Ellie won't always be alone in The Last of Us Part II and Naughty Dog has ensured that the companions who will fight alongside her in combat have been improved since the original game. The main character in The Last of Us was Joel and he was often accompanied by characters like Ellie and Tess throughout the game, while The Last of Us Part II is bringing Joel back in a less prominent role.
The Last of Us didn't have a co-op mode, so Ellie and the other companions were controlled by the AI. The quality of the AI in The Last of Us was one of the biggest complaints regarding the game, as it seemed as if Naughty Dog chose to break immersion rather than risk the companions screwing up the player's mission. It's for this reason that enemies would often ignore the companion characters during stealth sections, which meant that Ellie could be standing a foot away from the opponent and they would not see her. The companions could also help out and distract enemies in combat, but this was not an exact science and they couldn't always be relied upon.
Ellie is now the main character of the series but the new trailer for The Last of Us Part II has revealed that she will be fighting alongside companions of her own, including a new love interest named Dina. The companion characters will play a much bigger role in The Last of Us Part II, as co-director Anthony Newman told Gamespot that the allies would have a greater impact on combat.
"I think, as you may have noticed in the first part of the demo interacting with Dina, our allies can do a lot of pretty exciting new stuff where they can get stealth kills independently. They have their own pretty nuanced melee system where they can interact with enemies in melee and also help you out and rescue as they did in the first game. They're a little bit more flexible and nuanced this time around."
Naughty Dog has previously confirmed that Ellie is the only playable character in The Last of Us Part II, but she won't be alone throughout her entire journey. Newman has stated that The Last of Us Part II will include a mixture of Ellie going on solo adventures and fighting alongside allies.
"I can't get too much into the exact ratio of time you spend alone. I'd say the game is definitely a blend of being by yourself as you were in the second part of the demo, and being with an ally," he said. "Allies are at the core of Naughty Dog games. We get a lot of great stuff out of them in terms of this back and forth as you were pointing out.
The Last of Us Part II is being designed with Ellie's different physicality in mind in comparison to Joel's. The behind-the-scenes footage that Naughty Dog has revealed shows Ellie as an agile character who can more easily leap across obstacles and squeeze into tight spaces than in the previous game. The companions in The Last of Us Part II have similarily been upgraded in both their combat abilities and their movements. It seems that Naughty Dog listened to the complaints regarding The Last of Us and have made every effort to improve The Last of Us Part II over the original game.