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Spoilers Now TLoU Part 2 has been out for a while, let me ask you. (Spoilers)

Did Naughty Dog do the right thing killing Joel?

  • Yes

    Votes: 159 34.0%
  • No

    Votes: 238 51.0%
  • Unsure

    Votes: 70 15.0%

  • Total voters
    467
Nov 15, 2017
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Simple question, simple poll. Do you think Naughty Dog did the right thing killing Joel?

Allow me to clarify. I personally felt having waited so long for this game that as soon as Joel was killed, the game lost all intrinsic value for me as a gamer. The original The Last of Us game captured my emotions and attentions not because of any diversity or political statement, but because I fell in love with the relationship between Joel and Ellie. Watching the relationship blossom and seeing how much Ellie filled a long gaping hole in Joel's life was beautiful. Ellie went from being a burden at the beginning of their journey to absolutely irreplaceable to Joel by the end of the game. This had nothing to do with her immunity, but in a way I would argue that Joel's love for Ellie was because her grew to see her as a surrogate daughter and whilst he was always aware of his mission to get Ellie to the fireflys, he never wanted Ellie to be happy or safe because he wanted to protect the possible cure for humanity, by the end of the first game he saw the importance of her life as an individual and he cared deeply for her that he wanted her to live a full and long life and he was prepared to do anything and I mean anything to protect her.

I sympathised with Joel and his plight because I understand loss and what it can do, leaving a hole in your life that can never be filled again the same way. I believe that as much as he was an anti-hero, I loved the fact that there was no boundary on anything that he was prepared to do to ensure her safety. Watching Joel become this guardian demon and the way he would torture, kill or fight tooth and nail to protect her was inspiring and maybe for the wrong reasons. Clearly the developers wanted us to grow to hate Joel for who he and is what he had done throughout the events of the game and what we know of his life. But I found myself stuck in his shoes thinking that if I was in his position I would have done the exact same thing.

I didn't sympathise with Abby. Or Lev. Or Dina. Or Jesse. Or many of the characters in the second game. I even begun to lose my love for Ellie the more the game went on. In fact I found myself feeling worse for Tommy. We virtually used pregnancy as a way to 'one-up' the level of depravity and those 'Oh shit!!!' moments that we experienced in the first game. Honestly I think if we knew Joel was going to die from the outset this game would have reviewed a lot differently. Never mind the media and their never ending championing of the game for diversity and exclusivity, I didn't play these games for political reasons. The second Joel was murdered I lost all motivation and excite that I had to play this game. It became a slog over time and by the end I was just glad it was finished because the pacing was fucked up and it didn't make any sense continuing after Abby nearly killed Ellie. Nor did I like the mixed message of revenge good for Abby, revenge bad for Ellie.

Killing Joel made me lose all interest in the future of the franchise. But I know that not everyone agrees with me. My argument at the end of the day is that The Last of Us was such a unique and creative story telling experience that the fact that they chose to do something as cliche and bourgeois as making Abby a daughter of one of the original doctors that Joel killed and the story panning out the way it did, tell's me that they sold out. This story could have gone anywhere. It could have told the story of Joel and Ellie trying to survive when the remnants of the fireflys want to take Ellie by force and kill Joel for what he did and they're constantly on the run etc. Had Joel died in those circumstances it might have made sense to me. But I honestly think the story of the game was just as poorly thought out as the moment a character in a beloved franchise is revealed to be a clone, or a long lost brother etc. Any of those cliche and quite honestly boring fucking plot twists that makes you sigh and say 'Oh no, not this shit again...'
 

Cornbread78

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as soon as Joel was killed, the game lost all intrinsic value for me as a gamer. The original The Last of Us game captured my emotions and attentions not because of any diversity or political statement, but because I fell in love with the relationship between Joel and Ellie.

I 100% agree with you on this. Which is one reason it took me at months to start playing the game after that fateful cutscene ended... as a father of daughters, it removed me from that emotional attachment I felt with the first game...


Now with 2, as a revenge story, was still pretty damn great, if they ended it here as they should have...



So yeah, I feel ya OP..
 
Jul 23, 2018
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Joel was just a "piece" of the first half of Ellie's story. I don't think he was ever suppose to be the "main" character across all of the games they planned to make and that is why I think the disconnect happened.

The Last of Us is like the Walking dead series in that, tons of other stories could be created from that universe. I don't even think it was ND's intention to create multiple games with the same two main characters (Ellie and Joel).

I think TLOU2 is a technical master piece and fun game (gameplay wise) that got dragged down by a badly paced story and false expectations by fans.
 
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For most I love Joel the theme evolved a lot with his death and it was the only path to the franchise.
Abby campaign is the best part of the game.

I humbly disagree. Dying isn't a necessity to progressing the plot and I don't think it was the only way to go forward.

Abby had the better game play in her sections but I still didn't like her at all.

I think it's creatively inept to think that there was only one way for the franchise to go forward.
 

MiguelItUp

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Joel dying wasn't an issue in any way, I mean, in a world like that you can't expect everyone to make it out unscathed. But how and when it was done felt off IMO. Honestly the overall flow in TLOU2 just felt pretty off to me as well. Great revenge story, sure. But to me, in the end it was a sequel that didn't feel necessary, and honestly it was one that I wish we didn't get because I feel like it dirtied the waters of what the first game had established.
 
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I think TLOU2 is a technical master piece and fun game (gameplay wise) that got dragged down by a badly paced story and false expectations by fans.

I'm not sure how it's false expectations from fans. The trailers literally were manipulated to make it look like Joel was alive and a huge part of the game. If you're going to sucker punch the audience you can't expect everyone to like your decision.
 

ethomaz

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I'm not sure how it's false expectations from fans. The trailers literally were manipulated to make it look like Joel was alive and a huge part of the game. If you're going to sucker punch the audience you can't expect everyone to like your decision.
Sorry but the trailer should show he alive even if it was memories.
It makes completely no sense to show him dead in the trailers.
 
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xrnzaaas

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I don't hate the game simply because Joel died, I didn't expect TLoU2 to be a fun adventure with a happy ending. It's how he died and how the studio expected you to be interested in playing as his killer and to care about seeing her side of the story. Is it a fresh approach? Kinda. Is it entertaining to play through? Hell no. My reception towards the game would've been even worse if I didn't watch the leak, I was prepared for what was going to happen and still ended up disappointed and frustrated with the execution.

The studio misleading people with the trailers is also something that should be mentioned. It's like they knew many people will hate the idea no matter what so they were just hiding Joel's role in the game so they wouldn't lose potential customers. That's actually one good thing that came from the leak, some people dodged a bullet with this game.
 
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MiguelItUp

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Sorry but the trailer should show he alive even if it was memories.
It makes completely no sense to show him dead in the trailers.
Eh, that's subjective. I don't really know where I personally sit on that kind of thing. On one note I don't want to be mislead, on the other, I appreciate them showing me they even exist in the experience.
 
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Glass Prison

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Yes, I think it was the right decision.
As much as I love the evolution of Ellie's and Joel's relationship in the first game, I wouldn't want to see the same thing for the second. Joel's arc is perfect and was masterfully finished in the first game IMO... I think the most powerful contribution his character could offer on the second game was to die in order to set off another incredible story.

BUT

They did it in a poor way. Joel would never die as a result of naivety as he did....
 

ethomaz

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Eh, that's subjective. I don't really know where I personally sit on that kind of thing. On one note I don't want to be mislead, on the other, I appreciate them showing me they even exist in the experience.
Imagine I write a sequel of a book which I kill one of the main char of the first one in the first chapter.
Them I make a cover resume saying this char dies.
It basically breaks all the immersion.... that is a huge no go in literature... you can't spoiler what will happen in the story.

Trailer should never spoiler the movie/game.
 
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Rubik8

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I’m not getting into whether Joel made the right choice in TLOU part 1. But any decision like that will have consequences and Joel eventually had to pay that price. Maybe Joel could have had a more noble death, but in world of senseless violence and chaos, the way he died was fitting. The fact people are still arguing about Part 2 tells me that the story was successful.
 
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I was never a big fan of continuing Joel and Ellie's story. I felt 1 was perfect in how it ended, I knew they would kill of Joel the first chance they had. I always felt if Naughty Dog wanted to revisit the TLOU universe it should have been a completely separate story with new characters and locations. It's no coincidence the best parts of Part 2 are the flashbacks of Joel and Ellie. I also call bs to anyone who says Joel had what was coming to him.
 
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I'm not sure how it's false expectations from fans. The trailers literally were manipulated to make it look like Joel was alive and a huge part of the game. If you're going to sucker punch the audience you can't expect everyone to like your decision.
Trailers are suppose to be designed to not spoil the story, of course they would not let fans know he was going to die in the trailer.

They were not manipulative at all, you like tons of other fans just assumed Joel would be a main character in the series forever and ND never said that.
 

martino

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I was never a big fan of continuing Joel and Ellie's story. I felt 1 was perfect in how it ended, I knew they would kill of Joel the first chance they had. I always felt if Naughty Dog wanted to revisit the TLOU universe it should have been a completely separate story with new characters and locations. It's no coincidence the best parts of Part 2 are the flashbacks of Joel and Ellie.
would have been great but more risky and no fan service....so not fitting 2020 ways of doing business.
 
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I would say no just because his character in the first one is better than any character in the second game. Honestly, they should’ve focused on other people not connected to Joel and Ellie if they were going to revisit this world. But what do I know, I’m not a game journalist who for some reason have their opinion respected despite having a fraction of the viewership of YouTube reviewers and hawking garbage tee shirts on their website.
 
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Dick Jones

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I was fine with the death of a fictional character. I would have preferred it if the convergence of events were more structured.

Someone travelled from Seattle to Jackson with a few friends to follow up a lead based on vague information. It's too flimsy. I also wouldn't have included playable Abby before the end of Day 3. It should have played from Joel's perspective as I was wondering for ages why I played a few minutes as an unknown character.

I'd have preferred if Ellie's secret got out that she was immune and that spread throughout the country. Abby leaves for Jackson with a friend based on this info and joins the Jackson settlement where ultimately she turns on Joel while on duty together. Ellie interogrates Owen and pieces Abby's history and guesses she headed back to Seattle. Owen heads back to warn her.
 
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MiguelItUp

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Trailer should never spoiler the movie/game.
Wholeheartedly agree with that hands down. Trailers have been showing too much for various forms of media for years now, it's a shame really. I find myself enjoying experiences more the less I see ahead of time.

The fact people are still arguing about Part 2 tells me that the story was successful.
Eh, I feel that depends on the context and conversation being had. Well, and I guess what people consider "successful".
 
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Roufianos

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He should have died at the end, not the beginning.

The cost of him dying so early is that you spend the bulk of the game with less interesting characters.
 
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Fbh

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No.
Joel, Ellie and their relationship are TLOU to me. Take it away and it's just another generic zombie apocalypse setting. I think if you are going to remove half of the equation that made the original game work you need to replace it with something as good or better and IMO they didn't. None of the new characters are nearly as good and memorable as Joel, and none of the new dynamics (Ellie and Dina, Abby and Lev and the godawful Abby and aquarium guy) work as well as what we got in the original.

Joel dying the way he did (his past sins catching up to him) made sense, but it should have come way later into the game.


I also don't know how anyone can claim the Marketing wasn't misleading
 
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Azurro

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I voted no due to the execution (aha! See what I did there?), not because there was something inherently bad about killing a main character.

Turning him and Tommy into trusting idiots so that the death could happen was bad enough, the frankly fanfiction moment where Ellie gets to see it and also doesn't get killed as well was idiotic as well. "Hey, let's leave these guys alive that obviously care a lot about Joel and who knows how dangerous they could be since they are his buddies, what could go wrong? You mean they could come and try to get revenge? Nahhhhh. Let's leave them alive".

Not to mention that they replace the character with an insufferable Ellie, a giant unreal woman and a trans kid "look at me! I'm a victim! I suffer so much!". Everyone was annoying and there was no one to bond with or root for.

It was a badly done ultra edgy and emo story written with woke points in mind.

Now, in my own personal view, I played TLOU and loved it because it was Joel's story. Ellie was great but her playable segment was a bit comical at times tbh, but I enjoyed it. However, had I known the sequel was all about the very lesbian revenge story of Ellie and her woke friends, I wouldn't have been interested from the start.
 
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BattleScar

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People not dying the way you want them to die is pretty much a fact of life.
Were people equally upset with the way that Ned or Robb Stark died? Just because they didn't die on the "right" terms or in the "right" way, doesn't mean their death can't be invaluable to the story.
 
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Sorry but the trailer should show he alive even if it was memories.
It makes completely no sense to show him dead in the trailers.

Trailers are suppose to be designed to not spoil the story, of course they would not let fans know he was going to die in the trailer.

They were not manipulative at all, you like tons of other fans just assumed Joel would be a main character in the series forever and ND never said that.

I can see where you're both coming from, but suggesting that I am the problem as a fan isn't exactly a fair comparison given that the trailers for the game are very misleading if that is the case.

The original reveal trailer had an interaction between Joel and Ellie in a random hut where loads of people were dead, Joel asks a question and the implication is that he's followed her to where she is. Not to mention the clear moment they edited in the trailer before release where Ellie is grabbed behind by Joel and Joel tells her "You think I'm going to let you do this alone?" That isn't even in the game at all and when that moment came I was majorly let down.

So what, we specifically imply that Joel is going on this journey and yet they kill him an hour into the game.

And whilst I agree that trailers aren't supposed to spoil the story, I think it's a cop out just to say oh well they never said this. Oh you just assumed that. I'm not the only person who feels like this.

Imagine showing trailers for the second season of breaking bad with no indication that the cast was changing and they kill Jessie half an hour in. It completely goes against the narrative they told in the first game.

Naughty Dog clearly built the first game around Ellie and Joel, the way they had the Ellie edition and Joel edition. Plus we're introduced to Joel first. I can list so many reasons it's absurd. People are talking about the game as though the whole emphasis was on Ellie but it wasn't. This is the problem with the execution.
 

skit_data

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His character arc was over. He lost his humanity when Sarah died, and managed to get it back thanks to Ellie.

I have no problem at all with it, it is a perfect motivator for Ellie to lose her humanity, which she finally manages to rediscover when she remembers her last memory of Joel: Joel having reclaimed his humanity, and therefore being at peace.
 
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ethomaz

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Imagine showing trailers for the second season of breaking bad with no indication that the cast was changing and they kill Jessie half an hour in. It completely goes against the narrative they told in the first game.
Actually that should be pretty cool.
Games of Thrones did that and everybody had no issue with that.

Killing a main character in the first episode of a new season is not something rare.
 
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Azurro

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People not dying the way you want them to die is pretty much a fact of life.
Were people equally upset with the way that Ned or Robb Stark died? Just because they didn't die on the "right" terms or in the "right" way, doesn't mean their death can't be invaluable to the story.

That is a bad excuse given that in life we normally don't have a team of writers plotting our course and the world around us. Robb Stark's dead was tragic but very much in character, and at the end of the whole thing, there were plenty of characters to root for that you expected would enact vengeance for him at some point.

In TLOU2, Joel becomes a trusting idiot so that the writers can get him killed, Ellie gets to live because plot armor, and the diverse set of characters that followed forgot to bring at least one likeable character.
 
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Bryank75

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I knew Joel was going to die ever since the teaser with Ellie playing the guitar....

However the way he went out was just crap. Then the story that followed was lazily written, you shouldn't feel the hand of the writer trying to manipulate your emotions at every turn.....
The Zebra, the dog, the love triangle, her bullshit redemption arc..... everything involving Abby was a shitshow.

Super disappointed with the ending, the world they live in rewards weakness like that with swift death....Ellie learned nothing from Joels death except to lower her guard and to be soft in a very hard world. Maybe she wants a golfclub in her head too?

I also think it's ironic that a golf club is used to kill Joel, who was a builder..... while Abby's father was the doctor, who would be more associated with golf and the type of people whom play golf.
 
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ethomaz

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That is a bad excuse given that in life we normally don't have a team of writers plotting our course and the world around us. Robb Stark's dead was tragic but very much in character, and at the end of the whole thing, there were plenty of characters to root for that you expected would enact vengeance for him at some point.

In TLOU2, Joel becomes a trusting idiot so that the writers can get him killed, Ellie gets to live because plot armor, and the diverse set of characters that followed forgot to bring at least one likeable character.
The Joel you saw at the TLOU already didn't exists at the end of TLOU.
You are still thinking the Joel was the same mass murdered invincible guy of the first game.

There is so much in TLOU2 story that people seems to have missed (or maybe just wanted to be blind due the hate).
 
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GymWolf

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It was cristal clear that he was a dead man walking when they announced a sequel with ellie as a protagonist so i was not surprised in the slightest.

An occasion to do some cliche drama is the bread and butter for ND, the first game was a literal ambulant cliche, so...

The only sad part was the premise of playing the entire game with ellie and not with the human tank that i loved in the first game, thank god for the abby half part of the game.
 
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Rubik8

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He should have died at the end, not the beginning.

The cost of him dying so early is that you spend the bulk of the game with less interesting characters.
I barely slept the night after I saw the death of Joel. It was unsettling and disturbing (and he was just a video game character). I think his death at the beginning set everything in motion and the timing was perfect. I was like “holy shit, they just did that!”
 
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skit_data

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I knew Joel was going to die ever since the teaser with Ellie playing the guitar....

However the way he went out was just crap. Then the story that followed was lazily written, you shouldn't feel the hand of the writer trying to manipulate your emotions at every turn.....
The Zebra, the dog, the love triangle, her bullshit redemption arc..... everything involving Abby was a shitshow.

Super disappointed with the ending, the world they live in rewards weakness like that with swift death....she learned nothing from Joels death except to lower her guard and to be soft in a very hard world. Maybe she wants a golfclub in her head too?

I also think it's ironic that a golfclub is used to kill Joel, who was a builder..... while Abby's father was the doctor, who would be more associated with golf and the type of people whom play golf.
I dont see it as rewarding weakness, but Ellie realizing that the perpetual cycle of violence will never cease. She is traumatized by her own actions and unable to live a life worth living as long as the lust for revenge festers within her.

It might not be like the real world, but its damn good writing.
 
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Zimmy68

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I have no problem killing of Joel.
What I do have issue with is the need to brutally torture him after he risked his own life to save yours (Abby).
That was a horrible decision and even worse making us accept her actions and forgiving her.