Ellie is an orphan living in a military zone who has only known the world as it currently stands - ravaged by the fungal infection and on the brink of collapse. As a result, Ellie is an old hand at scavenging and capable of looking after herself.
Finally, the ultimate aim: to escape the safe zone and begin their journey across the United States, while avoiding the attention of the military, gangs of survivors and, of course, the infected.
Initial screens show the pair hiding behind a shop counter while survivors search the area, suggesting that stealth and cover mechanics will almost certainly come into play. Some confrontations, though, will be unavoidable, which is where the game's gun and melee mechanics come in. Bullets are a scarce resource that will have to be rationed accordingly, and you'll need to be constantly on the look out for new weapons as items start to break up after a number of uses.
Although Joel is the only playable character and you won't have direct control over Ellie, Naughty Dog are working hard on her AI to make sure that you're not just escorting her around. Instead she'll be working alongside you, identifying enemies and shouting instructions to help you out of scrapes.
Rather than aiming for a straight survival horror vibe, the focus in The Last of Us will be about the emotional connection between the two main characters. Mark Richard Davies, former lead designer on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, has confirmed he is working with Naughty Dog on the game, suggesting he'll be bringing his experience of relationship-building to the project, after hitting all the right notes with Monkey and Trip. The studio have also confirmed there will be some kind of online component too.
We've seen the trailer, and we've seen the shots - now, at E3, we'll finally get to see it in action.