NOTE: There are spoilers ahead for Episode 9 of HBO’s The Last of Us series.
The first season of HBO’s The Last of Us recently came to an end with its ninth and final episode, one that started with a flashback of Ellie’s mother, Anna, at the moment of the daughter’s birth and the mother’s death. It’s a story that fans of the game have been distantly aware of for years, but one that has never been directly told on-screen in the two games.
However, if things had gone a little differently, it would have gotten plenty of screentime. Speaking recently with Kinda Funny, Naughty Dog co-president and The Last of Us director and writer Neil Druckmann revealed that the studio was actually planning a prequel to The Last of Us at one point that would have focused on Anna and fleshed out the story.
Interestingly enough, Druckmann says the game was supposed to be developed by an external studio that he had been introduced to by Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, and though that studio – which has remained unnamed – and Naughty Dog were in conversations about the project “for quite a while”, the project ultimately ended up falling apart and getting sheltered.
“There was a much more full version of this story that went more back in time that was going to be made into a video game,” Druckmann said. “Not by Naughty Dog, by a different game studio that Greg Miller introduced me to. And we had talked to them for quite a while to do this thing, and then it just kinda fell apart, it didn’t quite work out. But there’s like another reality where there’s an Anna video game.”
Whether that’s an idea that Naughty Dog will decide to go back to at some point in the future remains to be seen, but there’s no doubting that it’s certainly an idea that fans of the franchise would love to hear more about.
Currently, in addition to a standalone multiplayer The Last of Us game, Naughty Dog is also working on its next big single player title that may or may not be The Last of Us Part 3.