The Last of Us Part II features the Pearl Jam song “Future Days,” but it wasn’t easy to convince the band to allow Naughty Dog to use it in the post-apocalyptic game.
Writer-director Neil Druckmann told GQ that studio owner Sony didn’t think they’d be able to get the rights to the tune from Pearl Jam’s 2013 album Lightning Bolt. Eventually, the team found the assistant of Pearl Jam’s manager and got the manager to consider it.
Druckmann pitched Pearl Jam’s manager on the “whole story” of The Last of Us Part II and told him how the song is important to the narrative. Druckmann also confirmed that “Future Days” will be featured in the game “several times” as a sort of theme between Joel and Ellie.
Naughty Dog sent the manager a PS4 and copy of the original Last of Us to help demonstrate the studio’s capabilities. They even showed the manager a trailer for The Last of Us Part II before Sony had seen it. The report said Druckmann was prepared to fly to Seattle to meet with frontman Eddie Vedder to try to convince him. That wasn’t necessary in the end, as the band eventually approved it.
“Future Days” is one of Pearl Jam’s softer and more emotional songs. The lyrics reference a deep connection with another person, not unlike the relationship between Joel and Ellie.
Pearl Jam songs have been used in movies and TV shows, but it appears this is the first time a Pearl Jam song will be used in a video game (apart from Rock Band and Guitar Hero).
The full GQ story is well worth a read, as it covers a number of other interesting and noteworthy topics like how the story for The Last of Us Part II was inspired in part by a lynching that Druckmann saw when he was younger. Druckmann also talks about how Naughty Dog might make The Last of Us Part III next, or something else entirely. Read the story here.
The Last of Us: Part II releases on June 19 for PS4. The game will also be playable on PlayStation 5 later this year, alongside thousands of other PS4 titles. Sony’s PS5 event is scheduled for June 11.
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