The Last of Us Part II! Anyone else excited? The ending really made me smile.

I wonder if we’ll get to play Joel the same way we did with Ellie in the first game. Remember when Joel got really hurt and was passed out for days, forcing Ellie to take care of him and go hunting for food and medicine on her own? It would be interesting to see how they do it with the game’s theme of hate in this respect, if they’re doing it at all.

So, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson reprised their roles as the beloved protagonists while Gustavo Santaolalla returned to compose the game’s soundtrack. Neil Druckmann is also back as director, this time with Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau, and writer, with Halley Gross.

Besides a new plot, The Last of Us Part II also adds new mechanics and ideas to the combat system. This includes vicious attack dogs owned and trained by a group named the WLF that controls Seattle for tracking trespassers.

“Dogs can pick up on your scent, even though you’re hiding somewhere and normally wouldn’t be seen, a dog can slowly lead its owner to you,” Druckmann told IGN.

This new game mechanic allows Ellie to notice the scent trail she leaves behind, making it an addition to the “Listen” ability. You can toss a bottle or brick to distract these dogs or sneak far enough away without getting caught so that the dogs lose interest.

However, when you do get caught by a dog, you will be faced with a tough moral dilemma of whether to die or fight back to survive. Similarly, when you stumble into an area with attack dogs around, would you kill them first to avoid getting your scent detected or test your luck and try to sneak your way past them all? Hmm. Choices, choices.