'Last of Us 2' release date, Joel's return, and infected gameplay revealed

The Infected ass-kicking duo is back!

Sony held its PlayStation State of Play broadcast Thursday that featured a plethora of updates for upcoming PS4 games. But no other title was more widely anticipated than the The Last of Us Part II and Sony delivered with the reveal of its release date, the return of Joel, glimpses of the infected, and key plot points.

The sequel to the critically acclaimed action-adventure horror game will hit shelves on February 21, 2020 and build off the success of the original. The roughly three-minute teaser of the Naughty Dog game confirmed that The Last of Us Part II will seamlessly blend gameplay and cinematic cutscenes into a stunning, hair-raising experience.

Ellie will replace Joel as the main character, but a now mid-50s Joel won’t be taking a backseat in this post-apocalyptic journey.

Mark your calendars.

Sony / Naughty Dog

“You think I’d let you do this on your own,” he asks Ellie at the very end of the teaser. That suggests he’ll be a CPU partner that will accompany Ellie, or players will be able to smoothly swap between Joel and Ellie as they traverse Naughty Dog’s new zombie-infested world.

Here’s everything we learned about the The Last of Us Part II from PlayStation State of Play.

Sony / Naughty Dog

The Last of Us Part II is a revenge story

The teaser kicks off with Ellie and Dina, Ellie’s love interest, beginning a routine supply mission for the safe-haven community in Jackson County, Wyoming they inhabit. The operation goes south, both characters are separated, and Ellie sets off to try and regroup with Dina, which results in disaster.

She’s ambushed by a group of bandits who pin her down and force her to watch as they execute Dina. Ellie manages to escape and is now hellbent on revenge, regardless of the warnings from her friends that the group who murdered Dina is extremely dangerous.

"You think I'd let you do this on your own?"

Sony / Naughty Dog

Joel’s return in The Last of Us Part II confirmed!

Ellie will battle through hordes of wastelands and zombies, but it won’t be alone. At the very end of the teaser, Joel — a rugged and gray-haired Joel — saves Ellie from being spotted by a caravan of enemies and confirms he’ll be accompanying her on this mission.

Up until this point, the only glimpse of Joel fans have received was his silhouette and voice in the 2016 The Last of Us Part II teaser. Tuesday was the first time his face was shown since the ending of the original game six years ago.

A brief shot of the Bloaters that Ellie will take on in 'The Last of Us Part 2'.

Sony / Naughty Dog

The Infected are as blood-curdling as ever in The Last of Us Part II

Finally, the Infected were also revealed for the first time. The teaser seemingly featured all four stages of mutation of humans infected by the Cordyceps fungus: Runners, Stalkers, Clickers, and Bloaters.

There weren’t any apparent changes to the zombies, but there was a brief cut scene of Ellie taking on two Bloaters (the fourth, final, rarest, and most dangerous stage of infection). These beastly tanks where horrifying to face off against in the The Last of Us and could only be defeated with shotguns, hunting rifles, and fire.

So mark your calendars, Ellie and Joel will once again shove off into the ruins of society to take on a new mission early next year.

The Last of Us Part 2 will be exclusively released for PS4 on February 21, 2020.

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