The Last of Us prequel starring Ellie’s mother was in development

The planned spin-off game was reportedly set to be developed by a third party studio.
ellie mother spin-off the last of us video game

Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann, who co-created and co-wrote The Last of Us, has revealed a now-cancelled spin-off game for the award-winning franchise would have starred Ellie’s mother, Anna, who was recently brought to life in the HBO TV adaptation by Ashley Johnson. According to Druckmann, the planned game would have featured many elements depicted in Episode 9 of HBO’s The Last of Us, and expanded on Anna’s harrowing tale of survival while pregnant.

‘There was a more full version of this story that went more back in time, that was going to be made into a video game,’ Druckmann recently told the Kinda Funny podcast, detailing tentative plans for the Last of Us spin-off. ‘Not by Naughty Dog, but a different game studio.’

While unspecified, Druckmann said the studio was introduced to the team by host and journalist Greg Miller – and that discussions went far, but never strictly eventuated. ‘We had talked to them for quite a while to do this thing, and then it didn’t quite work out,’ Druckmann said.

Read: The Last of Us – Episode 9 Finale Recap – ‘Look for the Light’

Should plans have gone ahead, this would have been the first Last of Us video game produced by a third party studio. While Naughty Dog has handed its franchises to other developers in the past – notably, Sony’s Bend Studio handled work on the excellent handheld Uncharted spin-off, Golden Abyss – it has largely kept a strong hold on Joel and Ellie’s story.

How their tale might have evolved in the hands of another developer is an intriguing prospect, although it’s unlikely to eventuate, as Naughty Dog is now focussed on helming the future of the franchise. In addition to a mystery online multiplayer game sent in the TLOU universe, the studio is also now considering ‘Part 3‘ of the long-running franchise – as well as other major projects.

‘I know the fans really want Last of Us Part 3,’ Druckmann told Kinda Funny. ‘I hear about it all of the time and all I can say is that look, we’re already into our next project, so the decision has already been made. I can’t say what it is, but that’s the process we went through, that there was a lot of consideration of different things, and we picked the thing we were most excited for.’

We’ll likely hear more about this project, and future games in the beloved franchise, in the coming months. For now, we can only imagine what a planned Anna-starring TLOU prequel would have looked like, and how it would have expanded on the game’s terrifying, fungi-filled mythos.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.