According to the news outlet, we would have met Esther in a flashback “roughly six or seven hours into the game.” It was an earlier version of the flashback in the game where Tommy teaches Ellie how to use a sniper rifle and Joel and Ellie go searching for strings for her guitar.
“I think she lived out by the dams, by the electric dams, and they kind of had a commuter relationship. And Joel and Ellie were headed out there and saw that the building had been taken over by infected,” Gross said of Joel’s ill-fated relationship with Esther, who would have died in the flashback.
When Joel and Ellie found Esther in the flashback, they would have discovered she had been bitten and “knew was she was going to die.” Joel would have asked Ellie to quickly fetch water from a nearby river. When Ellie reached the river, she would have heard a gunshot.
“And you don’t know whether Esther killed herself or if Joel put a bullet in her head, but you know that this was going to happen,” Gross said. “That two adults were making a decision and they were going to try to protect Ellie as much as they could.”
This event would have triggered a conversation between Ellie and Joel that would have addressed the elephant in the room: how Ellie’s immunity and the cure the Fireflies had hoped to develop from the Cordyceps fungus in her brain (a procedure that would have killed her in the first game) could have saved people like Esther. But this scene wasn’t meant to be.