The Last of Us co-director Bruce Straley will not be returning for the sequel announced this past weekend (4 December). Developer Naughty Dog has confirmed that he will be taking a break following his work on the 2013 classic and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.
Straley also co-wrote The Last of Us with fellow director Neil Druckmann, who is returning and will write the new game with Halley Gross: a writer and story editor for HBO's hugely popular sci-fi series Westworld.
On Twitter Druckmann said: "Halley's my kickass co-writer. Can't wait to share more of the story with y'all. Spoiler alert: it's intense." On her own Twitter, Gross said she "couldn't be prouder to be a part of this!"
Regarding Straley's absence from the project, Sony issued a statement saying: "Bruce recently decided to take some much deserved time off after shipping two critically acclaimed games in the last few years. He's looking forward to returning to the studio soon and jumping back in on his next project."
That next project may well be The Last of Us: Part 2, which isn't expected to release until at least 2018, or it could be whatever Naughty Dog is working on following the sequel, which would go into pre-production as development of the company's main project nears its conclusion.
The Last of Us: Part 2 was the shock announcement that concluded Sony's PlayStation Experience keynote this past Saturday (3 December). A sequel was expected following the original's enormous critical and commercial success, but not before the studio was done with Uncharted 4 and its DLC.
Earlier in the same show Naughty Dog announced a standalone Uncharted single-player adventure, The Lost Legacy - which was originally intended as DLC for A Thief's End.
The Last of Us: Part 2 is set five years after the original and will star Ellie as its main playable character. The trailer, naturally, gives very little away but Ellie is certainly on some kind of mission of revenge.