The savage post-apocalyptic America that Naughty Dog depicted in The Last of Us is "ripe for more stories," although they wouldn't involve protagonists Joel and Ellie, said creative director Neil Druckmann in an interview with the PlayStation Blog.
According to Druckmann, Naughty Dog researched previous pandemics to get an idea of the kinds of consequences they had for people and institutions. But the studio aimed to carefully keep those elements in the background, compared to the human story it was trying to tell in that setting — the story of middle-aged smuggler Joel and teenager Ellie.
"I think the world is ripe for more stories, but as far as the journey Joel and Ellie goes on it ends with this game," said Druckmann. "We were very conscious that we didn't want to leave this story dangling."
As for working on future games set in this world, Druckmann said that regardless of whether that happens for Naughty Dog, the studio is satisfied with the way it told Joel and Ellie's story in The Last of Us.
"If we never do a sequel we're OK with it, because we told the story we needed to tell," he explained.
The Last of Us launches worldwide on June 14, one week from today, on PlayStation 3. You can read our review here.