If you have the patience that I do not have to play The Last of Us Part II on its highest difficulty, it turns out you’ll be treated to a full version of a performance we’ve only heard a verse and chorus of up to this point.
The Last of Us Part II’s latest update, which went live last week, brought back the original game’s most difficult mode: Grounded. It comes with all the usual things you’d expect from higher difficulties: you can take fewer hits and there aren’t as many supplies to gather laying around, but it also adds some additional challenges like removing the UI so you never know just how much damage you’ve taken or how many bullets you have left, and removes the game’s “listen mode,” which is used to hear enemies through walls and other barriers. The Last of Us Part II is already a difficult game on normal difficulty levels, so I’m not about to put myself through something like Grounded, and certainly not even considering the additional Permadeath mode that was also added in the Grounded update. But others have [thanks USGamer], and as it turns out, during the credits sequence, you’ll get a little treat in the form of a full performance of Troy Baker’s cover of Pearl Jam’s “Future Days,” which his character Joel plays a bit of in the game’s prologue. This replaces a duet between Baker and Ashley Johnson, who plays main protagonist Ellie, of “Wayfaring Stranger.”
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“Future Days” is a recurring song in The Last of Us Part II, as Joel uses it to teach Ellie to play guitar. Throughout the game’s flashbacks, Ellie is seen gradually learning it, but knows it by heart by the time we get to the game’s present day.
In the game’s final scene, after she’s been through her final showdown with Abby, the woman who killed Joel in the game’s first few hours, she has lost two fingers on her left hand, and is unable to press the guitar strings and play the song, leaving the game on a somber, but symbolic note representing how much she lost in her quest for revenge.
Spoilers end here.
Will we ever get to hear Ashley Johnson perform a full version of “Future Days?” I’d love to hear it. While I know it’s kind of in line with Joel’s character to be a good guitarist but a so-so singer, his extremely low range on the song doesn’t do it for me as much as the bits where we hear Ellie singing during The Last of Us Part II.
In about a week, I’m going to be playing something on the same guitar Joel gives Ellie at the beginning of the game, as I was a dumbass who paid over $2000 on a guitar made to look like the one the two play. It’s supposed to ship next week, so maybe I’ll learn “Future Days” myself and keep the tradition going.