Naughty Dog has gone on record saying that we’ll only be playing as Ellie in Last Of Us 2, though for all we know this could be some sort of misdirection by the developer. Ellie was a playable character in the original game for a short time, but now she’s front and center.
The Last Of Us 2 takes place five years after the original Last Of Us game. Ellie, far from being the 14-year-old survivor that she was in the original game, is now 19, and more than capable of defending herself. While previously she’d often be walking around with a companion in the original game, now it looks like she’ll be on her own, with no Joel to help.
Ellie was only playable in one section of The Last Of Us, when Joel was badly injured by a fall. That section was one of the harder ones for her, as she was on her own most of the time and wasn’t as strong as Joel was. However, considering what we saw of her at E3, with her managing to take down multiple enemies on her own (albeit not without getting injured), she’s finally at a point where she can do everything that Joel could.
In addition to fighting human enemies, Ellie will also probably have to deal with Infected, so that’s another way that she can finally match up to Joel. In the original Last of Us game, an Infected managing to grab Ellie was an automatic death sentence with no way to shank, However, Ellie in Last Of Us 2 is likely now tough enough to be able to keep an Infected back long enough to stab it with a shiv.
To see everything that Ellie in Last Of Us 2 is capable of, we’ll have to just wait and see until The Last Of Us 2 comes out, which is sometime in 2019 exclusively on the Playstation 4.