With the inclusion of zombies, it’s easy to see The Last Of Us 2 posed as a sci-fi adventure, which would bring up nostalgic memories of Dead Space. But with the broad and barren landscape, it does kind of give off a fantasy-vibe.
If it were to go down the fantasy route, I think Naughty Dog would have to go with new characters because I feel like it wouldn’t mesh with the rest of the story as well. So it would be a new story and new characters. And, in terms of fantasy, we could probably see the protagonists on some sort of epic journey, maybe to find another safe haven? Rather than have such an emphasis on the stealth of getting around the bad guys, I could see maybe a mutation of the clicker zombies growing into something much more fantastic, something out of a fairytale.
On the other hand, if it were to go down the sci-fi route, I think the timeline would fast-forward to the future. Weapons would be far more advanced and the civilizations that remain would have grown into something much more collected. There might even be some sort of government at that time. I still think if it takes place far in the future, the zombies would have gone through some sort of evolution process or mutation and turned into something more wretched, making them more of a threat. But, maybe this time in the future would finally be the time they stumble upon a cure.
If I had to choose which scenario was more likely to be in The Last Of Us 2, I would vote for the sci-fi scenario. It just seems more likely with many more options in terms of character development and storytelling. And whether or not Druckmann can stick with the original characters, Joel and Ellie, wouldn’t matter because the story would adapt regardless. Besides, the sci-fi scenario just makes more sense in The Last Of Us universe, because when I think of fantasy, I think of flying dragons and magic amulets and wizards, not really zombies and a desolate, apocalyptic Earth. Sci-fi just happens to perfectly fit into that niche of apocalyptic storytelling.