How to unlock the secret Joel ending in The Last of Us Part 2
You can finally hear Joel sing Pearl Jam's "Future Days" in its entirety.
The Last of Us Part II already has an emotional and provocative ending, but with the introduction of a new Grounded difficulty mode, Naughty Dog has added a bit of a secret ending that could leave some players in tears.
Major spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2 follow.
What is the secret? The 1.05 update only went live on Thursday, but Twitter user @BeingHuman1993 discovered that if the player beats the game on Grounded mode — which makes enemies deadlier and resources very scarce — they'll hear Joel sing Pearl Jam's "Future Days" in its entirety over the credits.
This secret version of the credits calls back to one of the game's most memorable scenes. Towards the start of The Last of Us Part 2, Joel gives Ellie a guitar but first sings the opening section of "Future Days" for her before seemingly getting embarrassed and stopping. It's a moment of love and tenderness as Joel tries to mend a wound in their relationship, made that much more gut-wrenching when he dies after a few hours of gameplay.
We never hear Joel finish the song anytime after that cutscene. His death about five years later kicks off Ellie's quest for revenge throughout most of The Last of Us Part 2. After unlocking this secret, you can hear Troy Baker sing the full song as Joel over the credits of the game. While it isn't a full new scene or anything, it does offer some nice closure to a game with such a divisive ending.
How do you unlock this secret? While it's just an extra song in the credits, unlocking this bonus isn't for the faint of heart. In order to hear Joel sing all of "Future Days," players must beat the game on the Grounded difficulty. This difficulty option wasn't in the game at launch. Both Grounded and this new credits secret were added in the massive July 13 update.
"Grounded difficulty represents the ultimate test of skill," Naughty Dog wrote in a blog post about the update. "This difficulty raises the stakes by not only making enemies deadlier and ammo, upgrade, and crafting materials incredibly scarce, but also removing invaluable tools for survival, such as disabling Listen mode, deactivating elements of the HUD, and more."
In short, this version of the song is the reward waiting for only the most hardcore of Last of Us players who beat the sequel on its hardest difficulty.
The Inverse Analysis — As a super-difficult mode, Grounded is really only for those that know the game well enough to be up for the major challenge. As such, only the most hardcore fans will be the ones to experience this secret during the credits. There is a new trophy attached to beating The Last of Us Part 2 on Grounded difficulty called "Dig Two Graves." While it isn't required to get the Platinum Trophy for this game, any completionists out there who do so will get this as a reward as part of the process anyway.
The Last of Us Part II is available now for PS4.